• Jeff Cosby has achieved re-certification as a specialist in civil trial law for the third time and has now been board certified for 15 years.
  • New case on “notice” in slip and fall suits provides help to governmental agencies
  • Chioma Deere co-presented a Continuing Judicial Education (CJE) session to judges on Judicial Management of Electronic Discovery in Palm Beach County.
  • Phil Wiseberg obtains a dismissal with prejudice on the eve of trial in property insurance case.
  • In Bryant v. Mezo, Carri Leininger obtained favorable opinion from the Fourth DCA recognizing the Plaintiff’s failure to disclose prior medical treatment was fraud and justified dismissal of the Plaintiff’s lawsuit.
  • Jim Williams intervened in complex construction/banking litigation on behalf of a local county obtaining a stay and potentially saving the county from a judgment that would have deprived the county of over a million dollars in collateral.
  • Chioma Deere co-presented a Continuing Judicial Education (CJE) session on Judicial Management of Electronic Discovery at the 19th Judicial Circuit to judges from St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties.
  • Lee Baggett and Jeff Cosby spoke at the Orlando Claims Conference on Exposing Financial Bias of Treating Doctors.
  • Carri Leininger obtains summary judgment for CGL carrier in coverage dispute arising out of a multi-million dollar construction defect case.
  • Jessica Gregory obtains summary judgment for Property Owners Association in ADA/FHA case.
  • Phil Wiseberg and Jim Williams obtain a defense verdict in an automobile negligence suit
  • Phil Wiseberg achieved dismissal of a federal copyright infringement lawsuit on behalf of a local university…
  • Carri Leininger wins appellate victory in controversial juror texting case, Murphy v. Roth
  • Jim Williams succeeds with Palm Beach County jury returning defense verdict for half clients’ pre-trial offer


Various Coverages and the impact of Misrepresentation or Fraud

Since 1912, the Florida Supreme Court has allowed for the divisibility of an insurance contract when there has been a dispute as to a breach of conditions under one portion of coverage and conformity to provision under another. Harfod Fire Ins. Co. v. Hillis, 64 Fla. 8, 59 So. 785 (1912). However, that case also made a distinction between cases with fraud or misrepresentation and those without. Id. At 786. So what happens if an insured makes a material misrepresentation or commits fraud when asserting a claim for different coverages under a policy?

Third Party Bad Faith Action should be dismissed not abated when pre-maturely filed in underlying negligence action

With Carri S. Leininger, Esq.

On January 3, 2018, the Third District Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred in abating, rather than dismissing a third party bad faith claim filed in the underlying negligence action against the insured. See GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, v. KATHERINE MARTINEZ, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D86a.

Discovery Sanctions not Appropriate

The Third DCA recently held that a trial court erred in giving an adverse instruction based on a corporation’s failure to locate former employees in response to a 1.310(b)(6) deposition of a corporate representative. Bechtel Corp. v. Batchelor, 43 Fla. L.Weekly D40 (Fla. 3d DCA, December 27, 2017). The appellate court acknowledged that the rule requires the corporate representative to prepare for matters that are “reasonably available” whether from documents, former employees or other sources.

Declaratory judgment based on a wear and tear/marring exclusion

With Carri S. Leininger, Esq.

Plaintiffs filed an action against Tower Hill consisting of three counts: breach of contract; declaratory judgment based on a wear and tear/marring exclusion in the insurance policy; and declaratory judgment seeking declaration that Tower Hill may not unilaterally determine the Actual Cash Value of the loss.

Electronic Discovery Project Management Presentation on Electronically Stored Information (ESI)

Attorney Chioma Deere presented on Electronic Discovery Project Management (EDPM) at the Everything eDiscovery seminar in October 2016. This brief presentation discussed the useful ways in which EDPM can ensure that attorneys, paralegals, and their firms are equipped to request and receive ESI in an efficient and repeatable manner. In the video, Chioma Deere walks through the steps to conduct electronic discovery from a project management standards perspective that allows for a repeatable, understandable, and defensible process.

U.S. Southern District Amends Local Rules regarding E-Discovery

The U.S. Southern District of Florida has made amendments to its local rules, effective December 1, 2017. One of these amendments includes changes to Rule 16.1(b)(2)(k) regarding what the parties must include in their pretrial scheduling reports when it comes to electronic discovery. Pursuant to the amended local rules, during the parties Rule 26(f) conference, they must now discuss, and include in their report, any issues about:
(i) disclosure, discovery, or preservation of electronically stored information, including the form or forms in which it should be produced;

Using an Auto-pay System Does Not Waive and Insurer’s Right to Reasonableness Defenses

With Robert Gregory

In State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. All Family Clinic of Daytona Beach, Inc., the circuit court in Volusia County ruled that an insurance carrier does not waive defenses related to reasonableness of charges by utilizing an auto-pay process when issuing payment.

Failure to Defend Absent Insured Negates Coverage Defense of Failure to Cooperate, Mora v. Lancet.

In Mora v. Lancet, PX-16-960, 2017 WL 4618461 (D. Md., October 16, 2017), a federal court determined that an insurance company failed to prove that it was prejudiced by a doctor’s failure to cooperate in the defense of a medical malpractice. The Plaintiff in the underlying action filed a wrongful death claim against a doctor. The doctor moved back to Pakistan and failed to cooperate with his insurer. The insurer did not provide a defense and a default was entered. After the default, the insurer intervened for limited purpose of defending the damage portion of the case.