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...

Eleventh Circuit Bans Incentive Payments to Lead Plaintiffs in Class Actions

In what appears to be a first, the Eleventh Circuit recently held that federal law prohibits so-called “incentive payments” to class representatives, even as part of an agreed settlement. The court acknowledged that it was forging a new path in Johnson v. NPAS Solutions, LLC, 975 F.3d 1244, 1248–49 (11th Cir. 2020)—identifying errors that it said had “become commonplace in everyday...

Employee Arbitration Award Stands Despite Arbitrators’ Alleged Misinterpretation of the Contract

The Eleventh Circuit refused to vacate an employee’s arbitration award for nearly $4 million for wrongful termination based on the employer’s claim that the arbitration panel misinterpreted the parties’ employment and arbitration agreements in Gherardi v. Citigroup Global Markets Inc., 2020 WL 5553255 (11th Cir. Sept. 17, 2020). The employee brought several claims in arbitration,...

Foundry Employees’ Action is a “Mass Action” Subject to Removal Under the Class Action Fairness Act

The Eleventh Circuit has clarified the scope of the “local event exception” to the federal-court jurisdiction over “mass actions” conferred by the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”), holding that claims by former foundry employees against manufacturers and distributors of products used at the foundry are not within the exception.  Spencer v. Specialty Foundry Prods. Inc., 2020 WL...

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal With Prejudice of Auto Shops’ RICO Complaint Against Insurers

The Eleventh Circuit has affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of a putative class action brought by auto body collision repair shops against dozens of insurers and alleging RICO violations, fraud, and unjust enrichment.  Crawford’s Auto Center, Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 2019 WL 6974428 (Dec. 20, 2019). The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant insurers...

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