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Cadillac Window Sticker Class Action Moves Forward

Here's some good news for litigious Cadillac drivers. The Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed a lower court's finding that purchasers of GM's 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans could properly be certified as a class for purposes of suit.

It's a second validation for the plaintiffs, who had earlier beat opposing motions by GM in a lower federal district court. Under the Eleventh Circuit's affirmation, all Floridian's who purchased 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans could be part of the class of plaintiffs suing under Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

11th Cir. Reverses Class Cert. in Frigidaire 'Smelly Washer' Case

The Eleventh Circuit recently reversed class certification for California and Texas plaintiffs who sought to bring a massive mass tort against home appliance maker, Electrolux. The case, which is about class certification of groups of plaintiffs in California and Texas, involved the unfortunate tendency of the company's washers to trap water and mold up.

Electrolux, dba Frigidaire still has some options litigation wise, but the circuit's decision can still be seen as a victory, at least because it has a tendency to make plaintiffs' lawyers jobs that much more difficult.

Fugees Rapper Can Revive Defamation Suit Against NY Post

Prakazrel Michel, aka "Pras" of the band Fugees, will be allowed to revive his defamation claim against the New York Post over allegations that the gossip publication's piece on him damaged his reputation. It had earlier been dismissed by a lower federal court because the judge there thought that a gossip column spoke for itself.

This case is interesting in that the appeals court affirmed the dismissal for a different reason. As a result, even though the district court dismissed with prejudice, this slight change gave Pras the hope he needed to keep fighting.

11th Circuit Rules That Defective Gun Design Killed Man

The Eleventh Circuit reversed a lower court judgment that granted a motion to exclude expert testimony in a gun malfunction case. The expert's testimony would have explained how a gun malfunctioned and shot its owner through his chest.

This case is a bit of a treat as lawyers do not often see a lower district court's opinion so completely disregarded by the appeals court.

Target Can Use Rosa Parks' Name and Image for Sales, 11th Cir. Rules

The name Rosa Parks evokes powerful imagery of the fight for Civil Rights in this country. Now, when people think of Rosa Parks, they will also be reminded of this appropriation lawsuits in the Eleventh Circuit.

The circuit court ruled in favor of Target, who sought to sell civil rights themed merchandise in its stores featuring Parks' likeness, much to the chagrin of the institute founded by Parks (The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development aka "RRPI) that sought to enjoin such sales.

11th Cir. Dismisses Challenge to Water Pollution Oversight

The Eleventh Circuit recently dismissed a petition for appeal by a small group of environmental groups seeking to remove Alabama's authority to run the local arm of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).

This is not the final say on whether or not the case will move forward, since the circuit dismissed the case essentially for lack of ripeness.

Royal Caribbean Can Be Held Liable for Passenger's Death: 11th Cir.

It's well established that there's no respondeat superior liability levied on ship owners for the negligent medical care of the ship's crew, no matter how negligent they are. But what about an agency theory? That was an issue of first impression for the Eleventh Circuit in Franza v. Royal Caribbean Cruises.

The short, short version: Pasquale Vaglio fell, hitting his head while Royal Caribbean's "Explorer of the Seas" was docked in Bermuda. The ship's nurse failed to correctly diagnose his head trauma, had him wait for four hours, then "released him with no treatment to speak of." Vaglio died a week later.

11th Cir. Revives Lawsuit Over an Unseen Junk Fax

We were just talking about junk faxes, largely because our office keeps getting them. (And no, fool, I don't want to hire someone who uses a fax machine to design a mobile app for my company.) They're annoying as heck, and they're also prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The case of Palm Beach Golf Center-Boca Inc. v. John G. Sarris, DDS, involves a junk fax, sent by a dentist, that a golf club probably received -- the fax logs say that it was successfully transmitted and that the two fax machines connected for over a minute -- but nobody seems to have seen. Nonetheless, the Eleventh Circuit has revived the putative class-action lawsuit and will allow it to proceed on two grounds: the TCPA and common law conversion.

$4.3M Engle Tobacco Verdict Reversed Over Alcohol Evidence

We've talked before about the ongoing "Engle-progeny" cases in Florida: The state supreme court decertified the Engle class but gave res judicata effect to a jury's determinations on causation, negligence, breach of warranty, concealment, and conspiracy findings. The individual members of the class would then have to file their own claims to determine "individual issues such as legal causation, comparative fault, and damages." The Eleventh Circuit upheld this "novel" approach last year.

Thelma Aycock brought this suit on behalf of her late husband, Richard Aycock, a chain smoker with a bit of a drinking problem. A jury found R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company 72.5 percent at fault, leading to a net award of $4.28 million. Reynolds appealed, arguing that a denied continuance cost it its choice of counsel and more importantly, that exclusion of evidence of Richard's alcoholism was improper.

The Eleventh Circuit didn't touch the counsel issue, reversing the verdict on the evidentiary issue alone.

Kiobel Forecloses Another Alien Tort Statute Claim in 11th Cir.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision last term in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum has already put the kibosh on one Alien Tort Statute (ATS) claim in the Eleventh Circuit: In that case, the court said that Kiobel foreclosed using the ATS where all the conduct took place outside the United States.

In front of a different three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit, plaintiffs in Baloco v. Drummond Company argued that Drummond, an American coal mining company, "aided and abetted or conspired" with Colombian paramilitary forces by paying the paramilitary to murder several Colombian union leaders at Drummond's Colombian mines.