Noteworthy Cases

Robust Case Preparation from Miami, FL Trial Lawyers

A lean law firm, Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain has a smaller staff than most firms who handle our types of cases. Due to our size, our opponents often underestimate the resources at our disposal. That’s their mistake. Since 1984, our Miami trial attorneys have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements because we rigorously and meticulously prepare every case for trial.

We never hold back any resources for a case if we feel it will strengthen your claim. We use focus groups to find the most effective angle for your case. We employ trial simulations to ensure that our cases are thoroughly ready for battle. Because we limit our caseload to no more than 10 per attorney, we are able to devote more time, money, and thought to each case. As a result, we often walk into the courtroom far more prepared than our opponents—despite their larger size.

Don’t take our word for it—take a look at our most noteworthy cases below.

  • $650 MILLION

    RICO

    RECOVERY FOR INSUREDS AGAINST HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES

    In Re Managed Care

    U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

    We were one of 15 firms on the steering committee of a class action asserting RICO conspiracy and aiding and abetting claims on behalf of some 600,000 doctors against 10 of the largest HMOs in the country and almost 60 Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance companies.

    The practice of medicine is “coded,” meaning the AMA has assigned codes to virtually everything a doctor does. Doctors use those numerical codes to bill insurance companies, and when they become a network provider for a given insurance company or HMO they are paid agreed upon rates for coded services. The HMOs however, developed claims processing programs that manipulated those codes – by bundling them, changing them, even ignoring them – to cheat the doctors by reducing the amounts they had to pay.

    Over a 10-year period, and as a result of countless hours of attorneys’ time, settlements were reached that provided the doctors with billions of dollars in prospective relief and $650,000,000 in cash payments for past billing transgressions.

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  • $15.5 MILLION

    RICO

    DAVID V. GOLIATH SMALL COMPANY AWARDED $15.5 MILLION ARBITRATION AWARD

    Lifecare International, lnc. v. CD Medical, lnc.

    Algeria wanted to make kidney dialysis more available to its population. CD Medical, originally owned jointly by Cordis and Dow Chemical, manufactured kidney dialysis machines and the disposable products needed for each dialysis treatment. Our client, Lifecare International, was CD Medical’s exclusive Middle East distributor. Lifecare secured a contract to provide the Algerian government with more than $10 million in equipment and disposables during the first year of the program.

    CD Medical’s European division decided it wanted the business and approached the Algerian government behind Lifecare’s back, queering the deal for everybody. Witnesses and documents establishing the interference were scattered over three continents, and the parties’ arbitration agreement meant the evidence had to be gathered without formal discovery. Trial by ambush was the rule, which put a premium on trial as opposed to litigating skills. After 20 days of arbitration, the three arbitrator panel awarded Lifecare $15.5 million. The Southern District of Florida confirmed the award and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed.

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  • $15 MILLION

    Birth Injury

    VERDICT FOR PARENTS IN BIRTH INJURY CASE

    Britt v. various doctors

    A $15,000,000 settlement was secured for the benefit of our minor client and his parents after he suffers a birth injury due to medical mistakes by nurses and physicians that resulted in a prolong delay in performing a c-section leading to brain injury and severe cerebral palsy. Settlement reached after 10 years of litigation and multiple appeals.

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  • $15 MILLION

    Truck Accident

    SETTLEMENT FOR WIDOW OF MAN FATALLY STRUCK BY TRUCK

    Hector Rodriguez and Milay Rodriguez vs. Community Asphalt Corp. and Felix Pineiro
    11th Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida

    Hector Rodriguez, age 33, was on his way to work early on the morning of August 1, 2001 when he was struck by a truck owned by Community Asphalt Corp. Mr. Rodriguez sustained very serious head injuries in this accident and subsequently died from those injuries. Just four months after Mr. Rodriguez’s terrible accident, we settled the case we filed on behalf of he and his wife for $15,000,000.

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  • $12 MILLION

    Defective Product

    ALARM SYSTEM FAILS TO FUNCTION AS PROMISED

    Trend Coin, Inc. v. Honeywell, Inc.

    Circuit Court In And For Miami-Dade County, Florida

    Gold wasn’t as dear then as it is now, but when Trend Coin’s alarm system failed to work as advertised burglars made off with almost $8 million in inventory. The alarm contract contained the usual exculpatory clauses, but they did not protect Honeywell against fraud. So the battle was over whether Honeywell had misrepresented the capabilities of the system they sold to our client. They had, and the result was a $12 million jury verdict that included $1 million in punitive damages and $3 million in prejudgment interest.

    Liability, including for punitive damages, was affirmed on appeal and certiorari, and in the process the old liquidated damage rule for prejudgment interest was thrown out. Honeywell did manage to get a new trial on damages, but upon reflection the prospect was less than appealing and Honeywell settled for $12.3 million – more than the original verdict.

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  • $11 MILLION

    Personal Injury

    HOTEL PAYS $11 MILLION FOR ORDERING DRUNK EMPLOYEE OFF PREMISES AND TO DRIVE HOME ON MOTORCYCLE

    It was 4:30 am and nearly closing time when our 26 year old client started the process of “cashing out” his bar and restaurant receipts for the night. As usual, he took the receipts to the office where he would be paid for the night’s work but his manager knew immediately that he was drunk. Our client had been drinking on company time. After paying him, his supervisor told him to stay put and not leave. He needed time to sober up. Our client agreed. A few minutes later, however, a more senior supervisor saw that he was drunk and ordered him off the property and told him to go home knowing he would have to ride his motorcycle to get home. Not wanting to lose his job and concerned about supporting his wife and two young children our client complied. At about 5 am and much too drunk to drive, our client mounted his motorcycle and took off. Two minutes later he crashed and sustained a horrible brain injury despite the fact that he had his helmet on. As a result of the accident, he was immediately rendered an incomplete quadriplegic. We filed suit against the hotel for negligently ordering a drunk employee to drive drunk and for violating its own written policy that drunk employees “must not” be permitted to drive. During the discovery process the hotel settled the case for $11,000,000.

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  • $10.55 MILLION

    RICO

    VERDICT FOR PARENTS OF QUADRIPLEGIC SONS WHEN INSURANCE WON’T PAY

    Robert Weiner, Margaret Weiner, Mark Weiner and Robert Weiner, individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Steven Weiner, v. Blue Cross of Maryland, Inc., Blue Shield of Maryland, Inc., and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, Inc.
    17th Circuit, Broward County, Florida

    Mr. and Mrs. Weiner had purchased major medical health insurance for themselves and their two sons. The terms of the coverage, including a description of who was covered, was explained to them in this booklet from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland. Tragically, both sons of Mr. and Mrs. Weiner were rendered quadriplegic in the same year and not long thereafter Blue Cross/Blue Shield cut off their coverage and stopped paying for their home nursing care.

    As a result, Mr. and Mrs. Weiner had to try to keep their small business going and take care of their sons at the same time. It was a nightmare that was more than anyone could be expected to handle. At the family’s request we filed a lawsuit seeking damages for fraud and breach of contract. After years of very contentious litigation, after more than 100 depositions and after a one month jury trial, the jury returned a verdict for the family of $7,000,000. But the battle did not stop there.

    Following the verdict, Blue Cross/Blue Shield fought the case through appeals and collateral attacks in state and federal courts in several states. Although we won at every level, they still refused to pay. To collect the money that was owed the family we went to the extraordinary length of seizing the bank account of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maryland which then led to more collateral attacks on our verdict, this time in the state and federal courts of Maryland. By the time it was all over, the case had gone on for seven years, was in and out of 10 courts and required us to review thousands of documents. With interest, we eventually collected $10,550,000 for the family and they live comfortably today on the money we recovered for them. Sadly, one of their two sons passed away before the case was finally resolved.

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  • $10 MILLION

    RICO

    RECOVERY FOR OWNERS OF COMPANY DEFRAUDED IN SALE OF BUSINESS

    Holman et. al. v. Ocwen Financial Corp. and William Erbey

    Arbitration in Palm Beach County, FL

    When the owners of Admiral Mortgage Company – a California mortgage brokerage firm – found themselves embroiled in a dispute arising from the sale of their business we were hired to represent them. Working with lawyers from California and Miami, we filed an arbitration claim in Florida against Ocwen Financial Corp., a large publically traded, Florida-based company that had contracted to purchase the assets of Admiral.

    The arbitration claim was filed against Ocwen and William Erbey, the company’s CEO, and proceeded under the rules of the American Arbitration Association. Three arbitrators would decide the case – there would be no jury – but the arbitrators’ decision would be reduced to a final judgment from the court just like a verdict in a jury or non-jury trial.

    This was a hard fought dispute. Ocwen and Erbey hired a large, well respected law firm to defend them and they left no stone unturned in mounting their defense. Massive discovery followed, including many depositions throughout the country, and preparation for the arbitration proceeding was intense.

    After a two-week arbitration proceeding in which many witnesses were called to testify, the arbitrators found that the owners of Admiral had been defrauded out of their business and an award of $10,352,244 was entered. Following the award, Ocwen and Erbey attempted to attack the result in federal court but were unsuccessful. The owners of Admiral ultimately collected the full amount of the award.

    It was a complete vindication for our clients and they were very pleased with the results.

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  • $8 MILLION

    Cruise Ship Injury

    RECOVERY FOR SEAMAN’S FAMILY IN CRUISE SHIP INJURY

    Indonesian seaman suffers catastrophic brain injury after fall while working aboard a cruise ship leaving him in a vegetative state requiring around the clock care. Our firm took this case over from other counsel and secured an $8,000,000 settlement providing the funds necessary to care for him and his family for the rest of their lives.

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  • $8 MILLION

    Medical Malpractice

    Verdict for Elderly Medical Malpractice Victim

    Graciela Gomez McCallum v. Jose L. Marquez, M.D., Tenet Florida Physician Services, LLC, Peter V. Garcia, M.D. and Peter V. Garcia, M.D., PA

    Miami-Dade County (Florida) Circuit Court Case No. 2015-027176 CA-08

    Trial Judge: Circuit Judge Jacqueline Scola

    Graciela McCallum is a 77-year-old woman who was diagnosed with significant heart problems, including atrial fibrillation. In 2008, she had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted.

    In October 2013, she suffered a stroke that left her without use of the left side of her body. Plaintiff sued her electrophysiologist (a cardiologist specializing in rhythms of the heart) and general cardiologist alleging they negligently discontinued a blood thinner called Coumadin that had been prescribed to prevent the formation of clots and possible strokes, both of which were known risks of atrial fibrillation. The defense contended that it was appropriate to stop Coumadin because of an increased risk of bleeding and the improvement in her overall heart functioning. The defense also argued that 33% of patients on Coumadin suffer strokes and Plaintiff could not prove that her stroke resulted from the discontinuance of the blood thinner as opposed to the other medical conditions which the Plaintiff had that also carried the risk of stroke. In addition, the defense contended that the damages should be significantly reduced because of the Plaintiff’s age and very limited life expectancy as a result of the pre-existing heart conditions and the stroke.

    The jury awarded approximately $8,000,000, of which $6,250,000 was for pain and suffering and the other elements of general damage and $1,750,000 for the economic damages.

    AAJ members Gary D. Fox, Stephen F. Cain and Michael E. Levine all of Miami, Florida represented the Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s expert witnesses included Harvey Klein, M.D., hematologist from Bethesda, Maryland, Susan McKenzie, life care planner from West Palm Beach, Florida and Fredrick Raffa, Ph.D., economist from Orlando, Florida.

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  • $6.8 MILLION

    Wrongful Death

    Our Role in the Terri Schiavo Case

    In "Terri," the 2006 book by Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, an account of the trial preparation by Gary Fox of our firm and his co-counsel Glenn Woodworth, and their examination of witnesses in the trial itself appears on pages 52 - 75. Much of it comes directly from the trial transcripts and is worth reading. It sheds much more light on what actually happened to Terri before she became a world-wide symbol for who controls the "right to die" and much of it has never been in any media account until now.

    For several years, the case of Terri Schiavo received international publicity. Terri was the 41-year-old woman who was severely brain damaged and in a coma in Clearwater, Florida. A battle raged for many years between her husband, Michael Schiavo, and her parents. The battle concerned whether to disconnect Terri’s life support systems and permit her to die.

    Many courts ruled that, for a variety of reasons, Terri’s husband had a right to order that life support systems be disconnected because that was her wish. The parents disagreed and many appeals through the courts followed.

    Florida Governor Jeb Bush passed a law through the Florida legislature entitled “ Terri’s law”, the effect of which was to prohibit anyone from disconnecting life support. The Florida Supreme Court subsequently ruled that Terri’s law was unconstitutional and her feeding tubes were disconnected in March 2005. She died on March 31, 2005.

    Many observers believe that at the center of the dispute is the money that is in Terri’s guardianship that was used to support her for so many years. What has not been widely publicized is the source of those funds. Gary Fox represented Terri Schiavo in a medical malpractice case in Clearwater, Florida. It turns out that Terri had an eating disorder known as bulimia which was not, according to the case, timely diagnosed and treated, as a result of which Terri vomited once too often, her electrolytes went out of balance, she suffered a heart attack. By the time the paramedics arrived had sustained permanent brain damage. The lawsuit was brought against her physicians based upon their failure to timely diagnose and treat Terri’s condition.

    The case went to jury trial in St. Clearwater, Florida on November 10, 1992. The jury returned a verdict of $6,880,271 and found Terri 70% responsible for her condition. The net proceeds went into Terri’s guardianship and have been used to sustain her since.

    Gary was asked to write an article on the Terri Schiavo matter by the St. Petersburg Times. A link to that article can be found at this link.

    In February 2005, Gary was interviewed about the Schiavo case on Fox News’ Greta Van Sustern show.

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  • $6.75 MILLION

    Medical Malpractice

    RECOVERY FOR YOUNG WOMAN INJURED BY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

    Laura Broder was a young woman who went to Jackson Memorial Hospital for treatment of a congenital heart problem. She had a problem that was easily correctable and was expected to be released from the hospital in 24 hours. Unfortunately, her doctors did not give her enough blood thinner medication. As a result, blood clots formed in her arteries and traveled to her brain causing a massive stroke which has left her significantly disabled. This was another totally avoidable and tragic medical mistake. This case just settled on the morning the trial was to beginfor $6,750,000.

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  • $4.05 MILLION

    Defective Product

    LARGEST SIDE AIRBAG VERDICT IN COUNTRY

    Elwood I. Kaplan and Norma Kaplan, his wife vs. Daimler Chrysler, A.G. f/k/a Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft and Mercedes-Benz U.S.A., Inc. f/k/a Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc.

    On November 16, 1998, Elwood Kaplan, a 75-year-old retiree living in Naples, Florida, was driving his 1999 S420 Mercedes when a Dodge Durango struck the Mercedes on the driver’s door at approximately 25 miles per hour. Although the Mercedes was equipped with a driver’s door airbag, the airbag failed to deploy. As a result, Mr. Kaplan’s left arm was forced outside the broken driver’s door window during the impact and was torn off just below the shoulder by the intruding Durango.

    Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan were referred to us by other lawyers who were familiar with our prior cases against automobile manufacturers. After carefully inspecting the Kaplan vehicle with the assistance of investigators and expert witnesses we determined that the airbag should have deployed in this accident. We initially filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan against the driver of the Dodge Durango and the Kaplan’s uninsured motorist carrier. During the trial of that case a settlement was reached for $1,800,000. Thereafter we filed a second lawsuit, this time against Mercedes, claiming that had the airbag deployed it would have kept Mr. Kaplan’s arm inside the car and he would have suffered no serious injury in the accident.

    Mercedes defended vigorously. Mercedes argued that the airbag was not designed to deploy in this accident because the Mercedes did not get hit hard enough by the Durango and, even it if had, it would not have kept Mr. Kaplan’s arm inside the car.

    During pre-trial discovery we learned that the Kaplan Mercedes was equipped with a “black box” which recorded accident-related data. Despite continuous efforts and legal battles, however, we were never able to access the data. Incredibly, the Mercedes defendants claimed that they had no ability to print out the data and the case therefore went to trial without the benefit of that data. Accident reconstruction experts for both sides rendered opinions in the case without knowing what was in the black box.

    The Kaplans initially offered to settle with Mercedes for a new car. When the Defendants refused, the Kaplans filed suit in October, 1999. Mercedes’ only settlement offer prior to trial was an offer of judgment for $200. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict for $2,250,000. The jury specifically found that the side airbag system in the Kaplan’s brand new car was defective and that the airbag should have deployed in this accident. When added to the original settlement of $1,800,000 with the driver of the Durango and the Kaplan’s uninsured motorist carrier the Kaplan’s total recovery was $4,050,000. This was the first successful verdict in the country against Mercedes involving a side airbag in one of their vehicles. Mercedes appealed and the appellate court affirmed the verdict. Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan subsequently collected the full amount of the jury’s award.

    The Kaplans were so pleased with the outcome of the trial that they took the extraordinary step of spending $7,000 of their own money to place a full page “Thank You” ad in the Fort Myers, Florida newspaper where the case was tried. It is the only case we have ever heard of where a client has done that.

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  • $3.5 MILLION

    RICO

    COURT ORDERS $3.5 MILLION TAX REFUND AFTER TRIAL AGAINST I.R.S.

    G.I.C. Corporation, Inc. v. United States of America

    U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and affirmed on appeal by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

    When the owner of GIC Corp. approached us about suing the U.S. Government for a tax refund that turned on the allowance of a $7.2 million capital loss, the first thing we told him was that we were not tax lawyers. He knew. He wanted trial lawyers, not tax lawyers. We could learn a little tax.

    He was right. The issues at trial were framed by a confluence of tax, divorce, contract and corporate law, but at bottom it was a trial, and when it was over the district judge awarded GIC a $3.5 million refund. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed.

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  • $2.5 MILLION

    Medical Malpractice

    QUADRIPLEGIC SUFFERS POOR NURSING CARE LEAVING HIM BLIND AND BRAIN DAMAGED

    Brenda Boze and Anthony Boze individually and as the parents and natural guardians of David Boze, a minor vs. Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Cycle Springs, Inc. Boze v. Universal Pediatric Nursing
    13th Circuit, Hillsborough County, Florida

    David Boze was 16 years old when he and his friends were taking turns riding a Yamaha ATV similar to this one. While riding across a grass field, the right front tire of the ATV struck a log that was hidden by the grass and David Boze was thrown from the ATV. He landed on his neck and was instantly rendered quadriplegic. We filed a lawsuit against Yamaha claiming that the ATV was unsafe and inherently unstable. The case settled prior to trial for $3,757,000.

    Several years later, while being cared for at home by around the clock private duty nurses, a problem developed with David’s breathing and he was not getting adequate oxygen. The nurse assigned to care for him, however, was poorly trained and she did not know how to properly respond to this serious emergency. The nurse never hooked up the supplemental oxygen canister that was at David’s bedside just for such emergencies, never used the available ambu bag and never called ‘911.’ By the time help finally arrived, David was blue and had lapsed into a coma. It was nearly a month before he emerged from the coma but David was left with permanent brain damage and loss of vision.

    The nursing company was insured at the time with a $1,000,000 liability policy. The insurer, however, failed to offer the $1,000,000 to settle the case in a timely manner and subsequently agreed to pay $2,500,000 ($1,500,000 over and above the policy limits) to settle the case.

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  • $2,370,000

    Slip & Fall

    CHRIS-CRAFT CRUISER DESIGN LEAVES MAN UNPROTECTED IN FALL AND RENDERED PARAPLEGIC

    James White vs. Chris-Craft Corporation, Murray Chris Craft Cruisers, Blue Lagoon of Pompano

    15th Circuit, Palm Beach County, Florida

    After a day of fishing, Jim White, his family and friends returned to the dock in Broward County, Florida aboard their Chris Craft pleasure cruiser. The boat was unloaded and Jim grabbed this brush to wash the boat down before heading home. While cleaning an area on the fly bridge that had no protective railing around it, Jim slipped on the soapy, wet fiberglass, fell to the lower deck and broke his back. He was instantly rendered a paraplegic. Chris-Craft knew that the unprotected area would have to be accessed for cleaning yet they neither provided a non-skid surface nor a protective railing. During the course of pre-trial discovery Chris-Craft voluntarily settled the case for $2,370,000.

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  • $2.1 MILLION

    Medical Malpractice

    OVERLOOKED TUMOR LEADS TO MAN’S PREVENTABLE DEATH

    Doe*, Plaintiff vs. SMITH*, Defendant
    13th Circuit, Hillsborough County, Florida

    The plaintiff, age 36, presented to Tampa General Hospital for evaluation of a lesion in the proximal femur of his left hip in November, 1995. Dr. Art Walling, an orthopedic oncologist, scheduled plaintiff for a biopsy. The biopsy was sent to the Pathology Department at Tampa General Hospital where the defendant pathologists read the biopsy as normal. Due to the normal reading, Dr. Walling evacuated the lesion, packed the area with bone graft material and then inserted orthopedic hardware, including orthopedic plates and screws to stabilize the femur.

    Over the ensuing 14 months, plaintiff’s lesion did not heal. He had 14 subsequent surgeries, including 12 debridement procedures for suspected infection. The orthopedic hardware was eventually removed and a muscle flap procedure was performed. In November, 1996, plaintiff had a second biopsy of the same site. iopsy slides were then sent to M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas and to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Alberto Ayala at M.D. Anderson and Dr. Suzanne Spanier at Shands both interpreted the 1996 biopsy slides as angiosarcoma, a malignant vascular tumor in plaintiff’s femur. Plaintiff immediately underwent an amputation of his leg and hip.

    After making the cancer diagnosis, Dr. Ayala and Dr. Spanier requested re-cut slides from the November, 1995 biopsy. The defendant pathologist, having received word that her patient was diagnosed with a malignant vascular tumor and that pathologists at M.D. Anderson and Shands were requesting re-cuts of the tissue that she diagnosed as normal, instructed histotechnicians at the Tampa General Hospital laboratory to destroy portions of plaintiff’s pathology specimen and to make re-cuts from only selected portions of the 1995 tissue. The “new”re-cuts were sent to M.D. Anderson and Shands and, despite the selected presentation, both institutions diagnosed the 1995 tissue as cancerous.

    Plaintiff, having lost his leg and hip, required chemotherapy and follow up treatment. The cancer, however, metastasized to his lungs and he died in September, 1997. His wife continued the case as a wrongful death action.

    In March, 1998, during the deposition of a histotechnician at Tampa General Hospital, we learned for the first time of the defendant pathologist’s cover up and further discovered that the histotechnician who had been ordered by the defendant to destroy certain tissue had actually saved the tissue in a plastic bag in his desk drawer. The histotechnician produced the bag and the tissue specimen at the deposition. The tissue was then sent to an independent pathology lab and slides were made. Plaintiff’s expert, Steven Hajdu, M.D., reviewed the slides and determined that the removed tissue contained the most prolific and obvious example of a malignant vascular tumor. According to Dr. Hajdu, the 1995 biopsy, which was the one misdiagnosed by the defendant pathologist, revealed a low grade, treatable malignant vascular tumor in plaintiff’s proximal femur. At that time the tumor had an excellent prognosis, the plaintiff would have not needed any amputation, and the probabilities were that, with proper treatment, the plaintiff would have survived.

    Dr. Ayala at M.D. Anderson testified that the defendant pathologist deviated from the standard of care.

    The plaintiff was a custom home builder in Florida before his death. His annual earnings at the time of his death were approximately $40,000.

    The present value of the lost earnings and support claim was $900,000. He had no children.

    Settlement: $2,100,000

    * We are not permitted to disclose the actual names of the parties pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement.

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  • $2 MILLION

    Defective Product

    CHRYSLER VAN SEAT FAILS IN FATAL AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT

    Allynne L. Baird, Executrix of the Estate of George N. Baird vs. Chrysler Corporation, a foreign corporation

    Circuit Court of Prince William County, Virginia

    Baird v. Chrysler – In a case remarkably similar to the Pappas case, Mr. Baird was driving home after work on the Washington, D.C. beltway in his 1987 Plymouth Voyager when he was struck from behind by a pickup truck. Mr. Baird, a computer expert with a Washington area company, lost control of the van, careened across the highway flat on his back after his driver’s seat collapsed, and was struck by a tractor-trailer and killed. The seat design defect in this case was similar to the one in the Pappas case. fter nearly two years of pretrial discovery, Chrysler voluntarily settled this case three days before the trial was to begin for $2,000,000. The case was set to be tried in Virginia and the settlement was one of the largest in Virginia at the time it was settled.

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  • Confidential Case

    Defective Product

    JURY RETURNS SUBSTANTIAL VERDICT FOR MAN WITH NEUROLOGICAL DISORDER FROM TAMPERED SUPPLEMENT

    Aaron and Rickie Taylor vs. Showa Denko Co., et al.
    11th Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida

    Our client thought he would improve his health by taking L-Tryptophan, an amino acid supplement sold in health food stores. What he did not know, however, was that the L-Tryptophan sold to him in this bottle had been contaminated at the factory in Japan. As a result, instead of improving his health, our client got very sick with a neurological disorder. By agreement with the attorneys for the L-Tryptophan manufacturer we tried this case to an arbitration panel who, at the conclusion of the trial, returned a substantial verdict for our client.

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  • Ongoing Case

    Defective Product

    AIRBAGS FAIL TO DEPLOY IN 2014 MERCEDES BENZ ROLLOVER; 18 YEAR OLD DIES

    We have been hired by the parents of an 18 year old high school senior who was just days away from graduation. As her father was driving her home from a graduation related ceremony in their 2014 C class Mercedes, and while still dressed in her graduation cap and gown, the car went off the road, struck some trees and rolled over. The daughter, who was sitting in the front passenger seat and was wearing her seatbelt as she should have been, received horrific injuries that resulted in her immediate death. Despite the fact that the car was equipped with a side curtain airbag intended to deploy in a rollover, the bag did not deploy nor did any of the other airbags in the car. We have launched an investigation to find out why and expect to be filing a lawsuit against Mercedes in North Carolina where the accident happened once our investigation is completed. We were hired in this case because of our prior experience suing Mercedes in similar circumstances. A complete write-up of our work in Kaplan v. Mercedes can be found on this website.

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  • Confidential Case

    Sexual Assault

    SETTLEMENT AWARDED WOMAN ASSAULTED AT MOTEL WITH INADEQUATE SECURITY

    Jane Doe vs. The Royal Biscayne Venture, The Continental Companies, Sheraton Inns, Inc. and The Sheraton Corporation
    11th Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida

    Confidential Settlement for 20-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted at Key Biscayne motel. Incident occurred due to inadequate security and faulty lock on sliding glass door.

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  • Confidential Case

    Defective Product

    TOYOTA SETTLES FAULTY SEAT CASE THAT RENDERED WOMAN QUADRIPLEGIC

    Willie Mae Charles, Phito Charles and Latasha Charles v. Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
    U.S. District Court, Southern District, Florida

    Willie Mae Charles was employed as an attendant for elderly clients who needed help with the activities of daily living. One her way to work one day she was driving a 1987 Toyota Corolla when she was struck from behind by another vehicle. On impact Mrs. Charless’ seat collapsed backward and Mrs. Charles struck her head on the back of the backseat. She was instantly rendered a quadriplegic. We were hired to see if we could help her and we immediately went to work to find out why her seat failed in this accident.

    After extensive investigation we discovered two things: (1) the seat was poorly designed, and (2) Toyota knew that the seat would fail in rear impact collisions. Shortly after we filed suit, Toyota voluntarily settled the case for an amount that they insisted remain confidential.

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  • Confidential Case

    Defective Product

    TOYOTA SETTLES IN CASE OF FAULTY SEAT CAUSING WOMEN TO BE RENDERED QUADRIPLEGIC

    Rose Deborah Kennedy v. Toyota Motor Corporation; Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC and Bennett J. Woodruff
    10th Circuit, Polk County, Florida

    Deborah Kennedy was driving her 1987 Toyota Corolla in Mulberry, Florida when she was struck from behind by another driver. As in the Charles case, Deborah’s driver’s seat collapsed backward and she too struck her head on the back of the backseat. Just like Mrs. Charles, Deborah was immediately rendered quadriplegic. Deborah’s driver’s seat did not need to fail in this accident and had it been designed differently, it would not have. The flimsy design, however, caused Deborah to experience an injury way out of proportion to the impact. Her quadriplegia was totally unnecessary. Toyota voluntarily agreed to settle this case for an amount that they insisted remain confidential.

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  • Confidential Case

    Defective Product

    DAUGHTER RECOVERS FOR MOTHER’S DEATH IN MOBILITY SCOOTER SEAT COLLAPSE

    Carolyn Sorenson, age 62, was born with a disease that impaired her muscles and her ability to walk. Despite the challenges, however, she was able to work and live independently in her own apartment in St. Petersburg, FL.

    In order to ambulate, Carolyn used a Drive Daytona GT3 mobility scooter similar to this one:

    The scooter was manufactured by Wu Tech Co. Ltd. located in Taiwan and imported into the United States by Medical Depot, Inc. in New York.

    On December 6, 2009 Carolyn rode her scooter from her apartment to the trash room of her building to throw out her garbage. She stopped alongside the dumpster and before she could lift up the bag of trash, her seat broke and she fell backwards. The following is a photograph of Carolyn’s scooter after the seat broke:

    Carolyn’s disability precluded her from pulling herself up. Six hours later she was found by a neighbor still sitting in her scooter seat but collapsed backward like a rag doll. She was dead from “positional asphyxia,” an inability to breathe caused by the contorted position of her trachea.

    We were hired by Carolyn’s 42 year old daughter who was incensed that her mother died so needlessly. We immediately launched an investigation and were shocked by what we learned. With the help of top experts we learned that the seat on the Daytona scooter was made of cheap, recycled plastic and was not strong enough to support its advertised weight limit. The seat had never been properly tested by the Taiwanese manufacturer or the U.S. importer, was not subject to any form of government regulation and was destined to fail. Our investigation included the purchase of an identical scooter and having the seat tested at a well respected testing facility at the University of Pittsburgh. Incredibly, the seat on our test scooter failed in the exact same location as Carolyn Sorenson’s seat; the failures in both seats were indistinguishable.

    We have serious concerns about the safety of these plastic scooter seats and have reported the matter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and to the FDA.

    On March 31, 2011 the Defendants agreed to settle this case for an amount which it insisted remain confidential.

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  • $14.5 MILLION

    Pedestrian Accident

    INSURANCE COMPANY PAYS $14.5 MILLION IN CASE OF CAR HITTING PEDESTRIAN

    Severely brain injured client recovers $14,500,000 after being struck by a car while walking on the sidewalk. This settlement was paid entirely by the car owner’s insurance companies even though it far exceeded the insurance available due to the insurance companies’ failure to timely offer to settle the case.

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  • Confidential Case

    Defective Product

    FAULTY SEAT COLLAPSES IN CHRYSLER VAN CAUSING DEBILITATING INJURY

    Brian J. Pappas and Sharon A. Pappas, individually, et al. vs. Chrysler Corporation, a foreign corporation, Alamo Rent-A-Car, Inc., a Florida corporation
    17th Circuit, Broward County, Florida

    Pappas v. Chrysler – Brian Pappas was driving with his wife and three girls in the family’s 1987 Plymouth Voyager when he was struck from behind by another vehicle at a low speed. The seemingly innocuous rear impact, however, caused the driver’s seat that Brian was sitting in to collapse backwards and Brian went with it. In the blink of an eye, before the Plymouth Voyager came to a stop, Brian found himself with his head in the back seat, his hands off the steering wheel and staring straight at the roof. Despite the low speed impact Brian received a debilitating back injury. An analysis of the driver’s seat in the 1987 Plymouth Voyager revealed that it was poorly designed and incapable of remaining upright in most rear impact collisions. This “hockey stick” like component was used by Chrysler to attach just one side of the seatback to the seat bottom thereby transmitting all of the forces of the accident onto just one side of the seat frame. Because of how this component was attached, it was a seat failure just waiting to happen.

    Making matters even worse for Chrysler, our pretrial investigation uncovered a Plymouth Voyager test video of the vehicle getting struck in a rear impact collision and the driver’s seat collapsed backward in the blink of an eye. Chrysler knew the seat exposed drivers of their vehicles to unnecessary risks of harm in rear impact collisions but did nothing to fix the problem. Several months before trial, Chrysler voluntarily settled this case for an amount that they insisted remain confidential.

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  • Confidential Case

    Defective Product

    FAULTY TIRE CASES WITH DEADLY CONSEQUENCES SETTLED BY FIRESTONE, FORD

    Clinton C. Hale vs. The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, a foreign corporation, Exxon Corporation, a foreign corporation and M&H Enterprises, Inc. of Miami
    11th Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida

    Clinton Hale was in the United States Air Force stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola, Florida. On the day of the accident he was driving his convertible sports car when the tread on the left rear Firestone tire came off, whipped out of the wheel well and struck him in the face. Mr. Hale then lost control of his car causing it to go off the road and roll over. As the result of the roll over, our client broke his back and was paralyzed from the waist down. On his behalf we filed suit against Firestone claiming that the tread came off the tire due to defects in design and manufacture. After a year of litigation, Firestone voluntarily settled the case and insisted that the amount be kept confidential. Since then, our firm has successfully represented others in lawsuits against Firestone.

    Eileen McGovern, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Kevin Martin, deceased and Eileen McGovern, as mother and natural guardian of Brian McGovern, a minor vs. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., a foreign corporation and Morgan Tire & Auto, Inc. d/b/a Olson Tire/Total Car Care, a Florida corporation
    20th Circuit, Lee County, Florida

    Bryan McGovern, 13 years old, was a passenger in his family’s Ford Explorer when the tread on the Firestone “Wilderness” AT tire came off. Kevin Martin, Bryan’s step-father, was unable to control the vehicle due to the tire failure and the Explorer swerved into the guardrail and down an embankment. Mr. Martin was killed in the accident and Bryan received a head injury. It was a case remarkably similar to Hale v. Firestone that we had worked on over 10 years earlier. Shortly after this case was filed, both Ford and Firestone settled the case. The amount of the settlements is confidential.

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  • $6.5 MILLION

    Defective Product

    IMPROPERLY BOLTED CHRIS-CRAFT CLEATS CAUSE ACCIDENTS LEADING TO BLINDNESS AND BRAIN DAMAGE

    Mark E. Tietig vs. Chris-Craft Corporation and Canadian Univeral Insurance Company, Unlimited, insurers
    11th Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida

    Mark Tietig was a college student at Florida International University when he participated in a school-sponsored sailing trip from Miami to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, the engine on the sailboat broke down not far from Bimini and Tietig’s group hailed a passing motorboat for a tow. The boat that offered to help was a wooden Chris-Craft and a tow line was secured from the sailboat to one of the stern cleats of the Chris-Craft. During the course of the tow, the stern cleat that the tow line was attached to ripped out and shot back to the sailboat at over 100 mph. The cleat struck Mark Tietig between the eyes instantly blinding him. After a two-week trial, the jury found that the Chris-Craft was defective because the stern cleat was improperly attached to the deck. The jury returned a verdict for $7,500,000 reduced by 25% due to comparative negligence.

    Lorraine McCann and John D. McCann, III, her husband vs. Murray Chris Craft Cruisers, Inc. f/k/a Chris Craft Corporation, Certain Underwriters at Lloyds of London, insurers and Canadian Universal Insurance Company, Unlimited insurers
    11th Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida

    Tragedy struck the McCann family of New York in a case remarkably similar to the Tietig case. While heading up the Hudson River on the family’s Bluewater yacht, Mr. McCann saw a wooden Chris Craft that was stuck on a sandbar. Like so many Good Samaritans, Mr. McCann offered to tow him off. A tow line was secured from the McCann vessel to the stern cleat of the Chris Craft. And, as power was applied, tragedy struck. As in the Tietig case, the stern cleat of the Chris-Craft ripped from the deck and shot back to the McCanns on a nylon tow line. This time, the cleat struck Mr. McCann’s 10-year-old son in the head causing permanent brain damage. Discovery revealed that, just as in the Tietig case, the stern cleat of the Chris-Craft was not bolted through the deck but was attached only with small screws. There was no possibility that the cleats could withstand the rigors of foreseeable acts of towing. Shortly after the case was filed, Chris-Craft voluntarily settled the case for $6.5 million.

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