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HLF Letter

Haggard Law Firm > HLF Letter

Security Professionals To Learn From Haggard Law Attorneys

The more than 22,000 security professionals from around the world attending this year’s American Society For Industrial Security (ASIS) Conference will have three opportunities to learn how to avoid finding themselves on the wrong end of a negligent security lawsuit.

The Haggard Law Firm’s Michael Haggard and Todd Michaels are leading three different seminars/presentations during the 4-day conference in Las Vegas.

On Monday, September 24th, Haggard and Michaels will present “The Nightmare that Won’t End: A Negligent Security Mock Trial.

Tuesday, September 25th, Haggard will lead the seminar “Security Protocols and Procedures: Tips on How to Avoid Losses in the Courtroom.” Later that day Haggard joins Michaels in presenting “Top 10 Tips to Prevent a Negligent Security Lawsuit on Your Property.” The ASIS conference is the largest gathering of security professionals in the world.

ASIS/GSX International was founded in 1955 as a global community of security professionals and practitioners. It attracts members from almost every industry in the private and public sectors. The security conference is expected to address the comprehensive and diverse nature of modern security while creating an integrated experience for security professionals that will help them understand and alter the industry landscape where necessary.

Click to read Michael Haggard’s Bio

Click to read Todd Michaels’ Bio

VIDEO: Michael Haggard discusses how negligent security civil action can spark change to help improve safety in most areas of society.

 

 

Nearly $1.2 Million Verdict For Man Beat & Shot at Popular Restaurant

(Pictured Above from Left to Right, Following Thursday’s Verdict: Haggard Law’s Todd Michaels, Champion Legal’s Dan Karanikis, Client Nick Pastor, co-counsel Robert Solomon of Saban and Solomon, Haggard Law’s James Blecke)

Broward County Jury Blames Longtime Las Olas Hotspot for Shooting and Beating of Patron, Orders Business to Pay Victim Nearly $1.2 Million

 

Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Following a 9 day trial, a Broward County jury agreed that management of longtime Las Olas hotspot Mangos could have prevented the beating and shooting of a man if it had adequate security measures in place. The victim (plaintiff) Nicolas Pastor, was awarded $1.182 Million for the injuries he says altered the course of his life.

The incident occurred March 24, 2012.  Pastor was alongside a couple of friends waiting for a table at Mangos in Ft. Lauderdale. The manager of Mangos told the police that night that Pastor was aggressively grabbed by a man inside the restaurant who began viciously beating him along with two other men.

March 24th, 2012 – The scene outside of Mangos Restaurant and Lounge following the beating and shooting of Nick Pastor.

“Mangos had no security and no security procedures to deal with this fight.  According to their manager, their only concern was pushing their customer who had been attacked out into the street with his attackers,”  says Todd Michaels of The Haggard Law Firm.

Michaels tried and built the case with co-counsel Robert Solomon of Saban and Solomon.

Once the fight was in the street, one of the assailants pulled out a pistol and shot Pastor. The then 32-year-old man was rushed to Broward General Hospital where doctors completed emergency lifesaving procedures including an exploratory laparotomy and a thoracotomy. During the trial, Michaels and Solomon made clear that six years later the attack on their client shattered his life-limiting his ability to work, to sleeping, and restricting his ability to play with his son.

FL Supreme Court: Release School Shooting Surveillance Video

According to various news reports,  the Florida Supreme Court ordered the release of exterior surveillance video showing law enforcement’s response to the mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.  The Associated Press reports that the Broward County school board aimed to “block disclosure of the video as sought by media organizations…the school board contended releasing the video might reveal security blind spots at the school.” State Prosecutors were also against the video’s release because it could be evidence in the case against the accused shooter.

On February 14th, 2018, police say 19-year-old Nicholas Cruz entered the high school and began his armed rampage that would steal the lives of 17 people and injure nearly 20 more.

“We applaud the Court’s decision to release the unseen video to the public,” says trial lawyer Todd Michaels of The Haggard Law Firm.  Haggard Law represents the family of 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver and the family of coach and teacher Scott Beigel who were both were killed during the shooting, as well as teacher Stacey Lippel, who was injured. Michaels says the focus of these families is to help make a change to prevent a tragedy like this and the school shootings of the past to happen again.

Michaels adds, “The release of this video and all other information about the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14th can only help in figuring out different ways to prevent this scale of tragedy from happening again. For security experts, every detail is crucial in developing plans of action and new operational procedures. The detail can even help in the selection of the best modern security equipment.”

It is unclear when the video will be released.

 

Pictured: (Left to Right)
Haggard Law Trial Lawyers Todd Michael and Michael Haggard and the parents of 17 year old Parkland shooting victim Joaquin Oliver, his father Manuel and mother Patricia Oliver.

Michaels Joins Exclusive Group of Florida Trial Lawyers

Congratulations to Haggard Law Firm trial lawyer Todd Michaels for being named a Fellow of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. The Florida Justice Association’s Fellows program recognizes individual accomplishments as a trial lawyer and contributions to the mission of the FJA. Michaels was voted into the exclusive and distinguished program by his peers.

To qualify, members of the Fellows program must be past presidents of the Florida Justice Association, a current voting member,a board member for at least 5 years, a recipient of the Crystal EAGLE Award, and an Eagle Patron.

 

About Florida Justice Association

The Florida Justice Association (FJA), formerly the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (AFTL), is dedicated to strengthening and upholding Florida’s civil justice system and protecting the rights of Florida’s citizens and consumers.

FJA works in the legislative, political and public arenas to ensure that Floridians know and understand the importance of their rights to justice and to make certain that these rights, which are at the very core of what it means to be American, are safeguarded and protected.

Click here to contact Michaels

Todd Michaels Bio

Todd Michaels Esq, a lifelong Miami-Dade resident, joined The Haggard Law Firm in 2009. In May 2014, he was named partner at the firm. Todd handles a wide array of the firm’s cases involving wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury, representing clients who were injured through the negligence of others. His practice primarily involves negligent security throughout the State of Florida and nationwide.  Todd has been a frequent speaker on various aspects of negligent security law to different Legal and Security industry groups throughout the country, and has had articles relating to negligent security cases published.  Click to read full bio

 

VIDEO

Michaels discusses how trial lawyers must always be focused on trial, not a settlement.

 

 

 

Common Conditions that Give Rise to a Premises Liability Case

On August 16th, 2018 The Haggard Law Firm will present Winning Case Strategies in Premises Liability, a FREE CLE Credit Seminar. The event will take place from 1 to 5pm at the Doubletree Jacksonville Riverfront. To RSVP for the seminar, email or call Stacy at slaffere@haggardlawfirm.com   305.446.5700 

This article about premises liability cases was authored by trial lawyer and Haggard Law partner Douglas McCarron who will be one of the presenters at the CLE Seminar

Common Conditions that Give Rise to a Premises Liability Case

by Douglas Mccarron

In my experience, the most common condition in any premises liability case is the lack of guardianship of the property.  In most instances, the property owner and/or manager fails to put in place policies and procedures that ensure that the premises is kept in a reasonably safe condition.  For example, in many negligent security cases it becomes obvious that the owner and management fail to do anything that assesses violent crime occurring at the property.  Without knowing what type of crime is happening, it is nearly impossible to know what type of security measures are needed.  How can the owner make decisions about access control, manned security, and surveillance cameras, if they have failed to gather the crime statistics for the property and the surrounding area?  The answer is simple, they do not know and consequently violent crime continues to victimize the property’s guests and invitees.  In slip and fall cases, many properties fail to ensure that their employees follow the internal policies and procedures to maintain the property in a safe manner.  This leads to dangerous conditions being left on the property for an unacceptable amount of time. 

If property owners simply prepare policies and procedures for their employees to follow and have appropriate supervision to ensure that the policies and procedures are being followed, then the most dangerous conditions would cease to exist.  Obviously, financial considerations come into play for the property owners.  In developing a premises liability case, it is important to discover exactly what property owners are failing to do and why they are failing to do it.  Jurors do not appreciate property owners turning a blind eye and pleading ignorance.  Jurors also do not accept that the owners do not want to put the necessary resources (money) into the property to make it safe.

 

Navigating the Road Construction Case

 

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 slaffere@haggardlawfirm.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.

Navigating The Road Construction Case

Article by, Douglas McCarron, The Haggard Law Firm.

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.

“No Excuses from Boat Operators”, Reaction to Duck Boat Tragedy

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 ….that he warned the company operating duck boats…about design flaws putting the watercraft at greater risk of sinking, less than a year before the accident.”

Tia Coleman lost 10 of her loved ones in that tragedy, including three children, her husband and five other members of her family.

Michael Haggard, the Managing Partner of the Haggard Law Firm says his law firm prays for the families that have suffered so much from the tragedy.

He added, “It is unfathomable that a maritime commercial operator can claim that severe thunderstorms, extremely high winds, and unsafe water conditions can come out of nowhere. With today’s GPS and Radar technology, this is simply not the case. This vessel should have never been allowed to go on this trip.” The Duck Boat operators, like any business owners, are responosible for the safety of their customers/guests. The Haggard Law FIrm has an extensive history of successfully litigating cases where business owners do not take every needed step to keep customer safe as well as maritime and drowning cases.

“This is was an absolutely preventable tragedy that one can only hope changes the standards, oversite and design of this or any other type of similar vessel.

to read full article from Associated Press, click here

CONTACT HAGGARD LAW: CLICK HERE  or call 305.446.5700

 

Reaction to Las Vegas Hotel Suing Mass Shooting Victims

 

Earlier this week it was reported that the owner of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas filed a lawsuit against more than 1,000 victims of a mass shooting that killed 58 people in 2017. The MGM Resorts International’s lawsuit does not seek money and appears to be a judicial bid to avoid liability and dismiss claims against it. On October 1st of last year, 64 year old.

Stephen Paddock opened fire at festival attendees before committing suicide. Paddock had set up a firing point with 23 weapons in the Mandalay Bay overlooking the Route 91 Harvest festival, also owned by MGM.

Trial lawyer Christopher Marlowe of The Haggard Law Firm, which has litigated hundreds of negligent security cases many of which were against hotels/motels,  says MGM Resorts International overwhelming failed to pick up the shooter’s behavior that day and had security issues that lead to the tragedy in the weeks and months before it occurred.

“MGM Resorts and Mandalay Bay, in addition to facilitating mass murder at the  Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, are now attempting to use the court system to bastardize federal law and revictimize the families of those injured and killed on its property” says Marlowe.

He adds that the Federal SAFETY Act does not provide blanket immunity to landowners and operators who simply write a check to a security consulting firm which happens to be certified by the Department of Homeland Security.  The premise of this lawsuit against all of these victims is that, by hiring a certified firm, MGM had no further obligations whatsoever to its guests.

Marlowe says that the introduction to this absurd lawsuit states, “[Stephen] Paddock intended to inflict mass injury, death and destruction… The post-attack investigation revealed that Paddock brought in his van, which he parked in the hotel garage, 90 pounds of explosives, consisting of 20 two-pound containers of exploding targets, 10 one-pound containers of exploding targets and 2 twenty-pound bags of explosive precursors.”

click here to review notable Haggard Law Negligent Security Cases

The Haggard Law Firm partner adds “The “Seller” of the Qualified Anti–Terrorism Technology used at the festival, Contemporary Services Corporation, was presumably not in control over the security protocols and procedures relative to guests’ stockpiling of weapons at Mandalay Bay in the days leading up to this attack.  The shooter, in addition to the explosives he collected over a prolonged period of time, had twenty-three firearms in his hotel room at the time of the massacre. ”

The overwhelming failure by Mandalay Bay and MGM to appreciate the buildup of an entire militia’s worth of weaponry in a hotel room, by itself, is an independent and direct proximate cause of what ultimately transpired.  The hotel’s effort to immunize itself from negligence spanning not hours, but rather, days, weeks or months of security neglect, cannot be pawned off under a federal statute designed to protect purveyors of security technology for mass terrorism crimes that unfold in a matter of seconds. This particular act of terrorism required the kind of neglect that brings in boardroom level failures across every spectrum of hotel management – not just a few discreet minutes during a single music festival. – Christopher Marlowe

Summer Swimming Safety Tips

 

By Christopher Marlowe, trial lawyer, The Haggard Law Firm

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:

Case Themes – Jury Selection Through Closing Argument

 

By Michael Haggard and Todd Michaels, The Haggard Law Firm

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 Statements

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.”

More on Negligent Security

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.

 

 

Nuances of the Case Theme