Articles Tagged with “Ira Leesfield”

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In less than 24 hours, South Florida roadways have witnesses four motor vehicle accidents which caused the death of six people. While the number of traffic accident fatalities is in somewhat decline in the State overall, last weekend’s events are a brutal reminder that traffic safety remains the greatest cause for unnatural deaths in Florida.

Ambulance_iStock_000011321000Medium.jpgIn Miami Beach, a woman was killed while crossing the street at Rue Granville and Normandy Drive. She was struck by a car on Sunday night and was emergently transported to the hospital. She succumbed to her serious injures at the hospital.

Earlier that day, two women crossing Alligator Alley were killed when they were struck by an SUV near mile marker 63. According to the driver of the vehicle who struck them, the police said the deceased were walking along the median of Alligator Alley and began crossing the road in the direction of their car that was parked in a rest area along the road. The driver of the SUV was unable to avoid them and after hitting the windshield, they both died at the scene.

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On 69th Street and Harding Avenue in Miami Beach, two men working on an apartment complex renovations and repairs were violently electrocuted when they came into contact with a power line.

The two workers’ identities have yet to be released by the authorities, but some of the facts of this incident seem to be without dispute at this early stage. The two men were in the bucket of a cherry picker. A Miami Beach resident whose window was close from where the incident took place, Greg Maas, woke up to loud screams outside his window. When he looked out into the street, he saw the two men laying flat at the bottom of the bucket.

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Photo courtesy of wsvn – 7News

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Appointed by President Clinton to investigate and track down looted Holocaust art and cultural treasures stolen during World War II across Europe, Ira Leesfield was recently recognized by the Miami Herald for the role he played in the U.S. Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets from 1998 to 2000.

The release of George Clooney’s latest movie, The Monuments Men, has led many men and women to being honored at various Washington institutions that played major roles in the protection, investigation, and in several cases, rescue of European treasures during and after World War Two.

The Commission made several significant findings, some of which are below:

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According to the latest reports, both teenagers’ health are slowly improving and their respective doctors are expecting both girls to recover from their traumatic injuries. The family of Sidney Renea Good and Alexis Fairchild, 17-year-old girls from Huntington and Roanoke, Indiana, have shared that their daughters have both suffered head trauma and severe lacerations. However they are both communicating with their doctors and close family members with small hand gestures.

Earlier this week, Sidney and Alexis purchased a parasail ride with Aquatic Adventures in Panama City. While both girls were up in the air, the weather deteriorated and strong winds rolled onto the the shore. The rope of the parasail snapped and both girls, who were riding in tandem, were catapulted onto a condominium near the shore, before hitting a power line or a utility pole. They crashed seconds later on top of an SUV in a nearby parking lot. Both girls were breathing at the scene, but one of them was knocked unconscious.

Sidney Good Alexis Fairchild.jpgThe statement released by the family of the two girls reads as follows: “Alexis has severe back injuries and Sidney has neck trauma. However, we are fortunately seeing some positive signs from both Sidney and Alexis. Sidney has been responsive to caregivers and has been able to use small movements to communicate including a thumbs up for her parents. Alexis had surgery (Wednesday) on her spine and has also been responsive including a small wave at her parents when she returned from surgery. Our families are incredibly touched by all the support we’ve received from friends at home and from many people we haven’t met before who are praying for our girls. While the situation is still critical we are encouraged by these very small signs of progress. We have heard from so many generous people who have offered to help and we are working to establish a fund for the medical care of both Sidney and Alexis. We will have more information on that to come. Thank you again to all who are thinking of and praying for our girls. Your prayers are working!”

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Jeffrey Lee Williams and his mother Jeannie Williams were staying in hotel room 225 at the Best Western in Boone, North Carolina, this past weekend. On Saturday, the hotel staff was alerted by Jeannie’s husband that he could not reach his family and asked to go check on them. When they opened the door, first responders found the dead body of 11-year-old Jeffrey. Next to him was his mother Jeannie, who was still alive, but in a deep state of asphyxia. She was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, and as of today, Jeannie is listed in stable condition, still recovering at Watauga Medical Center.

On Monday afternoon, the Watauga County Health Department in charge with finding the cause of this incident advised that carbon monoxide was found in the hotel room where Jeffrey and his mother were staying this past weekend. Initially, the cause of death of the young boy was asphyxia, which leads to believe that something in the hotel room had caused his death.

Local news station WCNC-TV reports today that the hotel room in which the mother and son were staying was situated directly above the swimming pool of the hotel and the gas heater used to heat the water of the pool. The investigation is ongoing and further testings will be conducted in the next few days.

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On May 2, 2013, the State of Florida approved a bill named the “Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law”. The new law, which is to come into effect on October 1, 2013, will ban all drivers from texting and driving. We have previously reported on the new bill earlier this year in our post titled: “Florida on its way to ban texting-while-driving? How a worthless piece of legislation will keep roads unsafe

In the better part of the last decade, the legislator has failed to come to an agreement on a law that would ban texting while driving and pass a law to finally deter and reduce the number of distracted drivers who travel through the populous and dangerous roads of Florida. Today, very little can derail this bill to become law. It only awaits a signature by Florida Governor Rick Scott, which should officially occur in the next few weeks.

texting while driving02.jpgAs discussed in our previously-mentioned post, informed proponents of a ban on texting while driving have openly criticized the future law in that it does not go far enough. The main point of criticism is that the Florida legislature has voted to make any violation of the texting ban a secondary offense, or a toothless bite.

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On April 8, 2013, the Florida Judiciary Committee approved by unanimous vote a bill (SB 52) that would ban texting while driving statewide for the first time in Florida. The bill cleared The Senate Transportation Committee last February, cleared the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities Committee in March and this week cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill can now be taken to Florida’s Senators for a final vote.

If the bill passes the Senate and the House, this will mark the first time that a ban on texting while driving becomes in effect (on October 1, 2013) after several years of futile attempts to ban texting behind the wheel.

While any ban on texting and driving is a step in the right direction, the proposed law is so meaningless in its reach that it will sadly create absolutely no incentive or deterring effects to dissuade drivers to stop texting while driving throughout the State.

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ira-leesfield.jpgTEXTING AND DRIVING Make the right call on texting and driving

By Ira H. Leesfield

After years of false stops and starts, a bill to curb texting while driving is finally building momentum in the Florida House. The current bill would impose a $30 fine for anyone texting while driving, and a $60 fine for doing so again within the same five-year period. Texting would still be allowed when stopped or at a red light.

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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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Aaron Deveau is currently on trial, facing criminal charges including motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, being an operator under 18 using a mobile phone, being an operator reading or sending an electronic message, driving over marked lanes, and two counts of negligent operation and injury from mobile phone use.

This Massachusetts criminal case could be the first landmark case in the controversial topic of texting while driving, after the 17 year-old-teenager, Deveau, collided head-on with a pickup truck on Feb. 20, 2011, and killing 55-year-old Donald Bowley.

Had this accident occurred in Florida, Aaron Deveau would be freely walking down the streets of the Sunshine State with the comforting knowledge that he will never face criminal charges. The victim’s family on the other hand would only have a civil remedy against the negligent teenager.

In 2010 the state of Massachusetts has passed a law banning the use of mobile phones while operating a motor vehicle. A contrario, Florida is one of only six states in the country which continuously refuses to ban the practice of texting and driving. In fact, this year marked the 7th year in a row that the Florida legislature could have voted on a total or partial ban of the use of handheld mobile phones while driving and adjourned without producing a single distracted driving law.

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Image above courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Ira H. Leesfield, as Senior Managing Partner of Leesfield Scolaro, has continuously been an advocate in favor of a total ban of the use of mobile phones when driving a motor vehicle. Recently, Ira Leesfield highlighted the main concerns and legal theories under which plaintiffs could attempt bringing civil cases against negligent drivers who caused injuries while using their cell phone: Driving + Cell Phones = Bad Call.

In an article published in the Miami Herald, Texting and driving a costly business risk, Ira Leesfield warned the corporate world of the dangers of having employees driving and using their cell phones. In 2007, an article published in the American Bar Association’s The Brief, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, in which Ira Leesfield analyzes and discusses remedies and tactics for handling motor vehicle collision cases arising from cell phone use and distractions. This article can be downloaded here.
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