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.).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 9 denied an Engle progeny plaintiff's motion seeking to reinstate $20 million in punitive damages because the issue the plaintiff raised on appeal is better suited for the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to rule on (Judith Berger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157, M.D. Fla.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Aug. 10 affirmed a $1.3 million verdict against two tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit, saying the state law tort claims pursuant to the original Engle findings do not prohibit states from selling cigarettes (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. James Harris Lourie, No 2D14-5403, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.).
MIAMI - A German corporation known for selling water pipes and hookahs on Aug. 9 filed suit in federal court in Florida against a hookah company for allegedly selling counterfeit products (ROOR v. Hookah, Tobacco and Sun Inc., No. 0:16-cv-61902, S.D. Fla.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it terminated union members' short-term disability benefits, encouraged an employee to circulate a decertification petition, interfered with union representatives access to the facility and decertified the union and refused to bargain with it or remit union dues; however, the employer waived its right to challenge the National Labor Relations Board remedy to reimburse the union with its own funds when it failed to raise the challenge before the NLRB, the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 5 (Enterprise Leasing Company of Florida, doing business as Alamo Rent-A-Car v. National Labor Relations Board, No. 15-1200, D.C. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14376).
MIAMI - After a "tragedy" came upon a juror in a tobacco product liability suit the morning before the jury was set to continue deliberations, a Florida judge on Aug. 5 declared a mistrial because there were not enough jurors to continue deliberations (Barbara Morales v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 07-16277-CA-04, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida jury on Aug. 4 sided with a trash truck company that was accused of negligence when one of its drivers crashed into a man riding a bicycle, causing him injury (Thomas Truong v. Waste Services Of Florida Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-00353, Fla. Cir., 9th Jud., Orange Co.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 2 certified a question to the Florida Supreme Court regarding whether the notice and repair process set forth in Florida Statutes Chapter 558 constitutes a "suit" within the meaning of commercial general liability insurance policies (Altman Contractors, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-12816, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14005).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After finding that a bank's obligation to respond to a borrower's qualified written request (QWR) was never triggered under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), a Florida federal judge on July 29 granted its motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (Ricardo Basora v. MPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 16-civ-60999, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99635).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Various claims of two patents deemed invalid as indefinite were properly determined by a Florida federal judge to be means-plus-function claims despite an absence of the word "means," the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 28 (Advanced Ground Information Systems Inc. v. Life360 Inc., No. 15-1732, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13707).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Seminole Tribe of Florida has sovereign immunity from a woman's personal injury claim against the tribe stemming from a slip-and-fall accident at the tribe's casino because the tribe showed that there was no enforceable resolution or ordinance with a waiver of immunity in place in 2009 when the accident happened, a Florida appeals court held July 27 (Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Delores Schinneller, No. 4D15-1704, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 11411).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida federal jury on July 26 found that Dexter-Hysol Aerospace LLC and Henkel Corp. did not negligently design an adhesive that was a legal cause of loss, injury or damage to an aviation structural mechanic who was allegedly exposed to asbestos-containing products during his career in the U.S. Navy (Marsha K. Dugas, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 14-1096, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on July 22 granted final approval of a class settlement, estimated to have a value ranging from $29.9 million to $73.6 million, ending a suit filed against the companies that manufactured and sold eight models of pistols that are alleged to have a defect that causes them to fire unintentionally (Chris P. Carter, et al. v. Forjas Taurus S.A., et al., No. 13-24583, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96054).
MIAMI - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the insurer reasonably concluded that the claimant was not precluded from working in "any occupation," a Florida federal judge said July 19 (Armando Mercado v. Federal Express Corp., et al., No. 15-21472, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93786).
TAMPA, Fla. - Window and sliding-glass-door manufacturers may proceed on their "bad-faith failure to settle" and "negligent failure to settle" claims against their insurer for failing to indemnify them for underlying settlements arising out of alleged defective windows, a Florida federal judge ruled July 18 (MI Windows & Doors, LLC, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-3139, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92973).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 19 awarded the husband of a woman who died from lung cancer $1.5 million in damages against Philip Morris USA Inc. after finding that the woman was addicted to cigarettes and that her addiction was a legal cause of her death (Joseph Varner v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-026345, 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on July 15 held that although a lower court denial of insured's motion for attorney fees in a sinkhole coverage dispute was based on two statutory misinterpretations, there is ample basis in the record to affirm (Christopher Shane Miller v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association Inc., et al., No. 2D15-1350, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 10868).
MIAMI - Expert testimony challenges from both an asbestos plaintiff and a friction defendant confuse the distinction between admissibility and credibility, a federal judge in Florida said July 11 while also declining to take a third look into whether jurisdiction exists over a different defendant (James John Waite Jr. and Sandra Waite v. AII Acquisition Corp., et al., No. 15-62359, S.D. Fla.).