U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Recently in Injury & Tort Law Category

When news of the Parkland school shooting broke, the nation was shocked and saddened. While school shootings seem to occur with an alarming frequency, the high death toll at Parkland, and the failure of the first responders, really set it apart.

Notably, due to the onsite law enforcement officers failing to take appropriate action, a group of students have banded together to file the most recent lawsuit related to the shooting. As disturbing as the shooting was, when it was reported that onsite law enforcement actually ran away from the shooter and refused to enter the building after escaping, outrage and litigation ensued.

In a line of cases that even the most cynical of tort reformer wouldn't blink an eye at, another tobacco company appeal has been swatted down by the appellate courts.

In one of the thousands of Engle progeny cases, R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris unsuccessfully lobbed a Hail Mary appeal and, not surprisingly, lost. The tobacco giants challenged the multi-million dollar jury award to an individual plaintiff that suffered the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes.

Court Affirms $620,000 in Damages for Smoker

When it comes to fault in a smoking-death case, there is no mystery.

Tobacco companies and smokers are both blameworthy. But in Florida there was some confusion about liability and damages in Smith v. R.J. Reynolds Company.

A jury said the smoker was partially responsible for her death, and awarded $620,000 against R.J. Reynolds. The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, but said the company was 100 percent responsible for fraudulently concealing the dangers of smoking.

FINRA, the securities industry's self-regulating organization, will be able to regulate with a little more impunity now after the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there is no private right of action for association members to sue the regulatory body when it doesn't follow its own rules.

A broker that was a registered member of a FINRA affiliated broker sought to bring an individual lawsuit against the organization due to an alleged failure to abide by their own rules. Unfortunately for that broker, the appellate court agreed with the district court's dismissal of his case due to there being no law authorizing a private right of action against FINRA.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the appeal of Boston Scientific from the $27 million verdict rendered against them in 2014. The verdict stemmed from four consolidated cases as a result of transvaginal mesh implants gone wrong.

While Boston Scientific appealed all four cases initially, it dismissed three of the appeals. Only plaintiff Amal Eghnayem's case, where she was awarded nearly $7 million by the jury, was up on appeal.

Statute of Limitations Ends Smoking Case

When William Hecht was a teenager, the Surgeon General warned that smoking caused chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

His mom, who suffered from COPD, warned him as well. After years of smoking, he developed the same condition.

He sued a tobacco company for allegedly concealing that smoking could cause his disease. A jury said it was too late, and a federal appeals court agreed.

Allstate Victorious in Unjust Enrichment Claims

The Eleventh Circuit has ruled that Allstate Insurance company is owed $663,000 in fees arising out of a multitude of false claims that were made by several Florida clinics. The circumstances of the case indicated that hundreds upon hundreds of insurance claims were completely bogus.

The defendants appealed their loss in federal court but lost again at the appellate level. Meanwhile, the doctor named in the case may want to consider retirement.

Greenpeace Wields RICO Claim, Gets Hit Back

When Greenpeace submitted a complaint alongside other environmental groups pushing for the investigation of BigOil and their friends, it looked as if the interest group had finally found a vulnerable point in the giant's armor. Greenpeace then used RICO to pry open an even larger vulnerability.

But RICO can giveth, and it can taketh away, as Greenpeace is now aware. The Canadian paper-pulping company Resolute Forest Products recently filed its own RICO suit in Georgia federal court, alleging that Greenpeace and its affiliates have waged a defamatory "enterprise" against the company.

Cadillac Window Sticker Class Action Gets Nod From Court

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.