Articles Tagged with Ira H. Leesfield

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In 2022, the 2-year-old child of our clients drowned in the swimming pool of a Central Florida house the family rented on AirBnb’s platform. It took less than a minute before she was pulled out unconscious, and despite the medical team’s every effort to keep her alive, she tragically died weeks later. The investigation revealed that the house was not equipped with a compliant child safety fence, and as a result, Leesfield Scolaro Partners, Thomas Scolaro and Adam Rose, filed a lawsuit against multiple parties, including the owner of the home located in Osceola County and AirBnb.

In the recent past, Leesfield Scolaro has litigated several pool drowning cases with liabilities resting on property owners, pool contractors, and property managing companies. In one South Florida case that resulted in the drowning of a toddler, Ira Leesfield and Thomas Scolaro were able to secure a seven-figure settlement against multiple defendants for the inadequate installation of a defective pool fence.

Florida Laws and Local Regulations

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Attorneys Ira Leesfield and Thomas Scolaro represented the family of a young girl who died of electrocution while playing miniature golf. The 11-year-old’s golf ball ended up in a small water pond, when she reached inside the pond in an attempt to retrieve her ball, she immediately started to scream. Another guest jumped to her rescue and tried to grab her by the arm to pull her out but they too became injured as soon as they touched her.

The tragedy for the family was in fact an incomprehensible act of negligence committed by the owners and employees in charge of maintenance. Leesfield Scolaro’s inspection and investigation revealed an improper replacement and installation of electrical breakers. State and local regulations mandate the use of ground fault interrupter (GFI) breakers for all water features like the pond in question. The inspection of the wiring and the electrical pump uncovered that non-GFI breakers were employed, which resulted in the water to become electrified, unbeknownst to all, including our fatally injured young client who was on vacation to celebrate her 11th birthday.

Within nine months, several inspections were conducted, lawsuit was filed, depositions were taken, and the case was settled for $10,000,000.

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Among South Florida bicyclists, Key Biscayne is known for its perfect cycling area with approximately 5 miles of straight scenic roadway. Every day around sunrise and sunset, large groups of cyclists make their way up and down Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, located just two minutes from Downtown Miami.

This is exactly what our client was doing one October morning before a tragic incident with a motor vehicle caused him to sustain permanent injuries and surgery. Our client was lawfully riding his bicycle westbound on the Rickenbacker Causeway in the designated bicycle lane. At the same time, an Officer with Coral Gables Police Department, Officer Robert H. Thomson was driving his police car westbound on the Rickenbacker Causeway in the vehicle lane. Inexplicably and without warning, Officer Thomson cut off our client by making a right turn and crossing over the bicycle lane, which caused our client to collide with another cyclist and fall off his bicycle.

In November, Attorneys Thomas Scolaro and Michael Shepherd filed suit against the City. Litigation is currently ongoing.

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In just 11 months, Partner Justin Shapiro secured a $16 million settlement for his clients, an elderly couple from New York who was savagely attacked while staying in a South Miami hotel.  That day the individual defendant walked into the hotel, through the lobby, straight into an elevator to the 7th floor where he knocked on the couple’s guestroom door.  As soon as the husband opened the door, the individual punched him in the face, lunged at him and pushed his way inside the guestroom before biting him on the back of his neck and strangling him.  They fought for five long minutes before the assailant turned his aggression to the wife, chasing her outside the hallway, punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground.September-2022-full-page-ad-FBN-Negligent-Security-206x300

At that time, three hotel and security employees showed up in the elevator.  They stood directly in front of the aggressor as he continued to viciously beat up on our client.  Our client was crying for help and bleeding profusely, but shockingly the employees did nothing.  They let the attacker dragged his victim by the hair onto the elevator, she was helplessly screaming at the top of lungs as the elevator door closed.

Nobody knew on which floor the elevator had stopped but CCTV captured the rest of the most brutal sexual assault that took place five floors below.  On the footage, the assailant is seen forcefully dragging the wife out of the elevator as she tried to fend him off.  Ultimately he overpowered her, and punched her across the face over 30 times as he stood above her.  In utter savagery he bit her face so violently that a large chunk of flesh ripped off her forehead.  She was almost lifeless.  He then ordered her to perform oral sex on him.  She resisted him.  He punched her again and again, strangled her, until she had no choice but to do what he said.  It lasted several minutes before he forced himself on top of her and raped her in the middle of the hallway.  When the police finally arrived to stop the attack, our client had endured the most horrific ten minutes of her life where she was raped, defaced and mutilated.

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Miami, June 2022 – Partner Adam Rose secured a record-setting verdict on behalf of his clients, a family whose daughter was killed and son incapacitated by a drunk driver who was overserved at a popular Miami bar. While the reading of the jury’s verdict gave the family the satisfaction of knowing that some justice was served, it could do nothing to change the cruel reality of two broken-hearted parents who have lost everything.

While on their way to drop their daughter off at the airport for a flight to medical school orientation, the family car was hit head-on by a drunk driver speeding in the wrong direction on I-95. Their daughter, 23, was killed in the crash, and their son, 21, suffered catastrophic brain and orthopedic injuries, leaving him in a wheelchair, unable to speak, and requiring round-the-clock care for the rest of his life. The drunk driver had spent the night and early morning bar hopping and getting obliterated before making the terrible and fateful decision to get behind the wheel.

At trial, the Miami jury was visibly moved by Dad when he took the stand and tried to explain in his own words the unimaginable agony, grief, and struggle to carry on that he and his entire family wrestle with every day. Dad, who moved to America with his daughter and son when they were 6 and 4, shared with the jury that everything he and his wife did in life from the moment on was to make sure their children had every opportunity possible.

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We previously reported it here, Leesfield Scolaro represents the families of two fatally injured victims who died when they were parasailing near Key West in July 2020. The captain was charged with manslaughter for conducting parasailing activities in winds too strong under Florida Law.  Early on in our investigation it became clear from the collected weather data and the testimony obtained later in the case that the operator should have cancelled all parasailing activities hours before the incident occurred.  All signs of inclement, dangerous weather and gusty winds were present.  The other two parasailing tour operators had cancelled their activities, but captain Andrew John Santeiro pushed through and exposed Nicholas Hayward, 36, and Azalea Silva, 29, to a grave peril.

The captain knew at the time that bad weather was coming for having observed a gathering storm on the other side of the island prior to embarking twelve passengers on his boat. Nonetheless, he disregarded the risk and pushed through. He also knew that the anemometer (instrument for measuring the speed of the wind) aboard the ship was broken and that he would have to rely solely on weather apps downloaded on his phone to obtain limited information. Not only does the phone fail to provide real-time reading, it also fails to provide accurate information relative to the precise location of the boat. To add insult to injury, captain Santeiro said he does not even remember checking the weather on his phone before the flight.

So he deployed the chute (wrong-size) with Nicholas and Azalea harnessed to it. Within seconds after sending them up, a gust of wind blew into the chute, almost capsizing the boat. In an instant, the towline broke, releasing the two passengers in flight to be dragged in the water by the inflated chute. At the same time, the towline snapped back into the boat’s propeller, leaving it dead in the water and unable to go rescue the couple stuck under water. Nicholas died at the scene, and Azalea died months later from her injuries.

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To gather facts and to determine early on whether insurance coverage is available is the first priority for every personal injury attorney presented with a new potential case. On the issue of coverage, if the answer is “none”, or “minimal”, almost all lawyers will abruptly end the conversation and turndown the case.

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Had Ira Leesfield and Thomas Scolaro followed the wrong-way herd, one of our pedestrian clients would have collected zero dollar. Experience, dedication and legal tenacity allowed for a $1.4 million recovery instead (more on that case below). Bottom line is, if insurance coverage is seemingly lacking, all personal injury attorneys must ban the practice of summarily turning down a potential case without conducting a proper investigation of the facts and of all defendants’ assets.

Leverage Acquired = Ten Times the Combined Coverage

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Over the last 45 years, especially in the last 1000 days, Leesfield Scolaro’s negligent security practice has seen first hand the dire consequences of the escalation of violent crime and the increasing number of innocent victims needlessly killed, battered, or raped.

The last two years have brought on much anxiety to all of us. The ripple effect of world economies shutting down has caused local economies and its people to suffer the most. The atmosphere of uncertainty has been a significant contributing factor to the resurgence of crime in our communities, especially the most violent crimes.Petition-Family-Safety-Issue_Page_5_resize-300x261

According to Statista, violent crimes are the worst they have been in the last 10 years. The number of aggravated assaults is the highest we have seen in the last 23 years, and the number of murders & non-negligent manslaughters has been this high since 1995.

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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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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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