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Posts Tagged "settlement"

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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Does Your Orlando Injury Case Deserve Bulk Treatment By Your Attorney?

Posted by on Dec 10, 2014 in Motor vehicle accidents

Does Your Orlando Injury Case Deserve Bulk Treatment By Your Attorney?

I didn’t quite know what to think when I recently heard about one of the large, advertising Orlando personal injury firms conducting back-to-back “Settlement Days” with one of the major Florida car insurance companies at its offices.  My understanding is that the firm and the insurance company settled approximately 70 Orlando car accident cases during those two days.  This is something we have never done at Cullen & Hemphill, PLC. While I suppose an argument could be made that this kind of bulk handling of personal injury claims is a more efficient use of everyone’s time, I am just not convinced that this kind of event encourages a law firm to individually dig into, learn, and fairly evaluate each individual’s case before trying to settle it.  If you just look at the numbers, and assume that the law firm and insurance company worked a full 16 hours on those two settlement days, this means that a case was being resolved every 14 minutes or so. I suppose I question whether any law firm could be effectively communicating the unique and specials characteristics of each case and client in approximately 14 minutes.  As a small, Winter Park personal injury firm that focuses a lot of time and energy on really getting to know our clients, their families, and their wants and needs, and the way that an accident has affected their lives, I wonder how this kind of information gets persuasively conveyed in 14 minutes of less. I am pretty sure our Cullen & Hemphill clients would be disappointed to learn that their case was handled in the exact same way as 69 others, over the course of two days.  I don’t know of one client that has ever requested of us that his or her case be handled in bulk or bundled, or thought that his or her case deserved that kind of treatment.  What do you think? If you have any questions regarding an Orlando car accident case, or any other Florida personal injury case, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Robert Hemphill and Kim Cullen at...

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Injured On Vacation In Florida? Your Case’s Value Might Surprise You…

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 in Theme Park Accidents, Types of Accidents, Uncategorized

Injured On Vacation In Florida?  Your Case’s Value Might Surprise You…

We are fortunate enough to frequently be asked to represent travelers who have been injured in accident while here in Central Florida on vacation, or on business. One of the more frustrating aspects of representing people from outside of Florida is the difference of opinion that often arises regarding the value of a personal injury case here in Central Florida.  Many people who vacation here from other parts of the United States, or even other parts of the world, seem to think that injuries that occur due to accidents in Florida automatically generate large amounts of money.  Many people have the mistaken belief that just because they have been injured at one of the large theme parks or resort properties, that a large check will soon be forthcoming.  Similarly, many people think that Florida juries are more likely than most to render large jury verdicts in favor of those injured on holiday. Having been a personal injury lawyer practicing law in Central Florida for more than the past 20 years, I am surprised at the inflated value that many visitors seem to place on their Florida personal injury cases.  I am not really sure how these people come up with their personal injury case valuations.  After all, most of them have never handled a personal injury case before — and particularly not one here in Central Florida.  Nevertheless, we seem to be constantly tempering the expectations of these, admittedly, injured people. The problem is not that our firm does not want to help these people receive compensation.  The problem is that there are certain realities in the legal and civic landscape here in Central Florida that make it challenging to deliver a favorable result for an injured tourist  (uncooperative defendants, conservative juries, defendants have strong local influence, etc.).  These factors do not necessarily exist in other places in the United States or the world.  After all, Florida is not New York — no matter how much some might hope. Despite these challenges, we always guarantee our clients two things:  (1) we will always give an honest and objection appraisal of a personal injury claim, and (2) we will always fight hard for our clients  — even the New Yorkers (and perhaps, especially, the New Yorkers.) If you have been involved in an accident here in Florida while on vacation or here on business, please call Winter Park personal injury lawyers Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.  We are always available to answer your questions, and we handle cases across Florida.  Consultations are always...

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