Former Miami Hurricane accused of rape

see all my photos from the Cowboys vs. Patriots game here.

Michael Irvin, a star football player for the University of Miami Hurricanes during the 1980s, was accused of rape by a woman in a civil lawsuit who claimed that she was attacked at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The lawsuit was filed in Broward Circuit Court. Irvin, an NFL Hall of Famer, grew up in Fort Lauderdale and was a wide receiver at the University of Miami before joining the Dallas Cowboys.

No criminal charges have been filed against Irvin, although the Broward County State Attorney’s Office in Fort Lauderdale is currently investigating the case.

The woman in her complaint alleged the attack occurred around midnight during the early morning of July 5, 2007. The suit doesn’t identify the woman, merely referring to her as “Jane Doe.” Irvin, through his lawyer, has denied the charges.

In the civil complaint, the woman alleged Irvin bought her drinks, then took her to his hotel room. In the room, another unidentified man restrained her, while Irvin allegedly raped her. When Irvin was finished, the other man allegedly forced her to perform oral sex.

The woman reported the incident approximately two weeks later to the Seminole Police Department on July 20, 2007. A Tribe spokesman said that they inspected the room, but by that time there was no longer any forensic evidence or surveillance video. The woman also signed a waiver of prosecution because she wanted to avoid the publicity which would surround the charges.

The woman’s lawyer claimed his client had passed a polygraph test. Her attorney also stated that his client and Irvin’s lawyers had attempted to negotiate a settlement. Since the parties could not agree, the woman filed the lawsuit just days before the Super Bowl was to be played in South Florida.

Polygraph tests are not admissable in court unless both parties agree, which usually does not happen. These tests are still viewed as being unreliable because they are subject to manipulation, although they are frequently administered by police during the investigation of crimes.

The civil lawsuit against Michael Irvin also serves to highlight the difference between the criminal court and civil court systems. In criminal court, a defendant is facing a loss of liberty, i.e. jail time, perhaps even the death penalty. In a civil case, the defendant in the event of losing, is looking merely at adverse financial consequences in the form of a civil judgment for money damages.

Victims of sexual assaults have the right to make a claim in civil court for money damages sustained as a result of the attack. Such damages frequently include medical expenses as well as claims for “pain and suffering.” The emotional damages to victims of sexual assaults can be devastating and if the evidence warrants, juries in civil cases frequently award substantial verdicts for these types of claims.

A difficult aspect of sexual assault claims in civil cases is collecting money on a judgment that has been awarded. Typically, the perpetrators of these terrible crimes do not have the money to pay off the judgment, making many of these lawsuits economically unfeasible. There are situations, however, where a judgment for money damages may be collectible such as where the location of the attack did not have adequate security, then the property owner may be liable. Also, where the defendant who is alleged to have committed the assault has substantial financial assets such as a professional athlete or wealthy business man, these cases may prove to be “collectible.”

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Florida has the highest pool drowning death rate for children.

The State of Florida has the highest drowning death rate in the US for children ages 1-4 years (8.9/100,000) and during 1999-2003 recorded 356 unintentional drowning deaths among children in this age group according to the Florida Department of Health.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, pool drownings for young children have increased dramatically. Nationwide, an average of about 300 children under 5 years old drowned in pools nationwide annually. Most of these deaths occurred in the summer months. Drowning is the second leading cause of death to young children after motor vehicle incidents. Another 2,700 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for near-drowning incidents. Most of these cases involve residential pools.

Unfortunately, these tragedies can, and do occur all too quickly — many times before parents and caretakers are even aware that their toddlers are no longer in the house. Whenever a pool is nearby, constant adult supervision is vital. Even if a young child has been taught to swim, it is still necessary for an adult to be watching.

The key to preventing these tragedies is to have multiple levels of protection. This includes placing barriers around your pool to prevent access, using alarms on doors that access the pool, installing child proof locks on all doors leading to the pool and being prepared in case of an emergency. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has specific recommendations to reduce the incidence of childhood drownings.

Pool drowning cases present unique issues for attorneys representing parents. Frequently, they involve death or brain damageto the child. Although others may be responsible for their child’s drowning, most parents tend to experience feelings of guilt. Accordingly, these cases need to be handled in a manner designed to minimize the trauma to the family and to provide closure.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the law partners at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

One Die, Two Sick from Legionairres’ Disease at Miami Hotel

A foreign visitor has died and at least two other people have become sick after staying at the Epic Hotel in downtown Miami, Florida. Health officials are blaming an unusual type of pneumonia called Legionairres’ disease.

Legionairres’ disease typically occurs after inhaling an aerosol containing Legionella bacteria. Such particles could originate from any infected water source. When the surface of the water is disrupted, small water droplets can result which quickly evaporate. If these droplets contain bacteria, the bacterial cells remain suspended in the air, invisible to the naked eye but small enough to be inhaled into the lungs. This has been found in inadequately ventilated areas such as prisons where a condensating air conditioner can spread it throughout the entire room, infecting anyone not immune to the strand of bacteria. Potential sources of such contaminated water include cooling towers used in industrial cooling water systems as well as in large central air conditioning systems, evaporative coolers, hot water systems, showers, whirlpool spas, architectural fountains, room-air humidifiers, ice making machines, misting equipment, and similar disseminators that draw upon a public water supply. The disease may also be spread in a hot tub if the filtering system is defective.

Guests at the Epic Hotel have been relocated to nearby Miami hotels to prevent further contact with the water, according to the Miami-Dade County Health Department. It has been reported that Doctors say there is no cause for alarm because only three cases of the bacteria have surfaced in the past two months.

One guest, a foreigner who stayed at the hotel this fall, died as a result of the disease. Case such as these can involve negligent maintenance by the hotel. If this should occur, the surviving family members may have a wrongful death case against the hotel, if they can prove that the death resulted from the negligence of the hotel. As to any other guests who may have become ill because of this, they may have a premises liability lawsuit for negligence against the Miami hotel.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the law partners at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.