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Florida Verdicts and Settlements

 

    Please find below a sample of verdicts and settlements obtained by Phares Heindl. These results are reported as an example of the cases handled by the firm and not as an indication of the value of your case or to provide an indication of results that can be expected in your case.

   

    There are too many factors involved to be able to predict the outcome of any case. Results cannot be guaranteed in any case. Thank you for visiting. Please check back often as this list is expanded and new results are posted.

 

37-year-old man injured on construction site, Jury Awards $589,685

 

A 37-year-old male fell from some scaffolding while on the job at a construction site in Brevard County, Florida. The fall was due to the lack of safety rails, cross braces and proper planking on the scaffolding. The Defendant contractor argued that there was not negligence on their part and that the Plaintiff was under the influence of marijuana and amphetamines as well as intoxicated. The Plaintiff argued that because of the laceration in the liver the findings of amphetamines in his blood system were inaccurate.

 

 The jury awarded the Plaintiff $337,000 pain and suffering, $18,600 past medical expenses, $37,125 past lost wages, $174,460 future lost wages and $22,500 to the Plaintiff’s wife for loss of consortium. The verdict was reduced to reflect the juries finding of comparative negligence on the Plaintiff. The top offer of the Defendant was $40,000.00 and the offer was withdrawn at the time of trial. The Plaintiff was awarded attorney's fee because the net verdict was well in excess of the Plaintiff's proposal for settlement.

 

The case survived an aggressive appeal and the Plaintiff was awarded attorney's fees for the appeal.

 

 

14 Year Old Girl, Hit by a School Bus, Jury Awards $266,111

 

Tocarra Peters was hit by a school in Seminole County, Florida after she exited the bus attempting to get home from school. The bus driver backed up over her left foot causing lacerations and  torn ligaments resulting in  permanent scaring. The Plaintiff contended that the bus driver violated its written policy that prohibits a school bus driver from backing up after discharging students.

 

 The Jury awarded  $150,000  for pain and suffering, $91,111 to cover all medical bills past and future and  $25,000 dollars for other compensatory damages. The jury felt the defendant driver was negligent and failed to use the proper safety measures to protect the young students in his care.

 

The defendant admitted liability at trial. The Defendant's best offer before trial was $40,000.00.

 

From the Orlando Sentinel:

 

(Copyright 2000 by The Orlando Sentinel)

 

SANFORD - A 17-year-old girl whose foot was run over by a school bus will get $100,000 from the School Board. A jury this week awarded Tocara Peters $250,000, but by law, judgments against local governments are capped at $100,000. The girl's mother, Deborah Moore, was awarded an additional $16,000 to cover medical bills. Tocara was injured Sept. 6, 1996, on her way home from Crooms Academy. She had just stepped off the bus. She suffered abrasions and lacerations but no broken bones.

 

 

60-year-old woman suffered back injuries due to an minimal impact auto accident, Jury Awards $208,933

 

Ms. Luleen Fizet suffered a 3mm bulging disc at L3-4, a 4mm bulging disc at L4-5, severe cervical pain, dorsal and lower lumbar pain and chronic degenerative disc disease after being struck from the rear in an automobile accident in 1991.  The Plaintiff brought suit against State Farm Insurance Company for underinsured motorist benefits. The jury awarded  Ms. Fizet $175,433 for past medical bills, $3,500 for past lost wages and $30,000 for future lost wages bringing the total recovery to $208,933. There was minimal damage to the Plaintiff's vehicle, the property damage estimate was less that $500. The Defendant only made a nominal  offer to settle before trial

 

 

Dog bite - woman attacked by Pit Bulls suffered permanent scarring, verdict in Osceola County, Florida in 1986, Jury Awards $110,000.00

From the Orlando Sentinel

 

(Copyright 1986 by The Orlando Sentinel)

 

A jury has awarded an Orlando woman $110,000 stemming from a 1985 attack by three pit bull dogs. Osceola Circuit Court jurors deliberated two hours Tuesday night before finding the dogs' owners, Helen Beatty and her mother, Opal, liable in the attack on Barbara List. List, now 28, had an appointment to style one of the women's hair on April 29, 1985, and as she walked through a gate toward the Beattys' Kissimmee home the dogs approached her, growling. List said she waved her arms to try to scare them off but the dogs bit her legs, ankles, arms and head. Her attorney, Pharis(sic) Heindl, said the injuries required List to be hospitalized and out for eight weeks of work. Her medical expenses were about $8,000, he said.

 

 

A bench trial in Seminole County, Florida resulted in a verdict of three million ( $3,000,000.00 ) dollars for parental pain and suffering in a wrongful death case

 

 

A young woman was killed and her body left inside her vehicle in the parking lot of the Altamonte Mall. A civil suit in 1990  brought before a Seminole County Circuit Judge resulted in a verdict of three million dollars for the pain suffering and mental anguish of her parents.

 

 

Settlement  for Sick Building Syndrome  and Toxic Mold Case in Seminole County, Florida

 

A young lady working in commercial building in Altamonte Springs, Florida became ill as a result of sick building syndrome. The Heindl law firm undertook her representation. Initially, a workers compensation claim was filed. The causal connection  between her asthma, rhinitis and mold allergy had denied by her employer and their insurance carrier. Testing of the premises revealed several species of toxic mold. An indoor air assessment revealed that air flow in the building did not comply with  ASHRAE standards. In addition, storm damage was not properly repaired resulting in water leaks and toxic mold. Litigation ensued and a settlement was reached in her workers compensation case.  The Heindl Law Firm then filed a third party suit against the building owner for damages. Litigation ensued against the building owner, HVAC contractor and the architects. An settlement was obtained prior to trial.

 

 

Simon Property  Group was found liable by a jury in Seminole County, Florida for maintaining a dangerous  premises resulting in a fall from a wheelchair!  A settlement was reached with the contractor that built the dangerous premises before trial  in the amount of $210,000.00.

 

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In this case brought against Simon Property Group, a major multinational real estate development company, a paraplegic fell from her wheelchair as she was trying to pass the exit vestibule of a Service Merchandise store. At the time of the incident, she  was shopping at West Town Corners, an upscale strip mall owned and developed by Simon Property Group. At the time of the accident, the Plaintiff was attempting to reach the entrance of Service Merchandise, an anchor tenant in the strip mall. She had been shopping at Wal-Mart, another major tenant and was propelling her wheelchair the sidewalk trying to get to the entrance of the Service Merchandise when the accident occurred. As the Plaintiff proceeded toward the entrance of the Service Merchandise she approached an exit vestibule projecting into the sidewalk area.

 

An area in front of the exit vestibule was ramped to allow wheelchair enabled people to pass. However, the ramp was steep and was in violation of the Altamonte Springs Building Code. The building code required that ramps for public buildings have a slope no greater than 1:12. The Plaintiff recognized that the ramp was too steep and and turned her wheelchair left to proceed around a column and head down the ramp leading from the exit vestibule. Although this route looked appropriate to the Plaintiff, the ramp leading from the exit vestibule was too steep, did not have a "landing" and was in violation of the Altamonte Springs Building Code. As a result of the dangerous ramp, the Plaintiff's wheelchair tipped and she  fell from her wheelchair onto the pavement and was injured.

 

During the pretrial stage of the lawsuit, the Plaintiff added the contractor responsible for the construction of the ramp as a Defendant. Service Merchandise was uninsured and in bankruptcy and was not added as a defendant. The contractor, Suit Construction Co. settled before trial in the amount of $210,000.00.

 

Prior to trial Defendant Simon Property Group moved for bifurcation of liability and damages. The court granted the motion and the case proceeded  to trial on the issue of liability alone leaving the issue of damages for another day. At the trial, Defendant Simon claimed that the Plaintiff did not fall due to a defective ramp but contended that the Plaintiff was thrown from her wheelchair as a result of a paraplegic spasm. After fives day of trial, a Seminole County jury, holding Simon Property Group liable determined that the ramp was a dangerous and defective. The Jury apportioned liability among the parties and Fabre defendants as follows:

 

Simon Property Group, 30%, Plaintiff (comparative negligence) 20%, Service Merchandise ( Fabre Defendant) 50% Suitt Construction ( General Contractor settled before trial) 0% Kirkland Group ( Fabre Architect) 0%.

 

Pursuant to Florida law, the plaintiff will be able to recover 80% of her economic damages from Defendant Simon. Because the jury did not apportion any liability to the settling defendant, Suitt Construction, Simon Property Group will not get an offset for the settlement paid by Suit Construction Company.

 

Even after the case was filed, Simon Property Group made no effort to modify the dangerous condition. However, after the jury determined they were liable the exit was modified to eliminate the dangerous condition.

 

Lawsuits make a difference. Many times major corporations will ignore basic safety principles until held accountable through a jury trial. To demonstrate the power and effectiveness of the jury system to bring about safety changes for the people we have posted pictures of the intact vestibule before the verdict and torn down after the verdict.

 

     Before Verdict ( jpg opens in new window)

     After   Verdict  ( jpg opens in new window)

 

 

Toxic tort settlement: Exposure to paint containing harsh chemicals including  HDODA (1,6-hexanediol diacrylate) resulted in dermatitis and reactive airway disease syndrome.

 

The Plaintiff worked for years at Mark III industries in Ocala, Florida as a painter. He did well on his job until Chemcraft, a paint manufacturer and supplier, attempted to replace Lilly as the paint supplier for Mark III and capture an account valued at almost a million dollars a year. Mark III, a manufacturer of conversion vans, was a thriving business at the time of the injury. Chemcraft, a formulator of industrial coatings, recognizing the potential for a lucrative account, convinced Mark III to allow a plant test of its paint mixtures in an attempt to replace Lilly as the paint supplier.

 

The process of applying paints to the  woodwork for custom vans involved paint booths, flash tubes, in-line heaters and ultra violet light for curing polymers not simple paint brushes and hand sprayers. At one time, Mark III installed an automated spray paint system. However, this automated system never worked properly and long before  Chemcraft’s paints were introduced , Mark III replaced the robotic sprayers with human operators.

 

Despite the lack of automated paint booths, Chemcraft formulated a paint mixture for Mark III that included toxic acrylate monomers and 1,6-hexanediol diacrylate. The Plaintiff alleged that the noxious and toxic formulation should have only been used in automated paint booths the mixture was therefore defective and unreasonably dangerous.

 

On June 25, 1998 the Plaintiff and other  painters were burned by the harsh chemicals in this Chemcraft paint formulation. The Plaintiff in this case received severe burns to his body. In addition he sustained chemically induced asthma or Reactive Airway Disease Syndrome (RADS).

 

The Plaintiff had been treated for chemical asthma since his injury at Mark III. The injury was accepted as compensable by the Worker’s Compensation carrier for Mark III. He was treated by an authorized pulmonary specialist for the RADs condition.

 

The case proceeded to a jury trial in Marion County, Florida in December of 2002. After two and a half days of trial the case was settled for $90,000.00. It appears that if the case had not been settled the jury would have placed most of the blame on the Plaintiff's employer. Unfortunately, the Plaintiff's employer was immune from suit as a result of Florida workers compensation laws.

 

There is more to come!  Please return often.

 

 

 

The Heindl Law Firm

222 S. Westmonte Dr. #208

Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714

(Orlando Area)

Phone:  407-865-5700

  Fax:    407-865-575

 inquiry@heindllaw.com

 

 

 

 

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222 S. Westmonte Dr. # 208

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Copyright © 2002 Phares M. Heindl P.A.