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Posts Tagged "responsibility"

Money Damages Are Sometimes Only Justice Available

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Motor vehicle accidents, Recent News

Money Damages Are Sometimes Only Justice Available

The family of a man and baby who were killed, and a young woman who was injured in an October 2015 car crash at the intersection of State Road 436 and State Road 434 are understandably upset to learn that the Seminole County State Attorney’s office has chosen not to prosecute the 75-year old woman who caused the fatal and tragic crash. However, justice can still be done for this family. The prosecutor’s decision highlights the difference between the criminal justice system and the civil justice system, and the differing legal standards and standards of proof that apply to each. According to an article on the ClickOrlando.com website, Seminole County State Attorney Phil Archer has elected not to press charges against Cynthia Guthrie because he does not believe his office can prove – beyond a reasonable doubt (the criminal law standard of proof) – that Ms. Guthrie is guilty of willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others, or that she acted with reckless disregard. Because the State Attorney is not prosecuting Ms. Guthrie, it means that she does not risk jail time or probation. However, this does not mean that Ms. Guthrie will avoid all responsibility for the crash. Under our civil justice system, Ms. Guthrie can still face liability for causing the accident. However, her liability under the civil system is financial (i.e. paying money damages), not the loss of her physical freedom. In a civil case arising from a car crash, an injured party, or the surviving family member of someone who has been tragically killed, only needs to prove that the driver was negligent in order to win. Not only that, but the injured party does not need to prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the injured party only has to prove that it is more likely than not that the driver was negligent or careless. Obviously, it is much easier to prove a civil case for negligence than a criminal case. This is good because it gives accident victims an effective way of holding negligent or careless drivers accountable – even when the criminal justice system won’t. We do this all of the time for our clients. If you have any questions following a Florida car accident or wrongful death case, call Winter Park car accident attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901 or visit our main website by clicking here. We are a small, boutique law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. All consultations are free and without...

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Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Settlement Keeps Internal Files Private, For Now

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Child Sexual Abuse

Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Settlement Keeps Internal Files Private, For Now

A California child sexual abuse lawsuit settlement last week will allow the Boy Scouts of America to keep its “perversion files” outside of public view for a little bit longer. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a settlement has been reached between a 20-year old Santa Barbara man and the Boy Scouts of America.  The man was sexually abused at age 12 and 13 by a Scout leader named Al Stein.  Mr. Stein plead no contest to charges that he endangered three boys in 2007.  He later violated his probation when child pornography was found on his cell phone. The case had begun to receive attention from lawyers across the nation because the victim’s attorney had been successful in securing the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files” during the course of discovery and fact-finding.  The “perversion files” are internal files that Boy Scouts of America has been amassing since the 1920’s identifying sexually abusive scout leaders and their victims. Boy Scouts of America has fought for many years to keep these files secret.  The Supreme Court of Oregon ordered 20 years of files (1965 to 1985) released in a 2012 child sexual abuse lawsuit that ultimately led to a $20 million jury verdict.  Had the California lawsuit gone forward, much more recent perversion files could have been introduced into evidence.  This evidence would presumably serve to refute Boy Scouts’ claims that in recent years they have cleaned house and are taking child protection much more seriously. Perhaps it is the cynic in me, but this settlement seems much more motivated by the Boy Scouts’ preference to keep the newer “perversion files” sealed from public view, rather than by an interest in doing right by the victimized person.  Boy Scouts claims the files need to be kept secret in order to protect the victims, as well as those scout leaders who have been “falsely” accused.  According to the L.A. Times, a review of some previously disclosed “perversion files” reveals a dogged effort  by the Boy Scouts to protect abusive scout masters from criminal responsibility, and protect the organization’s reputation. It seems to me that the Boy Scouts could easily release the perversion files – if they wanted to — and redact or black out the names of the victims in order to protect their privacy.  This is what the Boy Scouts would do if they were truly interested in seeing justice done for the kids who were entrusted to them. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that organizations will go to in order to avoid responsibility for the reprehensible actions of a small group of sick individuals — quite often to the detriment of admittedly innocent child victims.  Don’t these organizations realize that their tactics and strategies actually serve to compound the damage that has already been done to these young kids? I am guessing that it won’t be...

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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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