Take Care of Maya:
“When a family fights the system and the system reacts by just protecting themselves”
4th of July in 2015—Maya was playing outside. By the end of the day she was in extraordinary pain. Ankle was swollen, red—parents took her to the hospital and they didn’t do anything for her. Over the next week, the pain worked up her legs and down the other leg. Maya's mom is a nurse/traveling nurse, however, couldn’t figure out what it was. Eventually they come to realize Ketamine treatments are effective in reducing the pain.. In the early part of 2016 Maya is looking forward to getting out of the wheelchair, feeling optimistic. October 7, 2016—Unusual pain returns, she's checked back in the hospital that she's already been to 5 times. The doctors mis-diagnosed, held her in the hospital, then they tried to convince that Maya is a psych patient and that the mom should be in jail. They made up stories to make it look like this was all of the issues from them. They hide and tried to bury this case. A Suit was filed against All Children’s, DCF, Suncoast, Smith, and Bedy in October 2018, and a judge determined that there was sufficient evidence for punitive damages to be awarded for the charges of battery and false imprisonment.The case against All Children’s and Bedy continues.
Cases & Results
It’s 15 minutes into practice for this nationally certified swim team when the alarm sounds, indicating that a Florida afternoon thunderstorm is now looming overhead requiring an “All out of the water” call from the lifeguard. The thunderstorm rolls in faster than expected and now it’s vital to get everyone under cover as quickly as possible. As kids run toward the locker rooms, the coaches keep count. They give the pool a once-over, and begin to check swimmers off as their parents arrive to pick them up. It’s been more than ten minutes since they closed the pool and a young swimmer named Kristin is nowhere to be found.
When Kristin was found it had been at least twenty minutes since the first swimmers had left the pool. The pool temperature was far too warm for any preservative effects and by the time she was discovered, the chance for a successful recovery had long since passed. Despite compliance with virtually all relevant regulations plus appropriate procedures by the coach, Kristin drowned.
Anderson was brought in to represent the national governing body through the organization’s captive carrier. The scenario was more complex than a simple case of overlooking the possibility of a swimmer in the pool. The coaches had done an inspection, however brief, before they shut the gate. How could they have missed a 4-foot-5-inch swimmer drifting a foot off the bottom of a clear and vacated pool? How did Kristin just disappear? Moreover, how the heck did a competent swimmer who had hauled herself completely out of the water end up drowning?
First, it’s clear that the coach who last saw Kristin should have waited to ensure that she cleared the pool deck, rather than the pool. But his failure to do so doesn’t necessarily violate code, or even common sense. He had all of the swimmers to get under cover. An immediate head count should have been conducted, but even without one, the coaches identified Kristin as missing almost right away. Once it was noticed that a swimmer was missing, the first place the coach should have checked was the pool. But everything he was told from the assistant coaches and Kristin’s teammates supported the fact that she wasn’t there. When they rechecked the pool, it was still difficult to see her on the bottom.
The combination of visibility issues from the brisk wind over the water, the coaches’ preoccupation in getting all of the swimmers under cover, and the possibility that the observers were in a position where they could not see along the intersection of the wall and bottom, meant that the coaches could have been careful and still miss Kristin.Compounding the visual problems, Kristin experienced a so-called “silent” drowning, i.e., one in which the swimmer slips under water without much disturbance at the surface. Though Kristin was on the top rung getting out of the pool, she wasn’t completely away from the zone of danger.This leads into the second universal requirement, which is to ensure the staff has proper training, and up-to-date certifications.
In the vast majority of cases, these technical errors have nothing to do with the cause of the accident or the attempts to save the victim. But creative speculation by opposing attorneys can turn even the most irrelevant issues into a means of keeping the case in court.
As part of a national organization, Kristin’s club team required an application. One section of the form asked for a list of any conditions that may have a bearing on the athlete’s ability. The form also requested a disclosure of medications the participant is taking. In the case of Kristin’s form, signed by her mother, both sections were blank. In comparing the application to Kristin’s medical records, we discovered that in the three months prior to the accident, she had been experiencing inexplicable fainting spells, with the last one occurring two weeks before her death. Kristin loved swimming. Her parents could not bring themselves to keep her away from her friends and teammates and believed, with all the hope parents have, that this was a temporary condition that could be treated. It is the cruelest irony that they were probably right except for a Florida thunderstorm and an optical illusion.
The question is whether your safeguards make the accident just that, an accident, rather than a catalyst for the blame game. When a child dies, any technical violation of a standard will ensure that there will be an inquiry and demand for compensation. Compliance with regulations and standards greatly decreases the chance of an accident.We do our best but it’s hard to meet the “padded planet” school of liability. We do our best and the comfort we have is that 99 percent of the time we’ve kept everyone safe and the claims minor.
Greg Anderson represented two helicopter pilots has won a $70.5 million verdict against General Electric, the maker of the copter's twin engines. The co-pilots were commanding a Sikorsky S-61 and shuttling firefighters in the middle of a forest blaze, on the border of California and Oregon in 2008 when they crashed. Nine people died, including one of the pilots, in the deadliest firefighter aviation crash in U.S. history. Attorney Gregory Anderson represented the surviving pilot, William Coultas, and the widow of the deceased pilot, Roark Schwanenberg.
During a six-week trial that Anderson called a "textbook case for young lawyers to learn about what goes on in product liability”. At the center of the case was whether a faulty fuel part caused the crash or if the helicopter was carrying too much weight. Anderson argued that the engine's fuel filter system was defective and the company knew about it for six years before the crash."There were a series of emails warning that sooner or later the filtration system is not going to do its job at a critical time.... G.E. had ongoing discussions with Sikorsky but they didn't do anything about it," said Anderson.
His theory of the faulty fuel filter system was that the helicopter took off, then experienced engine failure because the fuel control part did not take contaminants like metal debris out of the fuel, robbing the engine of power. Anderson told the jury that the company used a different part in the military version of the same helicopter.However, they did not want to change the part in its commercial copter because of money, pointing to one of the emails that said the company "was not going to redesign a spare part for such little upside." According to Anderson, the defense argued that the engines never failed, and the cause of the crash was that it was overloaded with too much weight for a safe takeoff. Under the defense theory, the helicopter never dipped or lost engine power.
"The NTSB investigated the case for three years and from their conclusion the engines were not only operating normally but operating at maximum power. They were running as hard as they could," said Kennedy, the G.E. spokesperson, after the trial. But under federal law, an NTSB report cannot be admitted at trial and the jury did not see it. Even if the report had been admitted, it might have been a double edged sword. According to Anderson, the NTSB's original report right after the accident discussed problems with the engine parts, but then the parts went missing, the report was taken off the agency's website and a final report written by the investigator's wife, who also worked for the NTSB, minimized problems with the fuel control parts and blamed the crash on excess weight.
Anderson said his most powerful proof was testimony of young firefighters who had spent days sleeping in tents on the side of the mountain and witnessed the crash - some from inside the helicopter that went down.
"They all said the same thing. They said they got to about 100 to 120 feet over the trees, they apparently lost power, they heard sounds from the engine and saw it come down very quickly." Anderson recalled. He said that the defense failed in its efforts to poke holes in their credibility by arguing that the helicopter never reached that altitude. "They are smoke-jumpers. They spent their lives working around trees. They know exactly how tall the trees were. The defense never scored a point off of any of them." Plaintiff Bill Coultas, survived a 2008 helicopter crash but suffered bums over 60 percent of his body. He won $37.7 million after a six-week trial.
"It was the most contentious trial I have ever seen," said Anderson. “The case came down to powerful testimony by three firefighters who survived the crash and a chain of emails within G.E. chronicling what they knew about the engine part.
Successful defense verdict for Chrysler on a claim that a 1984 Chrysler 5th Avenue had blown two engines. Investigation revealed oil exhaustion due to shade-tree “repair” was responsible for the damage.
Fraud and breach of warranty case against auto dealer arising out of swapped engine and allegations that engine block was not new. Verdict for plaintiff.
Successful defense of fraud and breach of contract case against Defendant Crest Pontiac. Judge granted Plaintiff ’s ore tenus motion for relief and reversed summary judgment. However, the defense prevailed at trial in the 11th circuit court, Jacksonville.
Product liability trial against a microwave manufacturer for injury due to a defective unit. Verdict for the Plaintiff was affirmed on appeal.
Personal injury case that settled for a confidential six-figure amount during
Defended Carolina Freight in a four-day trial in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court for Jacksonville and a favorable, low six-figure verdict was entered for the Plaintiff which was less than the Offer of Judgment by Carolina Freight.
Misrepresentation and breach of warranty case tried in the Fourth Circuit Court in Jacksonville. The verdict for the Plaintiff was less than the Offer of Judgment by Chrysler.
Plaintiff sued Chrysler, Lee Iacocca and the Governor of Florida alleging a conspiracy to defraud her. The case went to trial in the 11th circuit after all other parties except Chrysler were dismissed. The case settled during voir dire.
Legal malpractice trial lasting three weeks before Honorable Kim C. Hammond, 7th Judicial Circuit, Fort Bunnell, Florida. The case involved multiple coverage issues and even immigration issues resulting from Weber’s E-2 “Investor” visa status. Verdict for Plaintiffs apportioning the liability 60% / 40% between Kaufman and Peavy.
Subrogation action on behalf of Wausau Insurance following the beheading of a pedestrian by an oversized asphalt layer on city street. Trial lasted four days in the 11th Circuit Court in Jacksonville. Th
Case involving Chrysler K-car engine block tried in the 7th Circuit in Daytona before future DCA Judge Upchurch. Defended on lack of maintenance; verdict for the defense.
Represented the Plaintiff and the subrogated interest of the Plaintiff ’s insurance carrier on claims of fraud and FDUTPA violations arising out of the purchase of a 1984 model year Datsun 260Z. Verdict for Plaintiff and the case ultimately settled on appeal.
Personal injury trial with successful representation of the subrogated interests of the Plaintiff and her insured; the case settled during jury deliberations.
Represented Jacksonville architect, Bob Woolverton in this two-day jury trial involving the specificity of architectural plans. The verdict was for Woolverton, resulting in a net judgment in his favor.
RV surety claim resulting in a two-day jury trial that successfully settled for the Defendant after cross-examination of the Plaintiff ’s expert.
Case involving a Dodge Ram charger transmission issue. Three-day trial; plaintiff verdict for less than Offer of Judgment by Chrysler.
Personal injury and wrongful termination of 60-year old Avis employee, Donna Burnett. After five days at trial, Federal judge John Moore announced at 4:55 pm on Friday that he was terminating the trial because he had another trial beginning on Monday. The case settled on appeal.
Two week trial focused on the Plaintiff ’s injury and damages after a whipped cream can exploded in her hands, severing her thumb. On a clear liability case the jury gave her $71,000. It was more than 25% less than the Offer of Judgment; the net judgment was a wash.
Personal injury verdict for Patterson over a defense that Plaintiff had stopped to watch balloon races on a bridge in violation of a Florida Statute prohibiting stopping or slowing down on a bridge.
Dodge Power Wagon transmission issue tried before Eleventh Circuit Judge Dorothy Pate. The case settled favorably for the Defense after three days, following cross-examination of Plaintiff ’s expert.
US District Court for the Middle District, Jacksonville, Florida, the Honorable Howell Melton presiding. Infringement of intellectual property claim against American Express affiliate ATB. Successful verdict for Travel Plus and very favorable settlement on appeal.
First case for USA/USA Masters Swimming involving Plaintiff ’s brain damage from hypoxic training techniques. Successfully obtained Final Summary Judgment on virtually all aspects of the case. The remainder settled for a fraction of the cost of defense after the conclusion of opening statements. This was one of the very first cases involving a National Governing Body (“NGB” ) for a sport. NGBs were created by an act of Congress that same year.
Defense of Dependable Insurance where an RV Dealer went bankrupt. Florida law requires RV dealers and manufacturers to have a surety bond by statute. Defended Dependable on claims that Plaintiff ’s mobile home had leaks. Defended on the specifics of what fell under the statutory warranty created by Florida Statute chapter 320.836. Plaintiff alleged that the claims fell outside the scope of the statute. After two days of trial, prevailed on a motion for a directed verdict.
Jury trial on Plaintiff ’s claims pertaining to injuries that resulted from an automobile/semi-tractor accident.
Two-week jury trial over allegations of third party liability for criminal acts. The jury deliberated for a day and a half, at which point the judge announced he was directing a verdict for the defendants GPAC and USA Swimming but that he would still allow the jury to come back. The verdict was $430,000 but reduced by 77% based on comparative fault and the net judgment was 25% less than the Offer of Judgment. The case settled on appeal favoring USA Swimming.
Jury verdict for the Defense in a claim against Sea Ray Boats and Brunswick Boat Group over a boat fire allegedly originating behind the main distribution panel of a Sea Ray 460CV Sport Fisherman. The insurance carriers joined the Plaintiff in claiming losses on a subrogated basis. The jury found for the defense on all counts. The defense had served a six figure Offer of Judgment, which resulted in a net result in favor of Sea Ray.
Successful defense of Brunswick Boat Group in severe brain trauma leading to suicide of prominent Pensacola OB/GYN upon claims that the 240 Sea Ray had defective “non-slip” decking causing the doctor to slip and fall on the transom. Defendant preferential settlement during voir dire after doctor committed suicide and Plaintiff failed to substitute.
Breach of Warranty Claim against Chrysler; defense verdict of zero liability on behalf of Chrysler Corporation.
Fraud and Breach of Warranty Claim. Obtained a Defense verdict of zero liability on behalf of Chrysler Corporation.
Jury verdict for the defense in a class action filed against Sea Ray Boats for defective forward bilge pumps causing loss of Sea Ray 390ECs that was filed in Jacksonville, Florida.
Secured a verdict for the defense in a personal injury claim against the city of St. Petersburg and a local aquatics club.
Successful defense and settlement favorable to the defense during opening statements in a jury trial before Judge Upchurch on allegations of unseaworthiness of a Sea Ray Sport Fisherman.
This was a custody battle over a six foot long Iguana named “Larry”. Represented the daughter of a career diplomat who bought and raised Larry since he was just a little lizard. With much love and lettuce Larry grew to over six feet. The diplomat was assigned to an embassy in Italy and Larry couldn’t come. The daughter gave Larry to her best friend next door, including Larry’s cage. The daughter returned after two years and wanted her beloved Larry back but the best friend refused. The friend filed suit in the Circuit Court for St. Johns County (St. Augustine) Florida. Fred Buttner, now a distinguished Judge of the Circuit Court in Florida, defended the best friend in the two day trial. The diplomat’s daughter prevailed, so Larry was to go back to the diplomat’s daughter. On the court house steps Judge Buttner and Greg were interviewed. Judge Buttner looked into the cameras and noted “it’s always the lizard that gets hurt in these custody battles…” Larry died on appeal.
Breach of Warranty and Products Liability Claim. Obtained a defense verdict of zero liability on behalf of Chrysler Corporation.
Personal injury verdict for the Plaintiff, involved in an under-insured motor vehicle accident.
Jury verdict for the defense in a personal injury accident claim against the driver and Coggin Saturn.
Prosecution of a Moragne theory of unseaworthiness. Case settled immediately prior to trial before the U.S. District Court for Middle District sitting in admiralty.
Breach of Contract action. Plaintiff filed an action alleging that his Dodge Viper had a defective, unpaintable hood. Difficulties in obtaining discovery resulted in the trial court sending the case to the jury solely on damages. Net jury verdict was well less than 75% of last Offer of Judgment served on Plaintiff, which resulted in a net judgment in favor of Chrysler.
Secured a favorable settlement resolution for New Commodore Cruise Lines (NCCL) in a Breach of contract/admiralty case over a business plan allegedly prepared by Stensby but implemented without him by the Defendents. The co-Defendant was Effjohn (a Finnish cruise line specializing in ferries throughout Europe). NCCL settled with the Plaintiff during the second or third day of trial, but proceeded against Effjohn, resulting in a multi-million verdict.
Jury verdict entered against Chrysler Corporation in this Breach of Warranty Claim. The case went up on appeal to the Florida Supreme Court which held that Florida’s Lemon Law was unconstitutional as applied. The case was settled for a nominal amount.
Two-day jury trial on claims that the defendant breached a service contract. Defense verdict for Chrysler Corporation based on the Plaintiff ’s failure to satisfy a condition precedent of opportunity to cure. Defense verdict of zero liability on behalf of Chrysler Corporation.
This federal admiralty arbitration in Seattle Washington involved allegations of defective installation of a ship’s interior by BIP Ship Interiors, a Korean manufacturer of ship interior panels, on the theory that the panels were not fire proof following fire at sea. Arbitration decision in favor of BIP.
Legal Malpractice trial resulting in a successful verdict for the Plaintiff.
Successful defense of Mercury Marine in product liability case involving allegations of the defective design of the lower unit of a Mercury Optimax 150. Upon a demand of $15 million, the case settled for nominal value following deposition of the Plaintiff ’s engineering expert, where he admitted the “break-away” outdrive could cause more accidents than it prevented.
Eastern District of California - Personal injury trial in which a directed verdict was entered after Plaintiff ’s case-in-chief, which resulted in settlement for a nominal amount.
General Counsel to Marmara Marine and later, the S.S. United States Corporation - Successfully negotiated maritime liens and replevin of the “World’s Fastest Ocean Liner,” the S.S. United States from Istanbul, Turkey. The ocean liner was towed through the Marmara Straits and across the Atlantic to the Philadelphia ship yards (where she rests today) following the death of Edward A. Cantor, the real estate magnate behind the attempts to restore her to her former glory. The S.S. United States was constructed entirely of aluminum, even the piano in the main gallery, to decrease weight and give her great speed. Designed in the mid-1950’s as a means of getting combat troops to Europe in the vent of war with the Soviet Union, she entered service in 1958, just in time for the Boeing 707 to begin transatlantic service and end the era of the ocean liner. The efforts by Cantor to purchase and restore her brought reams of admiralty litigation, all of which the firm handled.
Six-day trial involving allegations of unseaworthiness of a Sea Ray 440 Sundancer. Verdict for Plaintiffs and ultimately settling on appeal to the 11th Circuit.
Secured a verdict for Chrysler in a five-day Breach of Warranty trial over claims of a defective engine in a Jeep Wrangler.
Counsel to Azimut Boats for ABYC certification for import into the United States.
Breach of Warranty trial on a hull crack in 54-foot Sundancer. The Plaintiff asserted that the company had explicitly warranted that it would repair any hull defects but failed to do so. Verdict for Plaintiff and case ultimately settled on appeal.
Moderately successful defense at federal maritime arbitration in New York City of BIP and Marine Accommodations and their carriers on claims of defective interior and damage to an 85-foot “adventure” yacht in dry dock in Mexico. The decision of the arbitrator was largely in favor of the claimant vessel owner but less than BIP/MA’s last offer.
Undue influence and Breach of Fiduciary case. Successful verdict for the defense.
Breach of Warranty and Products Liability claim. Obtained a defense verdict of zero liability on behalf of Daimler Chrysler Corporation.
Three-week trial for accounting malpractice resulting in a jury verdict for the Plaintiff which later settled upon appeal.
Filed in state court in Tennessee; served as Florida counsel as the boat was birthed in Ft. Meyers, Florida. Following a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff, assisted with the appeal after having sat “second chair” to Tennessee counsel.
Represented the Plaintiff during the appeal of this wrongful death claim after the original case resulted in a defense verdict.
Represented USA Swimming and obtained a Motion for Summary Judgment ruling in its favor. Participated in the opening days of trial against the Country Club facility, which ultimately settled before verdict.
Breach of Warranty and Products Liability claim. Court entered a directed verdict in favor of Chrysler LLC.
Obtained a defense verdict of zero liability for Azalea Place against Plaintiff ’s slip and fall claim.
Defense of Donzi Marine on claims the bow fell off at sea in Kingfish tournament. Favorable settlement on the first day of trial.
Breach of Warranty and Lemon Law Appeal claim. Obtained a defense verdict of zero liability on behalf of Chrysler LLC.
Unanimous jury verdict for the Plaintiffs in a products liability trial lasting seven weeks and successful confidential settlements by co-defendants.
Products liability claim against Chrysler LLC. The case ended in a hung jury and was eventually settled.