Eversheds Sutherland 11th Circuit Business Blog
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Court Upholds (Again) $20 Million Punitive-Damages Verdict Against Phillip Morris

In what may be one of the last Engle progeny cases to reach the Eleventh Circuit, the court again upheld an award of punitive damages against the tobacco company defendant, rejecting Phillip Morris’s argument that the award—which was over 3 times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to the individual plaintiff—was unconstitutionally excessive in violation of due process. Cote I...

A Takings Claim By Any Other Name . . . May Not Succeed

In Hillcrest Property, LLP v. Pasco County, 2019 WL 580259 (11th Cir. Feb. 13, 2019), the Eleventh Circuit confirmed that allegedly unlawful application of a land-use ordinance does not give rise to a substantive due process claim.  As the court previously held in McKinney v. Pate, 20 F.3d 1550 (11th Cir. 1994), “executive action never gives rise to a substantive-due-process claim...

Eleventh Circuit Upholds Constitutionality of Giving Preclusive Effect to Engle Jury Findings on Intentional Torts

Recently, in Searcy v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 2018 WL 4214594 (11th Cir. Sept. 5, 2018), the Eleventh Circuit held that giving preclusive effect to a Florida jury’s findings that tobacco companies had concealed the health impacts of smoking did not violate the Due Process Clause when the defendants had notice and an opportunity to be heard. This is the latest in a line of “Engle...

Eleventh Circuit Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Brookhaven Ordinance Regulating “Sexually Oriented Businesses”

In 2013, the City of Brookhaven enacted its code to “regulate sexually oriented businesses in order to promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the City, and to establish reasonable and uniform regulations to prevent the deleterious secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses within the City.”  The new code did not ban establishments that “regularly...

Keep the Change: Eleventh Circuit Rejects Cab Companies’ Constitutional Challenge to Rideshare Ordinance

The Eleventh Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of taxi companies’ claims that a Miami-Dade County ordinance permitting rideshare services to participate in the for-hire transportation market constituted a taking of the cab companies’ property and/or a denial to them of equal protection.  Checker Cab Operators, Inc. v. Miami-Dade County, 2018 WL 3721227 (11th Cir. Aug. 6, 2018). Before...

Procedural Lapses Short-Circuit Attack on Statute Aimed at Incentivizing Nuclear Plant Construction

The abandonment of the V.C. Summer nuclear project in South Carolina and the questionable status of Plant Vogtle in Georgia have garnered headlines in recent months and raised questions about the validity of state statutes authorizing utility companies to preemptively charge customers for the design and construction of new nuclear facilities using rate hikes. In William B. Newton v....

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