ASHLAND, Ky. - An insurer is entitled to judgment as a matter of law in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because insureds failed to show that the insurer breached the terms of a homeowners insurance policy by failing to pay on claims within 30 days of receiving the proof of loss, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled Sept. 7 (Billie W. Hamm v. American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida, No. 14-39, E.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120567).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An appellate panel in Florida on Sept. 7 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a new trial to two tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit because the plaintiff's lawyer made prejudicial statements to the jury in closing arguments (David Cohen v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 4D13-2681, Fla. App. 4th Dist.).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 2 granted defendants' motion to stay discovery pending resolution of their motions to dismiss an amended class action complaint alleging that they participated in a fraudulent scheme that overcharged borrowers for lender-placed insurance (LPI) (Jeffrey Parker, et al. v. AHMSI Insurance Agency Inc. d/b/a Belt Line Insurance Agency, et al., No. 15-23840, S.D. Fla.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Sept. 6 quashed in part subpoenas served by plaintiffs who claim that homes built by Pulte Home Corp. were built with a defective stucco system on the defendant company's experts, ruling that information concerning destructive testing the experts conducted on certain homes was not subject to the exceptional circumstances exception to the work product doctrine (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119867).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 6 found in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny case in which a man claimed that his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was caused by smoking cigarettes made by the tobacco company (John Hackimer, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2014-CA-010849, Fla. Jud. Cir. 15th, Palm Beach Co.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - After finding that borrowers attempted to rescind their mortgage five years too late under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), a Florida federal judge on Sept. 1 granted three motions to dismiss their claim for rescission under TILA and other claims related to their mortgage (Charles E. Woide, et al. v. Federal National Mortgage Association, et al., No. 6:15-cv-1929, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118073).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Following the Florida Supreme Court decision in Hess v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. (175 So. 3d 687, 698 [Fla. 2015]) that held that defendants in Engle progeny suits may not rely on the Florida statute of repose as a defense, a Florida appellate panel on Aug. 31 reinstated $5 million in punitive damages to the family of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Sharon Putney, Nos. 4D10-3606, 4D10-5244, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 13217).
MIAMI - A Florida jury awarded a husband and wife more than $21 million on Aug. 30 after finding that his mesothelioma arose in part from asbestos exposure during overhaul work at a power plant (Richard Batchelor and Regina M. Batchelor v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. 16-000012 CA 42, Fla. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Aug. 30 denied plaintiffs' motion to compel Pulte Home Corp. to produce the names and addresses of individuals who purchased homes built with allegedly defective stucco, explaining that the requested information is not typically discoverable in the precertification stage (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116064).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A seven-count declaratory judgment counterclaim was rejected in its entirety by a Florida federal judge on Aug. 30 as a shotgun pleading without prejudice to refile, with the exception of two counts seeking cancellation of a plaintiff's copyright and an award of attorney fees, which were dismissed with prejudice (PK Studios Inc. v. R.L.R. Investments LLC, et al., No. 15-389, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116057).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Aug. 30 denied an Engle progeny plaintiff's petition to hear a case where a $5.8 million verdict awarded to a smoker's widow was vacated and a new trial was ordered by a lower appellate court (Kathleen Gafney, as Personal Representative of the estate of Frank Eugene Gafney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC16-693, Fla. Sup.; 2016 Fla. LEXIS 1943).
TAMPA, Fla. - After finding that a borrower's request for information (RFI) did not constitute a qualified written request (QWR) under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), a Florida federal judge on Aug. 29 granted a bank's motion to dismiss the complaint with leave to amend (Xavier A. Bracco v. PNC Mortgage, No. 8:16-cv-1640, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115269).
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Following a two-month trial, a Florida state court jury on Aug. 24 found that a tire maker and a seat belt maker were not responsible for permanent injuries sustained during a car crash (Stevette Dukes, et al. v. Michelin North America Inc., et al., No. 12-CA-2094, Fla Cir., 19th Jud. Cir. St. Lucie Co.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A financial adviser's discounted cash flow method is appropriate to determine the lost damages in a telecommunications agreement, a Florida federal judge ruled Aug. 24, declining to exclude the adviser's testimony (Local Access LLC and Blitz Telecom Consulting LLC v. Peerless Network Inc. v. Local Access LLC, No. 14-399, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112885).
DELAND, Fla. - A Florida jury on Aug. 25 found that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was not responsible for the heart disease, lung cancer and death of a deceased health department worker whose daughter filed suit against the tobacco company (Debra Coursey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2013-30656 CICI, Fla. 7th Jud. Cir., Volusia Co.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - The Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Aug. 17 vacated a June 10 order that denied insureds' amended motion for appellate attorney fees in a sinkhole coverage dispute and entered an order that grants their motion for appellate attorney fees conditioned upon their prevailing in the lower court (Wayne Allen v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co., No. 2D15-3114, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 12381).
CINCINNATI - A plaintiff sufficiently alleged that the developer of software that was used to intercept and record his communications was an active participant in these actions, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority found Aug. 16, reversing a trial court's ruling that dismissed the plaintiff's claims under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) for failure to state a claim (Javier Luis v. Awareness Technologies, et al., No. 14-3601, 6th Cir.).
MIAMI - After finding that a Barbados entity's due process rights were not violated during an arbitration, a Florida federal judge on Aug. 12 granted a request by the government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) to confirm an arbitration award that was issued in its favor in a dispute over the construction of an aluminum smelter (Sural [Barbados] Ltd. v. The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago through its Minister of Finance as Corporation Sole, No. 1:15-cv-22825, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107041).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Aug. 11 denied a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction a putative class action alleging that an out-of-state defendant sent unwanted text message advertisements to a Florida resident, saying the plaintiff adequately states a claim of violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for the messages sent to the state (Brian Keim, et al. v. ADF Midatlantic LLC, et al., No. 12-80577, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106300).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Aug. 15 awarded the estate of a man who died from lung cancer as a result of smoking cigarettes $5 million in compensatory damages after finding that the deceased was a member of the Engle class (Hazel Mathis v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007-CA-47118, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).