Press Conference Scheduled 12/18/18
Mother of a 12 Year Old Murdered By a Convicted Sex Offender Says Owners/Managers of an Apartment Complex Could Have Prevented the Tragedy
Pensacola, FL - Shantara Hurry, the mother of 12-year-old Naomi Jones, who police say was murdered by convicted sex offender Robert Howard in 2017, is filing a negligent security lawsuit against those responsible for the apartment complex where her daughter was kidnapped.
Jones went missing from her apartment located at 1460 E. Johnson Avenue in Pensacola, Florida on May 31, 2017. The disappearance captivated and mobilized the community to find Naomi. Her remains were eventually found...
On May 30, 2018, 23 year old Juvon Simon was shot twice through the closed door of a neighbor’s apartment by Florida City Police Officer Frantz Hardy. Simon died as a result of his injuries. The Haggard Law Firm has joined with the Law Firm of Asnis, Srebnick & Kaufman to represent the Simon family. We have jointly filed, on behalf of Simon's mother, a lawsuit against the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s office and The City of Florida City.
The intention of the legal filing (a pure bill of discovery) is to make sure the family has access to all evidence...
On August 16th, 2018 The Haggard Law Firm will present Winning Case Strategies in Premises Liability, FREE CLE Credit Seminar. The event will take place from 1 to 5pm at the Doubletree Jacksonville Riverfront. To RSVP for the seminar, email of call Stacy at email@example.com 305.446.5700
Among the topics to be discussed, road construction cases. That portion of the seminar will be lead by Haggard Law Trial Lawyer Douglas McCarron, who wrote the following article on the topic which was originally published in the Daily Business Review.
In today’s day and age, road construction is everywhere. It causes frustration and traffic jams throughout South Florida. More importantly, the road construction causes confusion for motorists on how they are to traverse a construction zone.
When analyzing an auto case, it is extremely important to determine if road construction played a hand in the accident. Investigating and taking photographs and video of the scene is crucial. Road construction projects change on a daily basis, so it is imperative to get photographs/video of the scene as soon as practicable.
Depending on the severity of the accident and the injuries involved, the police may document the scene. Many times, even in smaller accidents, construction personnel take photographs or otherwise document the scene. Nevertheless, it is critical that no stone go unturned in trying to locate photographs and video of the accident site. Look for red-light cameras and business surveillance equipment in the area of an accident and make sure to send subpoenas or spoliation letters.
Generally, road construction projects are funded by either the state or county government. As such, the project plans and documentation are public records. Within the plans, you will find a plethora of information such as the identity of the general contractor, the subcontractors, the construction engineering and inspection firm and the daily progress reports. Most importantly, the documents will enable you to identify the entity that was responsible for the maintenance of traffic , or MOTs, for the project.
A duck boat with 31 people on board capsized and sank to the bottom of Table Rock Lake in Missouri during a severe thunderstorm on Thursday, resulting in one of the deadliest boat accidents in American history. There were official weather warnings before the operators of this boat took it onto the lake with the lives they were responsible for. The Associated Press reports that "a private inspector said ...
Deep into the summer months, swimming pools offer a well-earned respite from the sauna intensity of the sun, and the steambath that follows a warm summer rain. We eagerly jump into swimming pools at hotels, resorts, friends’ houses and on cruise ships. Those who own pools usually don’t think about pool safety all that much, apart from supervising any children who may be using it. We assume, subconsciously, that other peoples’ pools, and especially those operated by businesses, are at least as safe as the one we have at our own house, and that the rules at home will be followed as strictly in a public pool as they would be anywhere else.
These are dangerous assumptions. If you think that checking the safety of a swimming pool before using it is unnecessary or smacks of paranoia, consider this: drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children ages 1–4 in Florida. Too many children (of all ages) have drowned without a capable supervisor watching the area, and others have drowned while those nearby confused horseplay with a deadly drowning underway. Our team at Haggard Law Firm has litigated cases time and time again of drownings or near drownings that could have been prevented by those responsible for a pool taking the proper measures to make it the safest environment possible. And yes, many of these cases have been again apartment complexes and hotels.
Here are easy steps to take to ensure safety around pools during your summer vacation:
Every trial lawyer understands the significance of creating and developing a strong, clear theme for their case at trial. The theme of your case initiates a tone towards your Case-in-Chief and if powerful enough, it will dictate which fork in the road, favorable or unfavorable to your client, the jury takes.
Opening statement is the second opportunity the trial lawyer has to begin planting the seed of bias in favor of his or her client—seasoned and skilled trial lawyers understand voir dire is really the first opportunity. It is critical to communicate to the jury and ingrain within each member of the jury a persuasive and powerful theme. Why? Once your theme is etched into the minds of the jury, each juror will begin to look for evidence that supports that theme. If a particular piece of evidence contradicts that theme they will likely discard that piece of evidence or they may not associate as much credence with it as they would have had it fit with your theme. This is vital to the outcome of your case. The theme essentially summarizes your case for the jury. Whether it is a short phrase or one word, the theme should capture the case theory, tone and the area of focus for the jury. The theme should be simple and easy to understand. I can share with you a case example in a recent trial of The Haggard Law Firm—the case of Trinard Snell.
Our firm tried the negligent security case against a gas station owner and operator, which resulted in a $5.7 million dollar verdict on behalf of the deceased Plaintiff and his survivors. Understanding the importance of a clear theory and a memorable, persuasive theme, we began opening statement with our theme— inadequate security on a crime-ridden property.
The case theme was presented to the jury at the very beginning of opening statement, repeated throughout the entire opening statement and reiterated at the end. Why? A concept in psychology—primacy, and recency—tells us that order is important! The primacy effect is described as the ability of an individual to recall information better that was presented earlier rather than later. The recency effect is described as the ability of an individual to remember information presented most recently to them better than information that was presented earlier. When you combine the two, optimal information recollection is achieved. Therefore, at minimum, the jury must here your theme at the beginning and at the end of your presentation.
Haggard Law Firm trial lawyer and Managing Partner, Michael Haggard email MAH@HaggardLawFirm.com
Testimony and Evidence Presented
After your jury has been indoctrinated with the theme of your case through voir dire and opening statement, you must keep the jury on that same track during the presentation of the oral testimony and physical evidence. Depending on the length of the trial, the jury will hear days to weeks of testimony. It is their job to sort through the evidence presented and make a just decision at the end of the trial. After weeks of testimony, jurors often become overwhelmed with the volume of information and evidence presented. It is the trial lawyer’s job to organize this testimony and evidence presented to the jury in a manner that diminishes this information overload. I use the analogy of a train on a train track to best describe this concept. The theme is the locomotive. Your jury represents the passengers on the train. The trial lawyer must keep his or her passengers onboard throughout the entire trial until arriving at destination “Favorable Verdict.”
One way to ensure your train passengers are not disembarking is to reiterate your theme and theory of your case throughout each segment of the trial. Your theme should be clear, concise and easy to recognize. The theme is the lens through which your jury will view the case. It is imperative that the lens you provide to the jury is the correct diopter—representing a powerful and persuasive theme. An incorrect diopter will result in a hazy, unclear view of your case and perhaps an unfavorable verdict. Mock trials and jury focus groups are a great way to gauge the lens diopter your jury will need.
WE INVITE REFERRAL ATTORNEYS AND CO-COUNSEL TO CONTACT US AT INFO@HAGGARDLAWFIRM.COM or 305.446.5700
As simple as this may sound, many lawyers have a difficult time successfully implementing these techniques. Through our years of law school and demanding casework at our prosperous law firms, our legal minds are trained to analyze the complexities and minutiae of the law, creating sophisticated legal arguments for opposing counsel and the court. The basic techniques of persuasive communication are often neglected due to the lawyer’s engrossment with the complexities of the legal issues of their case and their own familiarity with legal terms and attitude of simplicity. For example, the trial attorney that uses the theme of “Negligent Actions” will be rudely surprised by the jurors’ varying definitions of negligence. Despite the lawyer’s familiarity with the term “negligence” and its rudimentary elements, it is not so easily nor correctly defined by the jury. Through juror focus groups and mock trials, the lawyer can clear out the fog and rework the case theme prior to trial. During the deliberations at mock trials, I often hear jurors begin an explanation with “Personally, I feel that…” or “To me, this means…” These phrases are indicative of “information gap-filling.” Jurors will pull from their personal experiences to fill in the gaps. Those gaps are either areas where the jury is confused or has simply forgotten the information presented. Regardless of the reason for the existence of the gap, the juror will instinctively try to fill that gap in order to make sense of the legal questions they are tasked with answering. This illustrates why trial lawyers cannot forget the basics and cannot neglect the importance of simplifying and effectively communicating those complex issues to the members of the jury. The skilled trial lawyer will be mindful of this. The skilled trial lawyer will have an engaging theme.
Later today, we will once again be honored to stand with our client, Manuel Oliver, the father of 17 year old Parkland mass shooting victim Joaquin Oliver. Only days after the Oliver family accepted the high school graduation diploma for their late son, NBC's Today Show aired part one of an interview with Former Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson who was the school resource officer assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the day a gun killed 17 people and injured 17 more.
Today's press conference with Mr. Oliver will be to give reaction to that NBC network television...
By: Michael Haggard (Bio) and Christopher Marlowe (Bio), The Haggard Law Firm
Negligent security cases are time consuming, very costly, require a hyper attention to detail, a team effort and knowledge of foreseeability, and in many cases criminal law and a ‘typical’ negligent security case does not and will not ever exist. Our firm has handled hundreds of these cases over the years and have obtained more than $400 million in results for our clients. We can most affirmatively say the immense challenges of these cases are outweighed by the results that can help bring justice to a victim or family that the criminal justice system may never be able to provide, while also changing the way a business or entire industry operates.
In a wrongful death car accident case, we all know to preserve evidence, request the relevant reports, statements and traffic homicide reports. We contact the witnesses tied to this particular moment in time, hound law enforcement and medical examiners to make sure we have all evidence tied to the incident, and begin working these pieces into the theory we hope will increase the probability of success at the end of the case. While this basic and incomplete framework is an important part of a negligent security case as well, it does not account for the historical analysis necessary to place the subject incident in the perspective necessary to appreciate which theory is best, and why.
Power of Foreseeability: $100 million verdict
Like any of the most complicated areas of practice there are multiple layers to consider when litigating a negligent security case. Foreseeability of the act in question, most often a crime, is the first element of the case to consider. For example, it is good to know whether a particular shooting or sexual assault occurred in the common area of an apartment complex, over which the owner or manager had exclusive control. It is important to know whether there is a history of any such activity upon the Premises, and in the areas adjacent or related thereto. There is a history of cases where the Plaintiff counsel assumes that because the crime does not appear to be a “hit” and because the crime on the property is “bad” that their case is a winner. Some of the most common arguments by defense council are tied to the character of the victim or because the area may have a high crime rate there isn’t much the property owner could have done to stop the incident that caused the death or harm of your client. In most states, neither argument has much merit because of the statutes that lay out the responsibility of the property owner to take reasonable measures to protect all guests, residents or customers on a commercial property from harm. In November 2007, we successfully obtained a $102.7 million verdict in a negligent security shooting case thought to be the largest verdict of its kind in the country. We represented a patron of an exotic dance club. Our client sat waiting in his car for his friend to return from retrieving his wallet when he was approached by an unknown person who attempted to rob him at gunpoint. The assailant shot our young client. The bullets rendered him a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic. The jury found that the strip mall where the club was located did not have sufficient security, as there was only one guard on duty. The strip mall’s ownership admitted they had never spent one dollar on security or safety despite the fact there were 26 violent crimes on the same property during the seven years prior to the shooting of our client. Video on Case
Injured or lost a love one on the property of a business, apartment complex or hotel? We want to hear your story, click here or call 305.446.5700
According to WTVJ-TV in Miami, police have charged a local man who they say "pimped a teenage girl out of a Hialeah hotel" while the suspect was already in jail on a separate charge.
42-year-old Edward Lee was arrested on charges that included: human trafficking and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. By law, forcing any minor to have sex is considered human trafficking.
Trial lawyer Todd Michaels of The Haggard Law Firm said "For too long, human trafficking has been ignored. After drug dealing, it is the second most committed criminal act in the world. The horrors that the victims face...