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Posts made in February, 2014

What Rights Do Adult Victims Of Casselberry Scout Leader Sex Abuser Have?

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Child Sexual Abuse

What Rights Do Adult Victims Of Casselberry Scout Leader Sex Abuser Have?

A slip-and-fall accident inside an Orlando self-storage unit has led to a stunning confession and the arrest of local former Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader on child pornography charges, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Apparently Fleetwood Peeples’ Jr. slipped and fell at his self-storage in Orlando, struck his head, and was found lying in a puddle of blood.  Emergency workers who came to his aid became suspicious when, rather than worrying about his own injuries, Mr. Peeple seemed preoccupied with a camera he has been working with, the security of the contents of his storage unit, and whether his wife would have to be informed be about the existence of the unit. Apparently Mr. Peeples had forgotten that he had asked the EMT’s to grab his camera, and consequently they brought the camera with Mr. Peeples to the hospital.  When questioned about the camera in the hospital, Mr. Peeples admitted that he was using the camera to record images from child pornography magazines he was secretly keeping in his storage unit. When police searched the storage unit they found numerous movies and magazines featuring child pornography.  Most shockingly, police also found more than 100 Polaroid photographs of young boys in lewd and sexually suggestive poses.  When confronted, Mr. Peeples broke down and admitted to police that the photos were of boys he had taken on camping trips as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader in Casselberry.  Mr. Peeples also told police that he had molested many of the boys, and forced them to perform sex acts. Interesting to me as a Florida child sexual abuse attorney, the Boy Scouts of America have disavowed Mr. Peeples, and have indicated that he no longer has no ties to the organization.  However, the Boy Scouts don’t say when or why ties were cut with Mr. Peeples, or whether there were ever any questions raised about Mr. Peeples at or near the time he was involved in Scouting. The article indicates that Mr. Peeples’ victims would likely be between 30 and 50 years old.  What rights would these men have if they decided to pursue claims for damages related to their abuse? Due to the Statute of Limitations, the boys who were abused by Mr. Peeples would likely only be able to pursue claims if they could show that the shock of the abuse lead to a repression or inability to remember the events or tie current problems to the abuse, or that there was otherwise some very good reason that they could not assert claims within the typical Statute of Limitations.  Obviously, these circumstances will only apply to a limited number of victims, so there is not likely to be an explosion of claims related to Mr. Peeples’ abuse, although there may be some. Whatever happens, I am glad that Mr. Peeples has finally been caught.  Perhaps this will provide...

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Frivilous Lawsuits — Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Hate Them, Too

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Recent News, Uncategorized

Frivilous Lawsuits — Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Hate Them, Too

I saw an interesting piece on the Orlando Sentinel website discussing how closely the legislative agenda for the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Republican Party mirror one another.  The Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives estimates that at least 90% of the Florida House’s agenda is the same as big-business-friendly Florida Chamber. One of the most interesting points in the article to me — as an Orlando personal injury attorney — was the inclusion in the agenda of an effort to eliminate “frivolous lawsuits.”  In Florida, this has historically usually meant an effort to eliminate lawsuits and infringe upon the legal rights of regular people to bring claims against large corporations and insurance companies.  In many instances, this means personal injury cases. However, there is absolutely zero evidence that there is a problem with or proliferation of personal injury cases, OR that significant numbers of them are “frivolous.”  Data from virtually every Clerk of the Court anywhere shows that the numbers of personal injury cases filed has actually fallen in recent years.  On the issue of whether these cases are “frivolous”, I don’t think there is any evidence supporting this, either.  I believe the only thing that makes these cases “frivolous” is the fact that the corporations and insurance companies that have to answer them just don’t want to pay what they are currently legally obligated to pay.  As I have blogged before, “frivolous” is all in the eyes of the beholder. Florida personal injury lawyers already face plenty of penalties for filing truly frivolous lawsuits.  Since we only receive a fee if we win, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to bring cases that have no merit.  If we lose cases without merit, we face stiff financial penalties of having to potentially pay the other side’s attorneys’ fees and costs.  If we spend years of our lives working frivolous lawsuits that potentially have absolutely no value, we are wasting precious time assets that we could be using to work on meritorious cases that do generate money.  In short, Florida personal injury lawyers have little incentive to work on “frivolous” lawsuits, and every incentive to hate them even more than the general public. By the way, any Clerk of the Court will tell you that the number of corporation versus corporation lawsuits have skyrocketed over the past several years.  These cases are often filed by corporations in order to seek damages for breach of contract, use of copyrighted materials, etc. Funny thing that we’ve never heard the Florida Chamber of Commerce refer to these as frivolous lawsuits… If you have any questions about a real, legitimate, meritorious Florida injury case, call Winter Park personal injury lawyers Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.  If you have a case that is truly frivolous and has no merit, please keep that one to yourself – or call...

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Tragic Florida Wrongful Death Crash Highlights Difficulty In Computing Future Wage Loss

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in Motorcycle Accidents, Types of Accidents, Uncategorized, Wrongful Death Claims

Tragic Florida Wrongful Death Crash Highlights Difficulty In Computing Future Wage Loss

I was so saddened to read in the Orlando Sentinel about a devastating head-on crash that occurred on Interstate 275 in Tampa last weekend. Apparently the driver of a white Ford SUV was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed in the wrong direction on I-275 near the Busch Boulevard exit, which is in the vicinity of the University of South Florida.  Traveling in the correct direction on the highway was a 2010 Hyundai which contained four students from USF, including the driver, Freedom High School graduate and Orlando native, Jobin Kuriakose. The students were all members of the Sigma Beta Rho fraternity at USF, where Mr. Kuriakose was apparently referred to as “Brother Ambition.” My first thought after reading about this crash is, obviously, how tragic this is.  I am the parent of a high school senior who is about to go away to college, and the thought of losing him at such a young age, before his life has really begun, is horrifying. Professionally, as an Orlando accident attorney, a case like this one reminds me how difficult the issue of future wage loss often is in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. For example, under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, Mr. Kuriakose’s surviving family members would be entitled to recover the lost net accumulations and/or loss of support and services that Mr. Kuriakose would have likely generated in the future. The difficulty arises in trying to determine this loss when someone Mr. Kuriakose’s age perishes in an accident. After all, he is a college student, and likely has little earnings history. Therefore, expert testimony is often required to analyze and attempt to predict what the decedent would have earned if not prematurely killed. Insurance companies often hire expert to say that this is merely speculative.  Oftentimes, this issue is left for a jury to decide, which is inherently unpredictable. Plainly, this issue is very difficult for families. If you should have any questions regarding a Florida Wrongful Death case, or the issue of future lost wages as they pertain to a personal injury or wrongful death case, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901. Consultations are always...

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