Ethics Complaint Filed Against Former Judge and Attorneys By Florida Bar

Following its own investigation, The Florida Bar has filed ethics complaints with the state Supreme Court against a former 12th Judicial Circuit judge and two Palmetto attorneys.

Former Judge John Lakin admitted to accepting Tampa Bay Rays baseball tickets from the firm of Kallins, Little & Delgado while still hearing motions in a slip-and-fall case in which attorneys Melton Little and Scott Kallins represented the plaintiff. If you or someone that you know has been injured in a slip and fall, call a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer.

The justice system is meant to keep the world in order.Thos that serve in the justice system take an oath to administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon them. When that oath is not followed out accordingly, they must answer. An ethics complaint was filed by The Florida Bar with the state Supreme Court against two Palmetto attorneys and a former 12th Judicial Circuit judge.

A Wrong Move For A Florida Judge
Former Judge John Lakin was said to accepting Tama Bay Rays baseball tickets from the firm of Kallings, Little & Delgado while he was still hearing motions in a slip and fall case in which attorneys Melton Little and Scott Kallins represented the plaintiff. Mr. Lakin admitted to the accusations.

The complaint read, Lakin presided in the June 2015 trial of Sandy Wittke vs. Wal-Mart Stores. Little and Kallins represented Wittke, who claimed to be injured when she fell at the Wal-Mart on Cortez Road in Bradenton.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of Wal-Mart. The next day, Little suggested to Kallins that Lakin would be interested in tickets to that evening’s Rays game with the Boston Red Sox. Kallins contacted Lakin’s judicial assistant with the offer. The law firm provided five tickets to Lakin, who used two and discarded the others. When Lakin received the tickets “the time period for filing post-trial motions had not expired.” Lakin asked the law firm for tickets to a Rays game with the Minnesota Twins, which Little delivered to the judge’s courtroom. The next day, Lakin overturned the jury’s verdict in the Wittke case and granted the motion for a new trial. “Prior to the Wittke vs. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. case, Judge Lakin had never overturned a jury verdict during his tenure on the bench.” In October, Lakin received tickets from the firm to a Rays game with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Florida Slip and Fall Attorney
Lakin was advised from his senior judges that accepting the tickets were inappropriate and that he was required to disclose his actions to both the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission and the parties involved in the Wittke vs. Wal-Mart Stores case. Lakin admits that his actions were inappropriate but that accepting the tickets had no influence on his decision of the case.

The Bar concluded that Lakin’s “solicitation and acceptance of free baseball tickets” from attorneys appearing in a case before him “created an appearance of impropriety” and undermined his “independence, integrity and/or impartiality as a member of the judiciary.”

Auto Insurance Coverages Could Change

Is the required auto coverage on Florida roads enough to cover health care costs in the event of an accident? Many are finding that these limits are not enough to cover the medical expenses. It is required to carry personal injury protection of at least $10,000 in medical benefits. Lawmakers are currently discussing changing up the insurance coverage drivers are required to carry. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call the Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorneys to discuss your options.

Fort Lauderdale Auto Accident Attorney
Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, which is also known Personal Injury Protection or PIP, requires all drivers to carry $10,000 in medical, disability and funeral protection. When a driver only carries the minimum coverage, $10, 000 is nearly enough to cover medical expenses for everyone in the car. Who ends up having to carry the burden of these excess medical expenses? Legislation is currently discussing cancelling out PIP benefits and raising the bodily injury coverage to $25,000 a person and $50,000 per incident. This would require a driver to purchase this coverage before being able to register a vehicle. With any new change, there are always those that are in opposition to the new change. Physician groups as well as insurance companies are those who are in opposition, saying dumping PIP moves Florida to a system of litigation.

Florida Auto Insurance Changes
“We can bring meaningful value into a system that places fault appropriately on the person who caused the accident,” Senator Grall said.With Florida’s PIP law, there has been a tsunami of bad faith claims. The Florida PIP law has been revised several times since 2000 to try to reduce insurance fraud. But those reforms have also restricted coverage. PIP was created in 1971 as a way to reduce traffic lawsuits.

Of course, by requiring a higher minimum coverage, the minimum premium would be higher as well. Those is opposition of this new law wonders how this would affect low income families. Senator Grall’s bill made it out of its first committee, but it still faces an uphill battle. Similar legislation is also filed by Senator Jeff Brandes, Senator Tom Lee and Representative Bill Hager.

A Law Firm Helps Win An Arkansas Medical Malpractice Suit

An Arkansas family recently was awarded a $46.5 million settlement in a medical malpractice case with the help of a law firm. If you or someone you know has been injured due to the negligence of the medical provider, call a Ft Lauderdale injury lawyer to discuss your possible medical malpractice case.

Law Firm wins Medical Malpractice Case
The Daily Business Review reported the Smalls family sued Dr. Johnathan Lewis and the Ouachita County Medical Center located in Camden, Arkansas for negligence when the baby, Kara, was born. The Smalls stated that due to their daughter’s jaundice not being treated at birth, bilirubin entered her brain which caused permanent damage. Bilirubin is a substance that the body creates when it replaces old red blood cells. When this substance is present at high levels, it causes jaundice. If not treated properly, it can enter other parts of the body causing further damage.

A Piece Of Mind For This Medical Malpractice Victim
On March 9th, a jury in Union County in Arkansas, where the two-week trial was conducted, filed its verdict. “There are several cases where these things are appealed, but the evidence of a ‘live’ toddler makes it very difficult to refute these allegations,” she said. “Florida has several laws as it relates to medical malpractice, but there is no limit on the amount of compensation a medical-malpractice plaintiff can recover for past and future medical care necessitated by the malpractice, lost income, lost future earning capacity, and any other measurable economic losses attributable to the defendant’s malpractice. In the case of someone who is not alive, attorneys usually ask for the judge to lower the amount of the compensation to that of the caps of that state. “There is a joy that the family received justice, but we are hoping that we can stop the harm, and if not, then all can receive justice.”

In The Lead On Caregiver Caused Deaths

A caregiver is a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person. When you think of caregiver, you think of someone who true cares for the person they are caring for and would do anything to make their life easier for them. Unfortunately, not everybody has the same way of thinking and stress can play a big part of crimes committed to those we care for.

Find A Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney
A new study from Ruderman Family Foundation shows results that are guaranteed to make our stomachs squirm. It seems that Florida is in the lead for deaths of seniors and children with disabilities caused by their caregivers. The study showed the one person is killed every week by a caregiver. that statewide, one person with a disability is murdered every week by someone who should be watching out for their well-being. Advocates are the voice for these vulnerable victims that can’t speak up.

Caregiver Abuse
11-year old Janiya Thomas was murdered in Bradenton, FL. Her mother was accused of her murder and stuffed her body in a box in the freezer. “I don’t think a mother in her right mind would do that, I really don’t,” says Diane Dowling, Keishanna Thomas’s aunt. Thomas has been accused of locking the little girl in a bathroom because of digestive problems, then starving, beating, suffocating, and drowning her. Her murder trial is scheduled for August in Manatee County.

Sadly, Janiya’s story does not stand alone There have been several cases of children as well as the elderly being hurt or even killed by who is supposed to be their protector. If you suspect abuse to a minor or elder, call a Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse attorney. The attorneys at The Law Firm are ready to help you with your case. Call today to talk to an experienced attorney.

Wrongful Death suit filed in Collapse of Tent

A wrongful death law suit has been filed when a tent collapsed on a man at an event in Chicago, Illinois, after inclement weather moved in.

The storm approached the event with high winds and the organizers of the Wood Dale Priar Festival directed the attendees to take shelter under a tent which was improperly secured. The victim was 35 years old and was killed when the main pole of the tent fell on him. In addition, 22 others were hurt.

In addition to the company organizing the event, the companies that managed the vent and rented the tent to the festival have also been sued.

In Fort Lauderdale, young party goers were injured when a bounce house on the beach lost its moorings and blew away in gale force winds.

Tents and other temporary structures used for events such as birthday parties have the potential to become unsafe in the event that a storm with high winds and rain moves in. This type of weather change is not uncommon in South Florida. A lot of times, bounce houses and tents are assembled by companies who lease out this equipment and these temporary structures are not properly secured to withstand this. Should this occur, the consequences can be devastating.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at The 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.

Roofing contractor in Vikings Stadium Death had prior safety issues

According to public records, Berwald Roofing Co., the roofing subcontractor involved in a fatal accident at the Minnesota Vikings stadium construction site has received 9 citations for worksite safety violations in the past 5 years.

A roofer working for the Berwald Roofing Company died after he fell of the Minnesota Vikings Stadium which was undergoing roofing work. Previously, Berwald, had received a number of citations for its safety practices, such as failing to to use safety harnesses for workers roofs according to records.

Eugene Berwald of Berwald Roofing, asserted that his company encouraged safe work practices, but that “People do foolish things. They don’t hook up their lanyards,” Berwald. Mr. Berwald was not aware of whether the employee who fell to his death was wearing a safety lanyard.

Roofing Accidents can be Catastrophic

Roofing accidents frequently involve serious injuries when workers fall. It is imperative for roofing contractors to provide their workers with the best safety equipment available. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case and falls from roof tops can be catastrophic.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at The 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.

Our students should be as safe as possible — time for seat belts and harnesses on all school buses.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has pushed for rules requiring all school buses to be equipped with a seat belt and shoulder harnesses similar to what is required to be in our cars.

The big objection to this has come from local school boards who cite the additional costs involved in retrofitting current buses with this equiptment. The projected costs range from $7,000 – $10,000 for each school bus.

These is no objection, however, to the fact that seat belts and harnesses on buses would save lives. NHTSA estimates that seat belts would save a number of student lives and injuries, but only six states require these. One of these states is Florida.

This seems to be an easy decision for school boards nationwide. Notwithstanding the costs, every priority should be given to our students to ensure that their transportation to and from school is as safe as possible. From an economic standpoint, the less injuries and deaths, the less our school boards are responsible for damages. In the final analysis our childrens’ safety comes first — seats belts and harnesses on school buses make sense and should be installed as soon as possible.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at The 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.

2 People die in a motorcyle accident

Two people died while riding on a motorcycle on U.S. 1 and the Sadowski Causeway in the Florida keys.

Like many fatal road accidents, this accident occurred when the driver of a car traveling in the opposite direction of the cyclist made a left turn into the path of the oncoming motorcycle. Frequently, there is absolutely nothing the motorcyclist could have done to prevent these type of accidents. The driver of the car simply does not see the motorcycle ahead.

From an insurance standpoint, motorcyclists can protect themselves by purchasing Uninsured Motorist Coverage (“UM”) on their bikes. If you are so unfortunate as to be in a motorcycle accident, at least there will be insurance coverage for your injuries.

Motorcycle injury lawyers with years of experience
With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale motorcycle injury lawyers at The 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.

Miami Heat dancer’s death involved driver who had been drinking

Miami television news station, Channel 4, reports that the driver of the car that struck a motorcyclist in east Fort Lauderdale which resulted in the death of a Miami Heat dancer stated to police that he had consumed two alcoholic drinks.

Channel 4 was able to access the search warrant filed in Broward County court which stated the driver, Mario Careaga of Fort Lauderdale, advised the police that he had the drinks at the Galeria Mall in Fort Lauderdale. The accident occurred near downtown Fort Lauderdale. So far no criminal charges have been filed against Careaga.

Police records state that Careaga was driving his 2009 Mercedes when he struck Miami Heat dancer, 22, of Plantation, who was riding a motorcycle near downtown Fort Lauderdale. The motorcylist had been heading west in the right lane on East Sunrise Boulevard, near North Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale, when Careaga’s car rear-ended the motorcycle, propelling Lopez-Ruiz off it.

This case raises a number of issues from the standpoint of filing criminal charges against the driver. One of the potential issues in any criminally prosecution which might be pursued against the driver of the automobile is whether he was under the influence of alcohol or a narcotic. Usually, two drinks do not contain enough alcohol to impair a driver’s faculties. However, drivers suspected of DUI frequently understate the amount of alcohol consumed in an attempt to minimize their potential criminal exposure.

In situations like this other evidence may come into play, such as a blood alcohol test or a breathalyzer test to determine whether the level of alcohol in the driver’s blood exceeded the legal limit. There may also be a video of the driver performing roadside tests administered by the police or even a video from the bar where he apparently admits to have been drinking. Likewise his tab at the bar may also reveal how many drinks were ordered.

On the other hand, this could simply be the case of a non-impaired driver who simply wasn’t paying attention and may have negligently rear-ended the victim. It will be the responsibility of the Broward County State Attorney’s office to sort all of this out.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The 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.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage — Supreme Court requires signed rejection from all named insureds

Uninsured/Undersinsured Motorist Coverage, frequently referred to as UM/UIM coverage applies in the event an insured is injured by a motorist who does not have liability coverage, or who who does not have a sufficient amount of liability coverage, to compensate the named insured for the damages sustained. UM/UIM coverage is particularly important in South Florida where a significant portion of the drivers on the road fail to purchase any liability coverage and therefore makes it difficult, if not impossible, to recover from them in the event they are responsible for an accident involving injuries.

Because UM/UIM is considered to be important coverage for Florida drivers, our legislature has mandated that when an insurance carrier initially sells a policy of automobile insurance coverage, it must notify the insured that he has the right to purchase, as an additional option, UM/UIM coverage from the carrier. If the insured elects not to purchase this coverage, a written rejection must be signed. In the event that the carrier fails to obtain this signed rejection, then the carrier will be responsible for UM/UIM coverage even if the insured fails to purchase this coverage.

In this case the insured was not originally named on the policy. Later, the policy was reissued with her as named insured, but a signed rejection was never signed from this person. Following a horrible accident, the insurance company, Horace Mann Ins. Co., denied UM/UIM coverage and a lawsuit ensured. The case was appealed up to the Florida Supreme Court which ruled that because the policy was reissued with an additional named insured, a signed rejection had to be obtained from that person. Since none was obtained, the court found that there was UM/UIM coverage for that person.

One of the lessons to be learned from this case for persons purchasing automobile insurance is that they need to understand what types of insurance coverage they are purchasing from their agent and what they are signing. Florida law only requires that the owner of a car purchase only PIP coverage and property damage. This bare minimum is frequently referred by agents as “full coverage.” In reality this anything but.

Every purchaser of automobile insurance needs to carefully consider purchasing UM/UIM coverage because this may be their only insurance coverage for their injuries in the event that they are involved in an accident. They also should make sure they understand what forms they are signing when an insurance agent hands a paper to them and tells them to sign it — particularly when it is a UM rejection form.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The 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.

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