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Posts made in October, 2014

Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Child Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis is one of the most revered men on Earth, and he probably doesn’t care what one personal injury lawyer in Winter Park, Florida, thinks about him, but I can’t help but be impressed by how this man has taken on the scourge of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.  (Disclaimer:  I am not Catholic.) The Associated Press has reported that Pope Francis has forcibly removed Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his duties in the diocese of Paraguay.  In addition to some doctrinal differences, the Pope took issue with Bishop Livieres’ protection and sanctuary offered to an Argentine priest, the Reverend Carlos Urrutigoity. Father Urrutigoity had previously been a Priest in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which paid a $400,000.00 sexual misconduct settlement over allegations made against Father Urrutigoity and another priest.  Although Father Urrutigooity was never charged with a crime before leaving the United States, one of his former bosses called him “a serious threat to young people.” As an attorney that represents victims of child sexual abuse here in Florida, I am a big fan of any leader who is willing to step outside of a “comfort zone”, and take active steps to eliminate child abuse and molestation from any youth-centered organization.  Pope Francis fortunately seems to have decided that it is time for the Catholic Church to not only stop protecting guilty Priests, but also to begin punishing those in the church who have been protecting the guilty. If you have any questions about a Florida child sexual abuse case, or how organizations and institutions can be held liable for failing to protect children from abusers and predators, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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Walmart Litigation Tactics In Tracy Morgan Case: Unfortunately Typical In Florida

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Motor vehicle accidents

Walmart Litigation Tactics In Tracy Morgan Case: Unfortunately Typical In Florida

I saw an interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times a couple of days ago that I thought what was worthy of mentioning on this blog. Many readers of this blog may be familiar with a fatal semi tractor-trailer accident in New Jersey several months ago involving TV star/comedian Tracy Morgan. The crash occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike and involved a semi tractor-trailer owned by Walmart and driven by a Walmart employee that smashed at a high-speed into the rear end of a van that Mr. Morgan and several other entertainers were traveling in. One man was killed.  Mr. Morgan and the other passengers were seriously injured. Suit was filed against Walmart several weeks ago on behalf of Mr. Morgan and the others.  The lawsuit included allegations that Walmart’s driver had violated federal traffic safety laws by driving without the proper amount of sleep or rest.   (I have blogged about tired driving on a couple of occasions recently, as his is a growing problem:  here and here.) Walmart has now responded to Mr. Morgan’s lawsuit by alleging that Mr. Morgan was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, and therefore is somehow responsible for causing his own injuries.  Setting aside for a moment whether a rear seat van passenger is legally required to wear a seat belt, the fact of Walmart’s raising this defense, and this making it into the national news, struck me. After all, this is a defense that we see in almost every single automobile or truck accident case that we file a lawsuit on — whether it is applicable or not.  (In fact it is such a boilerplate part of defense filings, that we often see it raised as a defense in slip and fall and other non-automobile cases.)  It is part of the typical defense strategy in any kind of motor vehicle accident case to do everything possible to try to blame the accident victim for causing the crash or causing his injuries.  It is almost unheard-of for a Defendant to ever admit that they were wrong and simply face the consequences of the full damages or injuries that they have caused. It occurs to me that this is the exact opposite of how we teach our children.  As a parent, I am constantly trying to teach my kids about the value of being a responsible person and accepting responsibility when you have made a mistake or done something wrong.  Apparently, insurance companies and corporate Defendants never received this kind of lesson… Anyway, I suspect that the seat belt offense will eventually be dropped in Tracy Morgan’s case, as there has been a pretty decent amount of outrage in the media over these kinds of tactics.  Unfortunately, I don’t think our non-celebrity clients are going to get the same decent treatment anytime soon.. If you have any questions regarding...

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