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Everyday 1,000 people go to emergency rooms across the country to treat for dog bite injuries, and approximately 15,000 people need to be hospitalized with life-threatening injuries every year. Florida has a 40% dog ownership rate, and many owners have more than one dog. Consequently, it is not uncommon for guests, bystanders, neighbors and relatives to be bitten while visiting the home of a dog owner. When injured, where can the victim turn to? What about insurance exclusions?

Below are five different scenarios – five cases handled by Leesfield Scolaro – which resulted in the victims receiving compensation despite low odds of recovery.

Florida Law

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casino-594157_640-300x200Earlier today, an explosion happened at the Seminole Classic Casino in Hollywood, FL.  The floor of the casino was open to patrons and workers were performing maintenance checks of the casino’s fire suppression systems.  The early reports describe that the workers were checking an area of the casino with quite a lot of equipment.  Once the check was over for one of the gas tanks used to suppress fire ruptured.  An explosion followed, sending debris to the main casino floor where patrons were located.  In all, 26 people were injured in the event, 6 of which were transported to the hospital with significant injuries.

Partners Thomas Scolaro and Justin Shapiro recently represented a client involved in a similar case where an explosion at a home caused significant burn and orthopedic injuries to the resident resulting in a 6-figure settlement.  In another matter, Ira Leesfield and Thomas Scolaro represented an employee who became injured while performing maintenance at a large international outlet store.  The store’s negligence caused the worker to fall 10 feet without notice and sustain catastrophic injuries.

In the Seminole Classic Casino explosion, several claims will have to be brought forward not only to compensate the victims, and to make certain that such event never occurs again. The question of tribal immunity will be discussed in the coming weeks and months, especially if one or more of the hospitalized victims sustained catastrophic injuries.

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Partner Justin Shapiro has recently represented a family whose minor son (JD) was ran over by a distracted motorist as he was about to board a school bus. After a arduous legal battle, the family ultimately prevailed and settled against the at-fault driver and the school district for the school bus driver’s negligence.

Like every weekday, JD reported to the designated gathering area on the corner of the intersection just before 6:00 a.m. At approximately 6:10 a.m., the school bus arrived on the opposite corner of the intersection and stopped in the middle of the road. It was pitch dark outside as there were no street lights in the area. Despite the long line of buses situated “bumper-to-bumper” ahead of the bus, the driver initiated the flashing lights and signaled the children to cross the street and board the bus. There was no designated crosswalk from the gathering area to the corner where the bus stopped. Relying on the driver’s direction, JD and the other children began to cross the street.

school-bus-TOP-300x258At that time, a motorist traveling southbound in the direction of the group of children could not see the mobile traffic devices on the school bus due to the heavy traffic and numerous school buses in the northbound lane with their headlights on. Tragically and inevitably, the vehicle crashed into the child at a high rate of speed. JD was left unconscious, laying motionless on the ground. He was airlifted to the hospital, diagnosed with severe traumatic brain injuries from which he and his family will never recover.

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Once again, the team at Leesfield Scolaro has achieved important success for passengers who become ill or otherwise require evacuation from cruise ships for medical needs.

In the matter of the Estate of Jeffrey Eisenman v. Carnival Cruise Lines, former Chief Judge James Lawrence King has denied the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and further denied defendant’s  Motion for Summary Judgment against plaintiffs’ claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Jeffrey Eisenman was seriously ill while ship was docked at port.   The family purchased evacuation insurance and pleaded with the Captain and medical crew to  transport Mr. Eisenman to a location with adequate medical facilities.  The cruise line refused to evacuate and set sail for Puerto Rico, 21 hours away.   Mr. Eisenman died 14 hours later during the voyage.   His family was grief stricken.  To make matters worse, the cruise line refused to have Mr. Eiseman’s body removed from the ship, forcing family members to stay onboard with their deceased father for the entire cruise.  The Eiseman case joins five other seven figure recent results obtained by the firm for failures to provide adequate medical care or otherwise make proper arrangements to obtain appropriate medical attention.   These failures resulted in passenger deaths, and life altering conditions, which were avoidable and unnecessary.

Additional cases include:

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Your clients (and family) must be protected, safe and secure, at shopping centers, apartments, gas stations, office buildings and hotels, including parking lots/garages and any commercial property where they may be vulnerable to crime.  Leesfield Scolaro represents victims who have been attacked, abused, injured or killed because security was inadequate. We are on the legislative and civil justice forefront of public safety.

MOST COMMON CRIME SCENES:

  • Shopping malls/strip malls
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Valisure, the online pharmacy that batch-tests chemical composition of medications and consumer products, has just sounded the alarm on several sunscreens and after-sun products that contain dangerous levels of benzene. Whether in Europe (since 1967) or in the USA (since 1978), benzene was withdrawn from consumer products due to the very high toxicity of the chemical.

What is benzene?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), benzene is an odorless and colorless chemical. It evaporates into the air very quickly and it float on top of water, only slightly dissolving.

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Since earlier this month, a family from Sarasota has been living in hell, thrown into a nightmarish world, condemned to go through life with an irreplaceable missing piece of themselves. April 8 was the day it all started, the day they received the news that every parent fears. Their most precious and vulnerable child, aged only 3 months, died while in the care of licensed staff at a DCF-licensed child care facility.

Leesfield Scolaro has a long history of fighting for the most vulnerable among us. Children, especially infants and toddlers, are often neglected and abused. Day care institutions, schools and other youth organizations are too often fertile grounds for neglect and abuse. These failures result in babies losing their life, in toddlers being crushed to death, in small children breaking bones, rendered blind, amputated, sexually assaulted or molested. Protecting the vulnerable is paramount.

Most recently, Thomas Scolaro represented a family who lost their young daughter in a terrible failure to resuscitate event – the claims resulted in a 7-figure settlement.  While parents were at work, baby was entrusted with a nurse and a therapist. Both providers were present when the girl’s tracheostomy tube became dislodged and ultimately disconnected. Baby was quickly thrown into distress and the providers sprung into action by using an ambu bag and performing CPR on the 15-months-old girl. Our investigation quickly established however that, during the entire resuscitation process, until fire rescue arrived, both baby’s providers had placed the ambu bag on her mouth and not the trach. As a result, baby could not, did not get any oxygen for almost 10 minutes, and she ultimately passed away.

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After settling a claim on behalf of their client whose son was fatally injured in a furniture tip-over incident at home, attorneys Thomas Scolaro and Adam Rose filed a lawsuit against the entities behind the safety standards that the furniture industry lives by. American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) represents approximately 230 furniture manufacturers and distributors, and over 120 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has 30,000 members worldwide overseeing more than 12,500 product safety and technical standards. The Furniture Safety Subcommittee within ASTM oversees the furniture stability standard, F2057-19.

In 2017, Meghan DeLong retained Leesfield Scolaro to file a wrongful death lawsuit following the death of her 2-year old son, Conner, in a furniture tip-over incident. In their testing, our experts discovered that the dresser in question would tip-over 100% of the time they replicated a young child climbing atop the very piece of furniture. Inversely, the defendant manufacturer argued that the dresser’s design satisfied ASTM’s voluntary standards, including tip-over prevention standards, and that their experts’ testing results showed 0% occurrence of the dresser tipping over. How could these two findings be true?

The answer is found in the ASTM standards themselves. The voluntary standard ASTM F2057-14, Standard Safety Specification Clothing Storage Units, establishes requirements for free-standing clothing storage units, (CSU) such as dressers, chests, and armoires, in the United States, and is intended to minimize the hazards associated with tipover. In practice however, the testing methods implemented by the furniture industry and approved by ASTM F2057-14, do not take into account dozens of crucial human factors that, if taken into account, render most pieces of furniture dangerous, thus defective.

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In the recent months, Leesfield Scolaro represented a family whose 2-year-old child lost his life in a furniture tip-over incident that occurred in the toddler’s bedroom. Despite the family’s endless love, care, and attention, the tragedy could not have been avoided. Millions of people put their trust in industries to abide by safety guidelines to prevent needless incidents, and yet every single day nearly two children will have to be hospitalized from furniture incidents – and hundreds will lose be fatally injured. It was no different in our case. The manufacturer was trusted by our clients to be a safe and adequately designed piece of furniture. That dresser was even compliant with all the industry standards in effect, but when an industry self-regulates, tragedies seem to repeat themselves.

tip-over-for-fb-300x216Attorneys Thomas Scolaro and Adam Rose’s relentless pursuit for justice resulted in a $17.5 million settlement.  Since then Leesfield Scolaro started its own campaign with ‘Anchor it!’, but most importantly the family has pursued legislative change and began funding an awareness campaign nationally to prevent similar tragedies from impacting others. An arduous mission which one day, hopefully soon, will deliver on its promise. Unfortunately, parents do not have the luxury to wait for legislative change, and Leesfield Scolaro has had to litigate countless defective product cases on behalf of grieving families who have lost their most precious life.

This week, Thomas Scolaro resolved a long and difficult product liability case on behalf of clients who lost three members of their family, including two small children. Several claims against several manufacturers were litigated, experts in many different fields were retained, legal strategies were developed, weighed against the facts, and ultimately proved to be correct, resulting in an overall 8-figure confidential settlement.

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We enter our 45th year, welcoming Carlos M. Macias to our litigation team. In addition to his active membership in the Florida Bar, Cuban American Bar Association and Florida Justice Association, he is also admitted in the District of Columbia and Louisiana reinforcing our longtime strategic alliances throughout the country.

Leesfield Scolaro’s presence is now recognized in 31 jurisdictions throughout the United States. In conjunction with National co-counsel, we have become America’s most geographically diverse personal injury firm as we begin 2021. Working with lawyers from Alaska, Washington State, Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and Texas, just to name a few, we have now aggregated over a billion dollars of recovery to out-of-state clients for unexpected events in Florida.

Similarly, of the 67 counties in Florida, we have had the opportunity to litigate, in 33 different courthouses with record-breaking results. Results are the engine of our geographic diversity,” says Senior Partner, Ira Leesfield, Past President of Florida Justice Association, The Melvin M. Belli Society, and a 25-year Board member of the American Association for Justice. Ira has been an invited guest speaker at almost every State Trial lawyer association in America and three countries outside of the United States. His goal is to complete all 50 states by the next decade.

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