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Whether it’s whizzing past unsuspecting pedestrians on sidewalks or garnering virality online, it is clear E-bikes, and irresponsible operators, are becoming more prominent in South Florida. 

In May, a video showing a man on an E-scooter carrying a passenger and also towing another friend on a standard bicycle gained traction online. If on a residential road, or even a sidewalk, one might think the video to be funny, however, it is clear that the scooter is speeding full-force down the shoulder of a Miami highway. Dumbfounded drivers can be seen slowing down in the video to get a good look at the incredulous scene. A woman heading toward Downtown Miami on her E-Scooter recently was also recorded merging lanes and cruising down a Miami highway. Online critics bashed the move as irresponsible and a reason as to why there are so many accidents in the city. 

Unfortunately, the narrative surrounding these videos is not an uncommon one. It seems that every day there is a new clip online of E-transport users testing their limits, creating hazards for distracted drivers and leaving themselves and others vulnerable to injury. The latest available data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission states that there was a 21% increase from 2021 to 2022 in injuries involving these electric modes of transportation in the United States. Minors 14 years old and younger make up a “significant” amount of the reported injuries, according to reporting from CBS Miami. 

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Any pedestrian crossing the street on U.S. 1 or trekking down the sidewalk on Kendall Drive during rush hour knows to remain vigilant. Drivers in Miami have been known to text behind the wheel, speed, take traffic laws as suggestions and honk when unnecessary. The joke that Miami’s distracted drivers don’t know what they are doing is shared among coworkers, friends and grocery store clerks alike with a disapproving shake of their heads.

 It is only when there is a horrific and violent crash that cannot be undone that the chuckling stops and people are reminded of just how dangerous the roads can be. 

What happened? 

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People all over the world rely on public transportation to get them where they need to go every day. They go to work, school and are expected to come home safely. Sadly, that was not the case for at least 46 people last week in Marion County after a bus rollover crash killed eight farm workers on board and injured 38 others. 

According to a statement from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 53 people aboard a bus just before 7 a.m. on May 14 when it had a sideswipe crash with a 2001 Ford Ranger private truck. The bus went off the road following the crash, through a fence and later rolled over. 

At least eight of the 38 passengers who were injured were reported to be in critical condition, according to the Miami Herald. The driver of the truck involved in the incident, 41-year-old Bryan Maclean Howard, of Ocala, was charged Tuesday with eight counts of driving under the influence and manslaughter. Details on the name of the transportation company that operated the bus in the crash were not immediately available.

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Leesfield & Partners
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Clients:

Good news as we enter our 48th year! We now added three trial lawyers and one appellate lawyer to assist in our quality service to you, your clients and contacts. Over the years, we have developed one of Florida’s most diverse personal injury practices in State and Federal Court, working with lawyers and strategic alliances in every state. Your loyalty is appreciated as we go forward with our commitment to bringing the highest and best results possible.

Over four decades, and in recent years, we have forged unique and groundbreaking theories of law in practice areas that have helped thousands of clients recover for the harmful acts of others. For instance:

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Early Giving is now OPEN!

Join the giving club early. You can donate funds or time now through Give Miami Day!

Give Miami Day, the annual philanthropic event that serves as a pivotal platform for charitable giving and community engagement in Miami, Florida, is NOW!

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On June 21, 2023, Attorney Michael Shepherd of Leesfield & Partners delivered a comprehensive Continuing Legal Education (CLE) presentation concerning HB 837, Florida’s recent tort reform legislation, to the esteemed members of the Coral Gables Bar Association. In his capacity as a newly elected board member of the association, this speaking engagement served as an exceptional opportunity for the attendees to acquaint themselves with Mr. Shepherd and his legal practice.michael-shepherd

During his discourse, Michael provided an insightful analysis of the implications of the new law on his personal injury practice, along with the strategies he employs to overcome potential challenges encountered by Florida personal injury plaintiffs. Notably, he addressed the novel frameworks introduced by section 768.0427 for the calculation of damages, shedding light on pertinent aspects such as changes to negligent security law and the concept of comparative fault.

Furthermore, he elucidated the additional prerequisites for pursuing a bad faith claim against insurance companies as stipulated by the legislation. Of considerable importance, Michael dedicated a significant portion of his presentation to the contentious issue of the potential retroactive application of HB 837, offering the audience two contrasting trial orders that exemplified opposing viewpoints. This engaging session was followed by inquiries from the attendees, including queries pertaining to the inclusion of instructions related to comparative fault in jury deliberations, as well as the prospective impact of HB 837 on litigation costs incurred by injured plaintiffs.

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Once again, the team at Leesfield & Partners 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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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 & Partners 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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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 & Partners’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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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 & Partners. 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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