Justia Injury Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
Walker v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
The court sua sponte reconsidered its original opinion in this matter and substituted this opinion for its original. This appeal by R.J. Reynolds of money judgments in favor of the survivors of two smokers required the court to decide whether a decision of the Supreme Court of Florida in an earlier class action was entitled to full faith and credit in federal court. Because R.J. Reynolds had a full and fair opportunity to be heard in the Florida class action and the application of res judicata under Florida law did not cause an arbitrary deprivation of property, the court affirmed the judgments against R.J. Reynolds and in favor of the survivors of the smokers. View "Walker v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co." on Justia Law
United States v. Edwards, et al.
Defendants Jeffrey W. Edwards and Frontier Holdings appealed the district court's order of restitution under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, 18 U.S.C. 3663A. Edwards' convictions stemmed from his involvement in a scheme to solicit funds from investors by promising astronomical returns and then using the funds for extravagant personal expenditures. The court concluded that the district court correctly ignored Edwards' finances when determining the amount of restitution; the district court did not clearly err by ordering restitution to Camencita Jocson for losses caused by a related scheme; the district court properly found that Edwards owed restitution to victims whose related counts were dismissed at trial; and there was insufficient evidence supporting the restitution order to Teana Reece's alleged victims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the convictions; affirmed the restitution order generally; vacated the restitution order in respect to Reece's alleged victims; and remanded for a hearing to determine whether they were entitled to restitution. View "United States v. Edwards, et al." on Justia Law
Walker, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.
R.J. Reynolds appealed money judgments in favor of the survivors of two smokers. At issue was whether a decision of the Supreme Court of Florida in an earlier class action was entitled to full faith and credit in federal court. The court affirmed the judgments in favor of the survivors because R.J. Reynolds had a full and fair opportunity to be heard in the Florida class action and the application of res judicata under Florida law did not cause an arbitrary deprivation of property. View "Walker, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co." on Justia Law
Gray v. Bostic
This case stemmed from the detention and handcuffing of a nine-year-old student during her physical education class. Defendant, a Deputy Sheriff, appealed from the district court's grant of attorney's fees. The court concluded that the district court abused its discretion by awarding attorney's fees to plaintiff where plaintiff achieved a de minimus victory under the Farrar v. Hobby factors. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of defendant on his claim for attorney's fees. View "Gray v. Bostic" on Justia Law
Scimone, et al. v. Carnival Corp., et al.
After Carnival's cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, ran aground off the coast of Italy, two separate actions were filed by groups of 56 and 48 plaintiffs in the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida. Carnival removed both actions to district court, claiming that the district court had subject-matter jurisdiction under the mass-action provision of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), Pub. L. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4. Plaintiffs moved for remand to state court on the ground that the district court lacked jurisdiction and the district court granted the motion. The court affirmed, concluding that the cases were improvidently removed and should have been remanded where, under the plain language of CAFA and 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(11), the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs' two separate actions unless they proposed to try 100 or more persons' claims jointly. View "Scimone, et al. v. Carnival Corp., et al." on Justia Law
Guarino v. Wyeth, et al.
Plaintiff brought claims of negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty, misrepresentation and fraud, and negligence per se against defendants, alleging that she developed tardive dyskinesia after taking generic metoclopramide manufactured by Defendant Teva for a period of greater than 12 weeks, contrary to administrative guidance issued by the FDA. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims against Teva as preempted by federal law and because, preemption aside, the learned intermediary doctrine prevented her from stating a claim upon which relief could be granted under Florida law; affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant Brand Manufacturers because Florida law did not permit an injured consumer to recover from the brand manufacturer of a prescription drug if the consumer is known to have ingested only the generic form of that drug; and noted that, insofar as plaintiff sought redress for her injuries, such redress lies with Congress or the Florida legislature. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Guarino v. Wyeth, et al." on Justia Law
Motta v. United States
Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of her Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq., claim. The district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the complaint was filed after the FTCA's two year statute of limitations had expired. The court concluded that plaintiff's claim was not constructively filed in time. Further, without intentional concealment of the appropriate agency or other circumstances that made obtaining the required information truly out of plaintiff's control, there could be no equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Motta v. United States" on Justia Law
Bapte, et al. v. West Caribbean Airways, et al.
Plaintiffs appealed the denial of their motion to vacate the district court's order dismissing their claims against defendants on forum non conveniens grounds. This case arose out of an airplane crash in Venezuela of West Caribbean flight 708, while en route from Panama to Martinique. Plaintiffs' success in arguing to the Court of Cessation that a plaintiff's initial choice of forum under the Montreal Convention precluded other available forums from exercising jurisdiction over the same claims did not constitute "sufficient extraordinary" circumstances to warrant Rule 60(b)(6) relief. Plaintiffs could have raised the same argument initially in their opposition to forum non conveniens dismissal in the Southern District of Florida. Because they failed to do so, the court concluded that their attempt to raise the argument anew in their motion to vacate must also fail. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Bapte, et al. v. West Caribbean Airways, et al." on Justia Law
Schippers, et al v. United States
This case involved a plane crash in Texas and at issue on appeal was what law should control. The plane took off from Uvalde, Texas with an intended destination of Leesburg, Florida. The pilot and passengers were residents of Florida. The court concluded that it had jurisdiction over the appeal; Rule 17 did not apply to this Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), 2671, et seq., case and it did not preclude plaintiffs from bringing a FTCA claim against the government; and three of the "most significant relationship test" factors identified in Restatement (Second) of Conflicts of Laws 145 clearly pointed to Texas, while the fourth "should be discounted" and was entitled to little weight on the facts of this particular case. Consequently, the law of Texas controlled as to both liability and damages. Therefore, the district court erred in applying Florida law and dismissing the complaint. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Schippers, et al v. United States" on Justia Law
Morales v. Zenith Ins. Co.
Plaintiff, on behalf of herself and the Estate, challenged the district court's grant of summary judgment to Zenith on the Estate's breach of the insurance contract claim. After review and oral argument, the court certified questions to the Florida Supreme Court: (1) Does the estate have standing to bring its breach of contract claim against Zenith under the employer liability policy? (2) If so, does the provision in the employer liability policy which excludes from coverage "any obligation imposed by workers' compensation . . . law" operate to exclude coverage of the estate's claim against Zenith for the tort judgment? (3) If the estate's claim was not barred by the workers' compensation exclusion, does the release in the workers' compensation settlement agreement otherwise prohibit the estate's collection of the tort judgment? View "Morales v. Zenith Ins. Co." on Justia Law