NEW ORLEANS - A divided Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 5 vacated a trial court's rejection of a detention center officer's claim of retaliatory firing, finding that there was evidence that the center was inconsistent when it came to firing workers who mistreated inmates, but the majority affirmed the rejection of the officer's remaining claims (Lillie D. Wheat v. Florida Parish Juvenile Justice Commission, No. 14-30788, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 45).
MIAMI - After only a few hours of deliberations, a Florida jury on Dec. 22 awarded the husband of a woman who died from lung cancer related to her addiction to cigarettes $25 million in punitive damages, bringing the total award to $35 million (Roland Ledoux v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 07-43991-CA-06, Fla. 11th Cir., Dade Co.).
MIAMI - Following a two-week trial, a Florida jury on Dec. 18 awarded $10 million to the husband of a woman who died from lung cancer after finding cigarette smoking was the cause of her lung cancer and death (Roland Ledoux v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 07-43991-CA-06, Fla. 11th Cir., Dade Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Dec. 16 issued its first procedural order in an arbitration commenced by a Florida materials company against the Dominican Republic, outlining the procedural rules of the case (Corona Materials LLC v. Dominican Republic, No. ARB[AF]/14/3, ICSID).
TAMPA, Fla. - A plaintiff's amended complaint, filed two weeks after an original complaint was stricken as an impermissible "shotgun pleading," asserts a claim for trademark infringement sufficient to withstand a defendant's motion to dismiss, a Florida federal magistrate judge ruled Dec. 14 (JavaGenesis Coffee Roasting LLC v. OpenGateFarmFL LLC, No. 15-324, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166857).
QUINCY, Fla. - A Florida jury on Dec. 9 awarded a woman $11 million after determining that her laryngeal cancer was caused by smoking cigarettes produced and sold by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., not by her human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (Florence Monroe v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2013CA-001121, Fla. 2nd Cir., Gadsden Co.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Dec. 9 reversed a lower court's final judgment for "additional living expenses" against an insurer in a Hurricane Jeanne coverage dispute, finding that a hurricane coverage endorsement applied to the insureds' losses (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Richard Moody, et al., Nos. 4D13-3377, 4D14-273 and 4D14-274, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 18405).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Allegations of an additional insured's faulty work to a roof do not constitute an "occurrence," a Florida federal judge ruled Dec. 7, finding that a commercial general liability insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify (Core Construction Services Southeast, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-1790, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163695).
ATLANTA - A district court did not err in determining that claims alleged against a health insurer are completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 1 in affirming the district court's dismissal of the suit (Gables Insurance Recovery Inc., as assignee of South Miami Chiropractic LLC, v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 15-10459, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20789).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Nov. 23 affirmed a bankruptcy court's decision in favor of a bank, ordering the debtors to surrender the property pursuant to a statement of intention (David A. Failla, et al. v. Citibank N.A., et al., No. 15-80328, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157832).
MIAMI - A jury in Florida on Nov. 24 ruled that a woman who formerly smoked cigarettes did not have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and, therefore, was not entitled to damages from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR), which she had contended "manipulated our culture with propaganda" to get people to smoke (Cynthia Green v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2007-CA-046326, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., - A Florida jury on Nov. 23 ruled in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Phillip Morris Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group Inc., determining that the diseases suffered by a 94-year-old man who had sued them were not caused by his addiction to cigarettes (Robert Shulman v. R.J. Reynolds, et al., No. 502007CA023832, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir.).
PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Nov. 20 determined that R.J. Reynolds was not liable for the death of a man whose widow had sought $10 million in damages based on her allegations that her husband died from coronary artery disease caused by an addiction to smoking cigarettes (Ann Cavalier v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2007-CA-023832, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel held Nov. 18 that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether an insured was forced to file a breach of contract lawsuit against its insurer, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Lime Bay Condominium, Inc., No. 4D13-4802, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 17313).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Allegations of legal malpractice by the daughter of a smoker who failed to join the class of plaintiffs in Engle v. Liggett Grp. Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 [Fla. 2006]) should be dismissed as untimely pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a law firm and several of its attorneys argued Nov. 12 in a Florida federal court (Shirley Spooner v. Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP et al., No. 15-1330, M.D. Fla.).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Nov. 13 found that an insurer has nonparty standing to move to vacate the amended default judgment against its title insurance company insured, and the lower court lacked subject matter jurisdiction when it amended the judgment, vacating the amended default final judgment in a dispute over misappropriated real estate deposits (Gotham Insurance Co. v. Andrew Matthew, et al., No. 5D13-3008, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 17004).
OCALA, Fla. - A contractor was not an additional insured for purposes of coverage for an underlying construction defects case, a Florida federal judge ruled Nov. 10, also finding that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify because there was no alleged "property damage" (Joseph Bradfield and Patricia Bradfield v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 13-222, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152297).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 9 granted State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a suit it brought against a medical diagnostic services firm, two of its medical directors and two of its X-ray technicians and ordered the defendants to pay $1.4 million to the company, after finding that bills the defendants submitted to the insurer were noncompensable and unlawful (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al. v. B&A Diagnostic Inc., n/k/a Oasis Medical Center Corp., et al., No. 14-cv-24387-KMM, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151743).
TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 5 ruled that an insurer is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law or a new trial in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that, among other things, the evidence provided at trial was sufficient under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 (Eddie K. Taylor v. GEICO Indemnity Co., No. 12-2448, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150402).
ORLANDO, Fla. - An expert offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. can testify in its lawsuit on the allegations that a title company breached its duty by failing to comply with closing instructions in connection with two residential loan transactions, a Florida federal magistrate judge ruled Nov. 4 (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Attorneys Title Insurance Fund, Inc., No. 14-1105, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149751).
PENSACOLA, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Nov. 5 awarded the members of a family $650,000 in damages against Philip Morris USA Inc. for the lung cancer death of their husband and father as a result of his addiction to nicotine in cigarettes, ignoring jury instructions that called for an award of $2.3 million. The award included $325,000 equally for compensatory damages and punitive damages (Micah Danielson v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2007-CA-002737, Fla. Cir., 1st Jud. Cir.).
MIAMI - An insurer owes no coverage for costs to replace undamaged components on floors and undamaged carpeting of a condominium building that suffered water damage from a broken valve, a Florida federal judge ruled Nov. 5, granting in part summary judgment to the insurer (Great American Insurance Company of New York v. The Towers of Quayside No. 4 Condominium Association, No. 15-20056, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150358).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Oct. 30 granted summary judgment to a department store in a negligence case brought against it by a woman who allegedly slipped on a baby wipe left on the floor of the store because she failed to prove that the store had constructive knowledge of its existence (Yaicel De La Caridad Sanchez, et al. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., No. 14-23291, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147580).