FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 4 partially granted a motion for conditional certification of a class of current and former cable installers seeking unpaid wages and overtime (David Trentman, et al. v. RWL Communications, Inc., et al., No. 15-89, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58153).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 5 allowed certain claims asserted by a borrower who alleged that a mortgage company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by leaving automated messages on her phone in relation to the collection of mortgage debt, but dismissed her claim for violation of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) (Lisa E. Wilcox v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, No. 8:14-cv-1681, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58667).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A federal jury's finding that a smoker suffering from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) failed to show that he was addicted to cigarettes is against the great weight of the evidence, a federal judge in Florida ruled May 4 (William Starbuck v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-CV-13250-WGY-HTS, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58802).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Efforts by the operators of a virtual school to obtain dismissal of trademark infringement claims by a competing, state-run virtual school failed May 4, when a Florida federal judge rejected arguments that the State of Florida must be joined to the action as an indispensable party (Florida Virtualschool v. K12 Inc., et al., No. 11-831, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58158).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 4 granted in part and denied in part motions by C.R. Bard Inc. to exclude the testimony of three plaintiff experts in an inferior vena cava (IVC) injury case (Denise Ocasio, et al. v. C.R. Bard, Inc., et al., No. 13-1962, M.D. Fla., Tampa Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58163).
BRADENTON, Fla. - A Florida state court judge declared a mistrial May 5 in a suit by the family of a smoker who died of coronary artery disease at age 45, citing the failure of the plaintiffs to inform the court that a key witness had changed his testimony part way through the trial (Madonna Dupre, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011CA005529, Fla. 12th Jud. Cir., Manatee Co.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A state court jury awarded more than $6.3 million May 1 to the family of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer but declined to award punitive damages against defendant Philip Morris USA Inc. (Mary Brown, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Rayfield Brown, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2008-CA-015000, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida woman who sued over unsolicited political calls placed to her cell phone failed to prove commonality in her motion for class certification, a Florida federal judge ruled April 27 (Lori Shamblin, et al. v. Obama for America, et al., No. 13-2428, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54849).
TAMPA, Fla. - Federal pleading standards and not Florida's more strict ones apply to an asbestos action, and plaintiffs largely adequately plead negligence, strict liability and fraudulent concealment claims against safety mask and airplane parts defendants, a federal Florida judge ruled April 27 (Darryl S. Dugas and Marsha Dugas v. 3M Co., et al., No. 14-39, M.D. Fla.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A majority of a Florida appeals court on April 24 found that a lower court erred in finding that insureds were entitled to appraisal of their claim for sinkhole damage, further concluding that the insureds' conduct in litigating their claim amounted to a waiver of the appraisal (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association Inc. v. Oscar Lustre, et al., No. 2D13-5780, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6026).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Philip Morris USA Inc. is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on claims of fraudulent concealment and conspiracy brought by a longtime smoker who developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a federal judge ruled April 23, vacating an award of $20.76 million in punitive damages (Judith Berger v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157-WGY-HTS, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - A Florida state court jury returned a defense verdict April 23 in a suit alleging that a woman's chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) and death were caused by her more than 30 years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Tina Russo, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 2007-44469-CA-01, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A state court jury awarded $25 million in punitive damages April 21 to a man who alleged that his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was caused by his 40 years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Thomas Ryan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-022579, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A nature photographer won a default judgment April 21 in Florida federal court on claims of copyright infringement (Mia McPherson v. Seaduced LLC, No. 14-2315, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52374).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 20 that "it is simply too late" for a patent plaintiff to appeal the question of whether a Florida federal judge should have interpreted a license agreement under Quebec law (Sweepstakes Patent Company LLC v. Chase Burns, et al., No. 14-1851, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6429).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A settlement proposal rejected by the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case did not meet the requirements under Florida law for an award of attorney fees and costs to the defendant following the entry of a defense verdict, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in a split decision April 16 (Ancel Pratt Jr. v. Michael C. Weiss, D.O., et al., No. SC12-1783, Fla. Sup.).
MIAMI - FCA US Inc. LLC, formerly known as Chrysler Group LLC, filed an objection April 10 to the appointment of Paul C. Huck Jr. of Jones Day in Miami to serve as special mediator for the consolidated air bag litigation against Takata Corp. and eight auto manufacturers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation, No. 15-02599-CIV-Moreno, MDL No. 15-2599, S.D. Fla.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 10 granted a petition for writ of certiorari by Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) and quashed a lower court's order granting insureds' motion for partial summary judgment regarding liability and damages associated with subsurface repair costs in a sinkhole damage coverage dispute (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. Chad Murphy & Lorraine Murphy, No. 2D13-5609, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 5256).
MIAMI - Trial got under way in the Florida 11th Judicial Circuit Court with opening statements April 10 in a suit that was the subject of a Florida Supreme Court ruling eight days earlier resolving a conflict among the state appellate courts on the standard of proof for claims of misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment in Engle-progeny suits (Tina Russo, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 2007-44469-CA-01, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Opening statements got under way April 10 - for the second time in less than two weeks - in an Engle progeny suit in which a mistrial was declared just two hours after the Florida Supreme Court handed down two rulings on the standard of proof for fraudulent concealment claims against the tobacco industry (Thomas Ryan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-022579, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 9 granted a joint motion for approval of a consent decree under which a Florida clinic will pay $150,000 to settle claims brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that it unlawfully terminated a transgender employee in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A., No. 14-2421, M.D. Fla.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Building Materials Corp. of America, doing business as GAF Materials Corp. (GAF), was ordered by a federal magistrate judge in Florida on April 8 to pay $500 in sanctions for its delayed production of information about similar lawsuits over allegedly defective roofing adhesive, after the magistrate found that the defendant company's action caused Thermoset Corp. to incur additional expenses (Thermoset Corporation v. Building Materials Corp. of America, et al., No. 14-60268-CIV-COHEN-SELTZER, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45924).