Articles Posted in Civil Litigation

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Because of Disney’s corporate thinking, Matt and Melissa Graves lost their son Lane. On June 14, 2016 Lane Graves was killed by an alligator, who snatched him from the shore of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando. Probably mistaking the prehistoric creature for a toy or animatronic reptile, Lane walked toward the gator and was taken.

Despite the heroic efforts by his parents, Lane was pulled under water, only to be found by divers the next day. The horror of this loss is magnified by the fact that Matt and Melissa fought the alligator before it submerged with their son.

The dignity displayed by the Graves in refusing to comment on this senseless loss conveys the deep need to grieve their loss and focus on what is important now. But for the rest of us the lesson is clear: Disney needs to learn that they cannot wait until crash after crash at an intersection before putting up a stop sign. Here there was a need for more than just a stop sign.

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Not everyone thinks theme parks are the happiest places on earth. Parents of children might find it uncomfortable to learn that the people in the costumes at theme parks, those working on rides, and escorting guests through the resorts might be pedophiles on the prowl.

In several To Catch A Predator-style stings, police in Florida have recently arrested a number of Disney employees for child sex offenses. CNN conducted an investigation that found at least 35 Disney employees have been arrested since 2006 for sex crimes involving children. Some were caught with child porn on Disney property. One, a Disney World employee who oversaw ride repairs, was arrested when he arrived at a house thinking he was going to meet a 14 year-old girl. Instead he was arrested.

Just last month employees of Disney and Universal were arrested when they too showed up at a house planning to meet children. One was a concierge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, who thought he was going to “fulfill a fantasy” with a 14 year-old boy.

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In what can only be characterized as a repeat tragedy in South Florida, 28 year-old Kathleen Miskell of Connecticut was killed while riding a parasail off the coast of Pompano Beach, Florida yesterday. While her husband watched helplessly from the tandem parasail in which they were strapped, the harness holding Kathleen failed, throwing her 200 feet to the water. Ms. Miskell was pronounced dead at North Broward Medical Center a short time later.

This tragic death falls almost on the anniversary of the double tragedy involving 15 year-old Amber May White and her 16 year-old sister Crystal in 2007. Amber May was killed and Crystal suffered a severe head injury when the parasail on which they were riding disconnected from its line, throwing them into a building. This too occurred in Pompano Beach.

Mrs. Miskell died while aboard a Wave Blast Water Sports parasailing operation. The ride was operated out of the Sands Hotel in Pompano Beach. This took place by the Hillsboro Inlet.

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A lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit court Tuesday against Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines Inc. and its Costa subsidiary seeks $528 million in damages resulting from the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster.

The lawsuit names 39 plaintiffs who experienced the shipwreck in the Mediterranean last month in which 17 people have been confirmed dead and 15 are still missing. The damages sought include $78 million in compensatory damages and $450 in punitive damages, reports the Miami Herald.

On the same day, Costa announced that it would compensate passengers 11,000 euros plus reimbursement for cruise ticket costs and extra travel expenses. The deadline for passengers to accept the offer was extended to March 31. Costa released a statement regarding those who suffered the greatest losses:

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Two U.S. law firms are filing class-action lawsuits against Costa Cruises, asking for at least $160,000 per passenger involved in last week’s resort tort disaster, according to the BBC. The shipwreck left 11 people dead, hundreds injured, and 21 still missing.

Owned by Miami-based Carnival Group, Costa Cruises blamed the captain of the Costa Concordia for veering off course and crashing into a rock, causing the ship to half sink. The captain has denied the charges of suspected manslaughter, for which he remains under house arrest.

A civil claim is being filed against him in Italy while lawsuits will reportedly be filed in Miami this week against Costa Cruises, with claimants seeking compensation for “continued medical care, loss of earnings as well as the psychological impact they had suffered while trying to get off the ship,” reports the BBC. Liability against the company will point to regular route deviations in the past, lack of safeguards on board, and the alarm system.

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Sex-Drugs-Violence logoResort Torts are cases of civil liability for negligent or criminal acts in a resort, vacation or recreational setting. They can encompass a variety of legal cases, revealing that tourists, business travelers and locals alike are all exposed to risk while traveling, vacation, or engaging in resort or pleasure activities… including NIGHTCLUBS.

The Sun Sentinel reported this week that a nightclub in Broward County, advertised from Fort Pierce to Miami, is a regular stop for Sheriff’s deputies and city paramedics, for illegal drugs being sold and used, and for teenagers who have passed out, overdosed, or having seizures.

Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher said he receives weekly calls about the facility, from parents complaining about it. He wants the club’s electronic dance music shows at Club Cinema – which pull in more than 2,000 people – shut down.

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Hot Coffee movie poster“Eye-opening indictment of the way big business spins the media.” –Variety

“Stunning debut … Sends audiences out of the theater thinking in a brand new way.” –Washington Post

“Entertaining, informative … vividly illuminating.” –Hollywood Reporter

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Resort Torts logo FINAL.jpgMiami Beach’s popular Clevelander Hotel has allegedly been providing on-duty police officers with alcohol in concealed containers.

One such officer on the midnight ATV patrol struck and critically injured the mother of a 1-year-old, causing severe brain injuries. From her bed at Jackson Memorial Hospital, she is suing the officer and the hotel, and reportedly will also sue the City of Miami Beach, according to the Miami Herald.

The lawsuit alleges that the officer frequented the Clevelander and that its employees knew he drank excessively. The offer’s blood alcohol level measure .088 five hours after the incident. The legal limit is .08.

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A bill unprecedented not only in Florida but nationally has been proposed in our State.

The past state legislative session attempted to split and pack the Florida Supreme Court and remove the power of the independent judicial nominating commissions to nominate appellate judges. It would require more than a majority vote for merit retention. This is a serious threat to judicial independence in Florida.

The proposed legislation would politicize judicial selection, revoking the freedom judges currently have to decide cases fairly and impartially, relying only on the facts and the law. The new legislation would no longer protect them from the pressures that judicial independence is designed to keep at bay, including political, legislative, special interest, media, public, and financial pressures.

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In an editorial published yesterday in The St. Petersburg Times, a doctor not surprisingly endorsed the accountability of expert witnesses who could testify against her in a medical malpractice case, while also endorsing the new law that weakens accountability requirements for doctors.

This is hardly a balanced or objective argument.

Dr. Madelyn E. Butler’s assertion that the new legislation “makes Florida a friendlier place to practice medicine” is tantamount to saying it’s now easier for doctors to make major medical mistakes in Florida that injure or kill patients, and not have to answer for them.