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Florida Cases To Watch In 2017

Florida courts are set to take on wide-ranging issues in 2017 like the expert witness standard, whether or not counties can approve gambling without the Legislature's consent, and a high-profile copyright dispute involving The Turtles.

Here are some key cases attorneys will be watching in 2017:


Flo & Eddie v. Sirius

The Florida Supreme Court is set to tackle in 2017 the hotly contested issue of whether record labels and artists can collect royalties from their pre-1972 recordings, in a high-profile suit brought by the rock band The Turtles.

Last month in a similar case, the New York Court of Appeals ruled they could not, saying the state had “never recognized” the kind of “performance right” that would require payment. The ruling was a massive blow to the idea that performance royalties for pre-1972 — when sound recordings did not have federal copyright protection — will be an ongoing source of revenue for artists and labels, and the industry now looks to Florida to see if the Supreme Court there agrees.

1972 is when sound recordings first got federal copyright protection


“If Florida recognizes a common law copyright for public performances, other states might as well,” Elliot Scherker of Greenberg Traurig LLP said. “There's nothing unique in Florida law about it.”


Altman Contractors v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance

In another case being briefed before the Supreme Court, Altman Contractors is seeking to reverse a Florida federal court's ruling that Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance doesn't have to cover its costs to defend against a slew of notices under Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes, which provides for a presuit proceeding through which a property owner can assert a claim for construction defects against a contractor. The case came to the Florida Supreme Court in August via a certified question from an Eleventh Circuit panel.

Crum & Forster contends that a construction defect claim does not trigger its obligations under several commercial general liability policies.

David Coulson of Greenberg Traurig explained that property owners are required to go through a presuit process, but the question of whether that is covered by insurance is still open.

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