Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Florida law is clear. The owner of a resort owes its guests the duty to exercise ordinary care in providing a safe and proper place to bathe or swim.

In the exercise of ordinary and reasonable care, the owner of a resort which offers swimming pools as attractions or amusements are required to furnish a reasonably sufficient number of attendants or lifeguards for the protection of bathers, and the total absence of lifeguards at a public swimming pool may be negligence.

Last Sunday, a young teenager drowned in the pool of Disney’s Pop Century Resort near Orlando, FL. On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office advised that the 13-year-old, Anthony Johnson, had passed away. The Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg first reported the event yesterday: 13-year-old boy drowns at Disney’s Pop Century Resort in Central Florida

Details of the actual reason for the death of Anthony have not been made public by the authorities. We know that at approximately 9:30pm, Anthony was found at the bottom of the 4-feet deep swimming pool and pulled by his cousin. Immediate attempts to resuscitate were made by the child’s father, as well as a firefighter who was vacationing at the resort and who was present when Anthony’s body was pulled out of the water.

Rescue arrived moments later. According to other guests’ testimonials, resuscitation efforts lasted for almost an hour before Anthony was put on a stretcher and transported emergently to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than 48 hours later.

Disney released a statement indicating that the lifeguards at the resort are on duty until 8pm every night. The pool where Anthony drowned, however, remains open past 8pm and swimmers are swimming at their own risk. Disney further advised that signs are posted throughout the area to alert swimmers. It is also important to note that Disney advertises its pools to be for “Preschoolers, Kids, Tweens, Teens, Adults, All Ages.”

An investigation into this tragedy will aim to answer several questions. If it is ascertained that the incident occurred at a time where lifeguards were not on duty, one must look into the reason for the pool to have remained open past 8pm. One can understand that any resort would want to keep its pools open for guests to use at their own discretion, but then why not man each pool with human security? In other words, why not extend the duties of lifeguards by several hours, like it is customarily done in other resorts?

Secondly, despite the absence of any lifeguards at the time Anthony was in the pool, was the resort equipped with mandatory life-saving and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in case a drowning were to occur? Not only that, was a staff person trained in the use of AEDs on duty at the time this incident took place?

Unfortunately, this tragedy is not the first of its kind. Several years ago, parents have endured the loss of their 6-year-old boy who drowned in one of the Disney’s swimming pools. While the circumstances of that tragedy were a bit different, Disney did agree to an out-of-court settlement with the family who had lost their loved one. The lawsuit, in part, alleged that the single lifeguard posted at the pool failed to adequately supervise the guests who were using the pool. The family also alleged that Disney should have had more than one lifeguard on duty at the time because of the large crowd of people using the pool.
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Last year, we reported on the military investigation into the death of two soldiers during on-base exercises and the link with the two men’s ingestion and consumption of a dietary supplement called ‘Jack3d’ (pronounced Jacked)

Jack3d GNC.jpgThis week, the parents of 22-year-old Michael Sparling, who died on the morning of June 1, 2011, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Dallas-based manufacturer of Jack3d, USPlabs, and GNC, the store where Michael purchased the product.

In its lawsuit, the family alleges that USPlabs was negligent under several theories of liability including defective design of the product, failure to warn its users, breach of warranty, and unlawful business acts and practices in violation of California law.

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Bobby-Floyd--Wylene-Floyd-jpg.jpgAfter being alerted by the landlord that something was wrong, Paulette Campbell arrived at the apartment of her grandparents, Wylene and Bobby Floyd of Miami Gardens. Upon entering their home, she discovered the body of her grandparents. Wylene had already succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Her grandfather Bobby was still alive, but needed immediate medical attention. Bobby was transported emergently to Jackson Memorial Hospital where his condition is unknown at the present time.

The Miami personal injury attorneys at Leesfield Scolaro have led the legislative battle in the State of Florida which gave birth to a new law finally requiring that commercial buildings be equipped with CO detectors. More information on the Florida legislation pertaining to Carbon Monoxide exposure can be found here.

On average, 60,000 Americans suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning every year. The grave danger associated with carbon monoxide is the nature of the deadly gas itself. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and slightly lighter than air. Undetectable to humans, it is highly toxic and can be deadly when leaked in high concentration.

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At around noon on Wednesday October 10, 2012, a large portion of a five-story building collapsed without warning, killing 2 construction workers, injuring several others, and another man is still missing at this hour.

garage collapse.jpg

The cause of this tragic incident is not yet known, but the police, construction investigators, and code experts are currently on site to determine what may have provoked the under construction parking garage at Miami-Dade College in Doral, Florida, to fall like a house of cards.

Last night around midnight, rescuers found a worker who had been trapped under the rubble for almost 12 hours. Attempts were made to extract the man, but the decision was made at around midnight last night to amputate both his legs in order to save his life. About one hour later, the man was cut above both knees, freed from under the collapsed concrete and rushed to the local hospital by ambulance.

Rick Rutigliano, an electrical supervisor who was on site at the time of the collapse, was on the other side of the building when he began to hear and feel a loud rumble. He ran to the other side of the building and saw the destruction that had just occurred. He later told the authorities that the collapse seem to have started after a crane set down an expansion beam on top of another beam. It has yet to be determined whether this was the cause or even a contributing factor to the incident.

parking-garage-collapse.jpgIt is believed that the two workers who lost their lives, as well as the 7 injured and one missing person are all construction workers employed by the garage contractor, Ajax Building Corporation, headquartered out of Tallahassee, Florida, and doing construction work in all southeastern States.

The garage was scheduled to open to the public in less than two months. It was a $22.5 construction contract which came to a tragic halt yesterday. Below the parking garage, office and classroom space were also built to house stores and students on campus.

This marks the second garage collapse in less than a month in South Florida. Unfortunately, fatalities related to construction accidents if far from uncommon. In 2011, construction work is the leading industry in the entire country with the most fatalities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Ira Leesfield pushes for national attention as he appeared on Nancy Grace.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkMMPooQHhs
 
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Family of 11-year old girl who died by electrocution at Orange Lake Resorts’ mini-golf course seeks $27 million in damages

MIAMI – August, 2012 – In the wake of the death of 11-year-old girl, Ashton Jojo, Florida-based trial law firm Leesfield Scolaro has filed suit against Orange Lake Country Club. In June, Ashton was retrieving a golf ball from a pond at Orange Lake Resorts’ mini-golf course when we she was electrocuted and died.

The wrongful death claim was filed in Orange County, Florida, and is seeking $27 Million in damages. Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, these damages include the mental pain and suffering of Ashton’s parents, the loss of Ashton’s companionship, medical expenses, funeral costs, etc. The suit states that upon being electrocuted by the highly energized water in the pond, Ashton was unable to move and collapsed in the energized water, thus suffering continuous electrocution.

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In light of the latest parasailing tragedy that took place two days ago in Pompano Beach, a new push for safety regulations of the parasailing industry is to be expected and encouraged by all, especially Floridians who have become the forced audience of so many fatal accidents, all of which preventable.

When Ira Leesfield represented the White family, in 2007, after the death of Amber and the catastrophic brain injury to Crystal, her sister, Leesfield Scolaro engaged in a national awareness campaign which included appearances on the Today Show, and Inside Edition. The goal was not only to bring attention to the dangers associated with parasailing when precautions are not taken (they almost never are), but also and most importantly to push legislators in Florida and in other coastal states to pass laws and safety regulations at once. Two drafts of the Amber May White Act were introduced before the Florida legislators in 2007 and 2008, but both failed.

The death of Kathleen Miskell, a 28-year-old woman from Wethersfield, Connecticut, will once more sound the alarm to all who want to hear it. The self-imposed safety measures that the parasailing industry claims to be following are insufficient, inadequate and simply intolerable. On a daily basis, these unregulated businesses, often manned by incompetent and inexperienced individuals, place their customers in danger. The equipment used for parasailing is never inspected, the ropes used to tug the chute with one, or two, sometimes even three people, are improper and overused. Companies often use the same chute regardless of the weight or the number of people they are sending up hundreds of feet in the air. Yet, there is no accountability. Ira Leesfield reiterated his concerns to the Miami Herald, concerns that grow stronger with each and every parasailing victim Leesfield Scolaro represents.

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Last November, Bernice Kraftcheck and her daughter, Danielle Haese, were on a cruise ship parasailing excursion off the coast of St. Thomas. The tour operator, Caribbean Water Sports & Tours, sold a tandem ride through Celebrity Cruise Lines, to the mother and daughter couple and offered to take them up on their parasail for $80 each.

Five minutes in the air, the catastrophe occurred. The rope pulling the couple broke and the chute plummeted down in the water. While they were in the water, the boat continued to pull the chute, causing Bernice Kraftcheck to be violently pummeled by the waves before being rescued. Bernice did not survive her injuries. Danielle did survive, but sustained serious brain damage.

Leesfield Scolaro filed a $30 million civil lawsuit in February, 2012, against multiple defendants, including the boat captain and the parasailing operator for their respective negligence.

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Yesterday, August 15, 28-year-old Kathleen Miskell from Wethersfield, Connecticut, was killed in a parasailing incident that took place in Pompano Beach, Florida. The early details obtained by the investigators of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Pompano Beach Fire Rescue who were rushed to the scene, point to the young woman’s harness breaking when the parasail was already up in the air and tugged by the boat. As soon as the harness broke, Kathleen Miskell fell approximately 150 to 200 feet into the ocean. She was pronounced dead at Broward Health North.

kathleenmiskell.jpg Stephen and Kathleen Miskell were parasailing as a tandem at the time of the incident. They had purchased a parasail ride with Waveblast Watersports, Inc., a parasail and jet ski rental company that operates in Pompano Beach, and out of the Sands Harbor Resort.

A history of Parasailing Incidents

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