Articles Tagged with “Thomas Scolaro”

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Thomas-Scolaro-Justin-Shapiro-Leesfield-Scolaro-03-1“There has never been a case more fit for a resounding punitive damages award. Nothing will prevent the jury from considering every sickening detail of Corizon’s neglect and every profit-driven decision that resulted in Evan Kennard’s agonizing death now that we have secured punitive damages on behalf of Evan’s wife and 9-year-old daughter.”

-Partners Thomas Scolaro and Justin Shapiro

Evan Kennard (age 29) was admitted to Polk County Jail with a life-threatening heart infection and symptoms so alarming that any competent healthcare professional would have immediately rushed him to an emergency room. Instead, the jail’s private healthcare contractor, Corizon, ignored Evan’s worsening symptoms and deprived him of life-saving treatment for seven days as he deteriorated into a corpse. Corizon neglected Evan at every turn and only sent him to the emergency room after he became unresponsive, brain-dead, severely septic, 40 pounds lighter, with pressure ulcers, soaked in his own urine, with no chance of survival. Corizon’s own Medical Director, Margie Gomez, MD, admitted in deposition that her medical staff committed “egregious violations of protocols” in Evan’s care and treatment throughout his limited time in the jail.  In fact, every single Corizon doctor and nurse deposed in this matter admitted to numerous protocol violations, and they blamed each other for Corizon’s grossly indifferent lack of humanity to this dying husband and father.

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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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Last week, the driver of a scooter was fatally injured in an incident with a UPS driver in Miami Beach. The reports at the time have collectively made a point to say that the operator of the scooter was not wearing a helmet, almost impuning them. Florida drivers know full-well that helmets are not required to operate a motorcycle or a scooter/moped. Whether in the court of public opinion or court of law, not wearing a helmet is not a reason to accuse an innocent driver of wrongdoing, without knowing all facts surrounding an incident, including this latest fatal collision.

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Read Ira Leesfield and Justin Shapiro’s article published in Trial on ways to approach litigation involving e-scooters and sharing services.

Let us be very clear. In general, when a scooter operator -not wearing a helmet- is thrashed by another vehicle, the focus is not and never should be on the helmet. The one and only cause for the incident in that scenario is the negligent, often reckless driver of the at-fault vehicle, who expressed utter disregard for other motorists on the road. Defense attorneys attempt to take the focus away from the main thing, which is their client’s negligence. The strategy is to appeal to the general population’s biases against motorcycles, scooters and mopeds in general, which makes us look for a reason to blame the victim. For the past 45 years, Leesfield Scolaro has litigated countless cases while representing families whose spouse, child or parent was killed by another vehicle, including commercial trucks.

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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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Partner Justin Shapiro has recently represented a family whose minor son (JD) was ran over by a distracted motorist as he was about to board a school bus. After a arduous legal battle, the family ultimately prevailed and settled against the at-fault driver and the school district for the school bus driver’s negligence.

Like every weekday, JD reported to the designated gathering area on the corner of the intersection just before 6:00 a.m. At approximately 6:10 a.m., the school bus arrived on the opposite corner of the intersection and stopped in the middle of the road. It was pitch dark outside as there were no street lights in the area. Despite the long line of buses situated “bumper-to-bumper” ahead of the bus, the driver initiated the flashing lights and signaled the children to cross the street and board the bus. There was no designated crosswalk from the gathering area to the corner where the bus stopped. Relying on the driver’s direction, JD and the other children began to cross the street.

school-bus-TOP-300x258At that time, a motorist traveling southbound in the direction of the group of children could not see the mobile traffic devices on the school bus due to the heavy traffic and numerous school buses in the northbound lane with their headlights on. Tragically and inevitably, the vehicle crashed into the child at a high rate of speed. JD was left unconscious, laying motionless on the ground. He was airlifted to the hospital, diagnosed with severe traumatic brain injuries from which he and his family will never recover.

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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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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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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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