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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 Whether in Europe (since 1967) or in the USA (since 1978), benzene was withdrawn from consumer products due to the very high toxicity of the chemical.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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When a Cape Coral man was left severely injured in an explosion on his outdoor patio because someone had accidentally left a gas grill turned on, his attorneys felt all signs pointed to a cleaning company that had stopped by the day before.

Plaintiffs attorneys Tom Scolaro and Justin Shapiro had a problem, though. No direct evidence actually proved that a cleaning service staff member had been negligent — meaning, technically, it could have been anyone. The premises liability lawsuit that ensued ultimately hinged on a single deposition, as Scolaro and Shapiro found one witness’s lie boxed the defendant into settling the claims for its $2 million insurance policy limit.

Scolaro-and-ShapiroShapiro and Scolaro, partners at Leesfield Scolaro in Miami, represented plaintiff James Dastra. He hired Sparkle and Shine Cleaning Service of SWFL LLC to professionally clean his house about twice a month, including his propane grill on the patio. Dastra’s complaint claimed their last visit put him in serious danger, alleging one cleaner caused highly-flammable propane to leak and build up by inadvertently leaving a burner knob switched on after cleaning it.

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Since 1976, victims of negligent truck drivers have placed their trust in Leesfield Scolaro’s trucking attorneys to fight for them. In 2020, Attorneys Thomas Scolaro, Adam Rose and Thomas Graham have recovered a combined $5million for two clients whose lives were impacted by reckless truck drivers. The experience and determination displayed in these two cases is what separates Leesfield Scolaro, the longest-established personal injury firm in South Florida, from other firms with fewer trials under their belt.

leesfield-trucking-practice-1024x646Our history with trucking cases dates back to five decades ago when Ira H. Leesfield, founding partner, settled a $5.3 million case on behalf of a young woman who was catastrophically injured by a distracted Winn-Dixie truck driver. At the time, this was the largest settlement ever obtained in South Florida and the creative lawyering was the central feature in the Miami News. That settlement today (with inflation) would equate to around $13,000,000. Our past trucking cases include a $8,650,000 settlement on behalf of teenagers, $3,000,000 settlement in Orange County, $1,000,000 above the policy limits on behalf of an injured truck driver, $7,995,467 arbitration award, $5,350,000 settlement obtained on behalf of a bicyclist in Key West.

Since the 1980s, our trucking accident practice has grown exponentially. In 1983, Ira H. Leesfield, in coordination with the Association of Trial Lawyers of America National College of Advocacy, started a workshop for fellow attorneys on the topic of “Motor Vehicle Litigation” which included in large part how to litigate trucking cases in the face of life-altering damages. Over the years, with an immaculate track record, out-of-state attorneys referred their Florida-based trucking cases to our firm. Today, with well-over $300 million recovered on behalf of clients injured on the road – not just trucking accident victims – our clients know that our vigorous our aggressive representation will produce the best results, leaving zero dollar on the table.

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Josh was a broken man. Devastated from an unspeakable shooting tragedy that ravaged his family he was disillusioned from having his case turned down by Florida’s most prominent negligent security firm. When his personal family attorney tried to refer Josh to that other firm, he heard things like ‘impossible’, ‘a tragedy but not a case’, ‘likely to lose’, and then he heard ‘NO’. Those sentiments were terrible blows to Josh’s already gaping open-wounds. He felt completely and utterly hopeless.

Luckily, Josh’s well-intentioned family attorney did not take ‘no’ for an answer and reached out to Tom Scolaro having heard of his tenacity and success where others have said ‘no’. Mr. Scolaro understood that this case was previously investigated and vetted and ultimately declined by this top negligent security firm. Having litigated and tried many negligent security cases, he was not going to let another law firm’s decision affect his independent analysis. Mr. Scolaro saw a family man that was hurt and grieving for his loss and promised that he would take a fresh look at everything and turn over every stone. Despite the daunting facts, bad law and a team of expert witnesses that were sure to be hired by the biggest defense firms in the country, Mr. Scolaro had a hunch. On that hunch, the Leesfield Scolaro firm took on the case, immediately filed the lawsuit and began intensive litigation which lasted over a year. Through discovery and depositions, Mr. Scolaro was able to prove that the assailant that killed his own family never should have been allowed to live on the premises in the first place. He successfully argued that the domestic nature of the crime, the cold-hard brutality and the assailant’s resolve to commit the heinous murder was ultimately irrelevant to the fact that he never should have been on the property in the first place. If he was not allowed to be on the property in the first place, he ultimately successfully proved that this incident would not have occurred.

ts-graphic-02Mr. Scolaro understood why the other firm turned down the case. It was a nearly impossible hill to climb but his passion for justice and helping people is all that he sees in front of him. The entire Leesfield Scolaro team takes a personal approach to each case they are working on. Even though we do this day in and day out, it is the client’s only case and it is their most important case. We take that to heart and pursue each case as though it is the only one we have. It is a philosophy that has served the firm and its clients well over the last five decades.

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Dear Colleagues:

Justin Shapiro joined our firm in February 2010, as a law clerk, and in 2011, after graduation with magna cum laude honors from the University of Miami School of Law, he became an associate. Of course, no one knew where that would lead, but he was ambitious, attentive and immediately welcomed into an established culture of achievement for over 40 years at Leesfield Scolaro. Then, as now, we emphasized the values of inclusion, communication, teamwork and a commitment to our clients and the Firm’s outstanding results.

A 40-year learning path is not insignificant, especially, when Justin and so many others here have adopted our value system directed towards professional growth and community involvement. So, Justin worked long, hard hours, he paid attention, he cared, he started a family (a wife and two beautiful children), he did not complain, he took care of our clients and treated our traditions with respect and concern. In short, he paid his dues.

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