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Haggard Law Firm > HLF Letter

$1.75 Million Settlement in Bicycle Crash Death Case

The Haggard Law Firm’s Michael Haggard and Christopher Marlowe have obtained a $1.75 Million settlement in a case where a father of two was killed by a county bus.

Eric Tenner was happily married to his wife Maria, with whom he had two young boys. On the morning of October 8, 2014, he headed out before work to get in his daily exercise on his bicycle. He was an avid and competitive cyclist, who was wearing all of the recommended safety equipment. Just south of the intersection of SW 124th Street and the US1 Busway in southwest Miami-Dade County, Mr. Tenner was struck from behind by a County bus driven by a Mr. Jose Sequeira. Mr. Tenner died several days later at Kendall Regional Hospital.

“He was an avid and competitive cyclist, who was wearing all of the recommended safety equipment.”

Mr. Sequeira, the bus driver, was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury. The criminal charges were later dropped, as the State of Florida was unable to prove that Mr. Sequeira was aware he had struck a bicyclist.

Tenner with his young sons

Miguel Mora, the driver of the second bus that was behind Mr. Sequeira, pulled over and stopped to assist Mr. Tenner after the accident. He has been driving this particular route for years, and testified that bicyclists and pedestrians are a constant presence there. He acknowledged that bus drivers are specifically trained to expect the unexpected and that when he is driving, it is on “pins and needles” because as professional bus drivers, they are held to a higher standard. He further opined that “they’re constantly getting hit. There’s a lot of accidents on the Busway.”

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Throughout the discovery phase, the county correctly identified signage indicating that the Busway was for use of emergency and transit vehicles only. At trial, the main contested issue would have been whether Mr. Sequeira should have reasonably anticipated, seen and reacted to a bicyclist such as Mr. Tenner on the busway at that time of the morning when the sun had not yet risen.

Though the parties were initially excused from the mediation requirement because the Estate would not have accepted the sovereign immunity limits voluntarily, as the case progressed, both sides began discussing whether a negotiated settlement reflecting the strengths and weaknesses of both sides could be obtained. Dr. Fred Raffa, an economist and expert witness on economic damages, gave his deposition on May 16, 2017. He had voluminous materials to review in order to render his opinion regarding the total economic loss of the Tenner Estate.

His review included tax returns from Mr. Tenner’s longstanding employment with one company, as well as the Tenner’s side work in the insurance field. Ultimately, it was determined that the Estate had suffered past and future economic losses in excess of $3,500,000. This number was not contested by a defense expert, and these damages do not include the pain and suffering claims of Maria or of either of their two surviving sons.

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C

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If a jury were to have agreed with the two eyewitnesses on board the buses, that Mr. Sequeira should have seen Mr. Tenner, as they did, from a great distance prior to the accident, a verdict would have greatly exceeded the negotiated settlement achieved at the voluntary mediation on June 14, 2017.

Miami Dade County agreed to a claims bill in the amount of $1,450,000 above the $300,000 cap payable pursuant to the sovereign immunity statute, and Governor Ron DeSantis ultimately signed H.B. 6513 into law on May 23, 2019.

$1 Million Settlement in Negligent Security Case

The Haggard Law Firm’s Douglas McCarron has obtained a $1 Million settlement for a gunshot victim who was rendered a paraplegic.

It was September 1, 2016 when the victim in this case, 37-year-old Twyaun Jones, was relaxing outside of his Miami-Dade apartment home after a long day of work as a tire technician.

As he was walking back inside to his apartment, an individual came from behind and shot him.

A day earlier the victim had told a known drug dealer to stop conducting business on the property of the apartment complex. Attorney McCarron uncovered evidence (police reports & calls of service) highlighting that the property had a continuous problem with drugs. Multiple police reports described the apartment complex as a “high crime and drug-prone” property. The managers of the property did not provide an adequate amount of security to prevent a tragedy like this one from occurring.

The case was settled for policy limits.

Haggard Law Firm trial lawyer Douglas McCarron

$1.69 Million Settlement in Double Murder Negligent Security Case

Haggard Law Firm trial lawyer Christopher Marlowe obtained a $1.69 million settlement in a negligent security case involving the murder of two cousins.

Ken Jean and Bensen Cineas lived on Florida’s southwest coast.  They were traveling to an immigration appointment in Miami with a friend late at night, before arriving at a relative’s apartment in North Miami around 3 am.  On January 31, 2016, around 4 pm, the cousins were found dead in the front seat of a car. They were found shot in the back of the head, with bullet casings in the back of the car. It is believed that they were dead for approximately twelve hours.  Their friend was nowhere to be found. 

Haggard Law Firm’s Christopher Marlowe

The apartment complex owned by the defendant, RYAN 15401 6 AVE LLC, had 24-hour security, including a roving patrol.  Attorney Marlowe learned during case discovery that the security booth was unmanned for the shift before, during and after the shooting occurred.  Security guards testified that they had not been paid regularly for more than a year, and it was common for guards to skip their shifts.  Additionally, when the front gate was without a guard, the protocol was to leave the gate open.  The gate dedicated for resident use was always broken, so the property was often completely unsecured.  No motive was determined for why the victims were shot, or definitively by who.

The Haggard Law Firm has litigated hundreds of negligent security cases for more than two decades obtaining more than $300 million in verdicts and settlements in these cases for our clients.

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Pool Drowning Case Settles for $1M

$1 Million Settlement in Case Involving Grandfather Who Drowned During Grandson’s Birthday party

Ocala, Fla – BG Ocala Ranch has agreed to pay $1 Million to the family of an Ocala man who drowned during his 5-year-old grandson’s birthday party.

The family of the 66-year-old victim says the death of their family patriarch was entirely preventable. Children were terrified as adult partygoers performed CPR to the grandfather after he was found floating in the luxury event space home’s resort-style pool.

An investigation conducted by the family’s legal team revealed that the BG Ocala Ranch never should have been offering to customers the property as an event space. The Haggard Law Firm’s Jason Brenner and attorney L. Edward McClellan of McClellan & Batsel, discovered:

  • the property was an unlicensed commercial operation conducting business on residential property. That including soliciting rentals for use of its water park
  • the two “lifeguards” the part organizer, the victim’s daughter, paid BG Ranch for were not lifeguards, they were the husband and daughter of the property’s representatives
  • the pool known as the “water park” was not up to code with problems that included no signage for diving, depth, safety makers, or ladders as required by Florida law. The pool’s water clarity was poor and should not have been open for use by anyone.
Haggard Law Firm trial lawyer Jason Brenner

Brenner says “the family hopes the settlement will result in businesses who operate public swimming pools to verify they are in compliance with all applicable building and safety codes. They also hope it stands as a warning to the public to make sure a swimming area has all safety measures in place before using it. The family doesn’t want another family to have to endure the lifelong loss they will suffer.”

For decades, The Haggard Law Firm has been fighting for justice on behalf of families who have lost a loved one to a drowning and victims of near drownings. Haggard Law has successfully advocated for improvements to standard pool equipment. Click to learn more

$24.5 Million Verdict in Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Death Case

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla – Following a four-day trial, that included only two hours of deliberation, a Broward County jury has awarded $24.5 million to the family of a mother of four children who died due to avoidable complications during childbirth caused by a condition the medical team was aware of before the surgery.

Litigation and trial team including Haggard Law’s Todd Michaels on the left standing with Rodolfo Torres to his right.

On July 21, 2015 Lilia Torres arrived at Premiere Perinatal Associates for a scheduled C-section which was delayed until the 22nd. During the procedure, she suffered massive blood loss due to a condition, placenta previa, which had been diagnosed months earlier and was managed throughout the pregnancy. A hysterectomy was performed due to the massive blood loss.

The baby was delivered on July 22, but Lilia went into cardiac and pulmonary shock with severe hypoxia due to the blood loss. She was placed on a vent and began receiving blood cells and plasma. She returned to the operating room for exploratory surgery and passed away on  July 22nd, 2015 resulting from the hemorrhagic shock and multi-organ failure.


Lilia Torres

 She left behind her husband Rodolfo and four minor children, three girls and one boy. Lilia was the caretaker of her entire family.

Attorney Daniel Harwin, an attorney from Freedland, Harwin, Valori, represented the Torres family and tried the case alongside co-counsel Todd Michaels of The Haggard Law Firm.

The defendants in the case included:  Adolfo Gonzalez-Garcia, M.D., Jerry Gilles, M.D., Jorge Gallo, M.D., Julio Coello, M.D., Kei Nakanishi, M.D., Phoenix Obstetrics Gynecology, Llc, Emcare, Inc., Premiere Perinatal Associates, P.A. and Envision Healthcare Corporation.

A personal note from Michael Haggard

On October 6th, 2018, I celebrated my 2nd Kidneyversary! I could only do that due to God’s grace and my brother-in-law, Major Allen Buckhalt (US Army Blackhawk Pilot and Iraq/Afghanistan war Veteran), who was a match to donate his kidney and save my life. As all of you know (because you have been there for me and my family this whole time), I have polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a genetic, life-threatening and incurable disease. There are only two treatments, dialysis or a kidney transplant. Most PKD patients have to go on dialysis and suffer debilitating effects. The PKD Foundation is changing all that as we march towards treatment and a cure!

It is not lost on me that I am now 100% back to normal and Allen is proudly serving once again. Living kidney donation is phenomenal and we need to encourage everyone to give life. Thanks in part to your help, the FDA recently approved JYNARQUE™, the first treatment in the United States for adult patients with the most common form of PKD (ADPKD). It has been show to preserve kidney function and slow the development of cysts. There are also clinical trials ongoing to develop not only a treatment, but a cure!

The curse of this disease is also a blessing. PKD is genetic. Both Maddie and Carson each have a 50% chance of inheriting this disease, and as you can imagine that “haunts” me each night. But even if you told me tomorrow that Maddie and Carson were in the clear, we would never stop fighting this fight. All you have to do is see the devastating effects of PKD on families. I have lost my maternal grandmother, uncle and mother to this disease and I intend on beating it out of existence! Because it is genetic and we are able to isolate the gene, we have made advances that have never been accomplished in other disease research.

This year we are hosting our 9th Annual PKD Kidney Casino for a Cure! Last year we raised nearly $120,000 for the PKD Foundation, and this year, with your help, we hope to surpass that goal!

Bekki and I chair the PKD Founders Council, where we are accelerating efforts to have every dollar raised go immediately towards PKD research. With your incredible help, over the past decade we have raised close to $600,000, funding multiple PKD research projects! We will find a cure for PKD in my lifetime. I have been given a second chance at life and I will not waste it. I know you will help us with our goal. Many of you have donated in the past and we desperately need your help again! Please do what you did last year or, if you can, do even more!

I cannot thank each of you enough for your past support and hope that you will continue to support our efforts this year. We want all of you to come to the event on Saturday, May 4th, but if you cannot, please look at the sponsorship levels and consider being there in spirit with us! No donation is too small. Checks should be made payable to the PKD Foundation and can be mailed directly to The Haggard Law Firm, 330 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, FL 33134. ATTN: Stacy Laffere. The link below also allows you to RSVP, purchase a sponsorship, purchase individual tickets or donate directly to the PKD Foundation. The Kidney Casino Night is live on the PKD Foundation’s website so you can RSVP and register online using a credit card! Visit www.pkdcure.org/miami-kidney-casino  

                Thank you so much for your consideration of a donation to this worthy cause!    

                                                                                               Sincerely,                                                                                                 Michael Haggard

PRESS CONFERENCE: Lawsuit Against Credit Union in ATM Murder Case

Family of Local Librarian Murdered in ATM Robbery to Announce Negligent Security Lawsuit Against Credit Union

Reward For Information Leading to Killer(s) Increases to $23,000

Miami Gardens, Fla – The family of Jaime Humet, who was killed on December 10th, 2018 while leaving the ATM of the Dade County Federal Credit Union located at 20645 NW 2nd Avenue in Miami Gardens, says the business did not have sufficient security measures in place to prevent the tragedy that claimed the life of their beloved Jaime.

Humet’s mother Pilar and brother Nick will be joined by their attorneys Pedro Echarte of The Haggard Law Firm and Angel Diaz of Kirschner, Groff & Diaz for a press conference on Wednesday March 27th at 11am just off the property of the Credit Union (attached picture of location). The family and their attorneys will discuss what security measures should have been taken long before the murder of the 47-year-old Miami-Dade County librarian whose mother describes as an “angel.” It was “a foreseeable crime considering the nature of the business and its location in a notoriously high crime area” says Echarte.

The family will also plead for the public’s help to assist the Miami Gardens Police Department catch those responsible for taking their loved one’s life. Miami-Dade, Florida Keys Crime Stoppers has increased the reward for information leading to the capture of the killer(s) to $23,000 (flyer attached to email).Attached to email:

Press Conference Contact: J.P. Hervis 305.321.4293 (CELL) JP@brandstorycommunications.com

Nearly $5 Million Jury Verdict Against Royal Caribbean in Passenger Death

Miami, FL – Late Thursday, following a four-day trial,  a federal court jury in Miami delivered a $4.8 million verdict against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the death of passenger Richard Puchalski.

A cruise to Alaska in July of 2016 is how the Puchalski family chose to enjoy the 70th birthday of its patriarch Richard. But that celebration vacation aboard RCCL’s Explorer of The Seas turned into a traumatic tragedy when Puchalski suffered a massive cardiac arrest.

Michael Haggard and Todd Michaels of The Haggard Law Firm in Coral Gables and co-counsel Phil Parrish,  argued to the jury that the massive cardiac event was the direct result of decisions made by RCCL‘s shipboard doctor, Dr. Amanda Sanders. Puchalski went to the ship’s infirmary in the midst of a serious but treatable cardiac incident.

$2 Million Negligent Security Settlement Involving Victim who was Stabbed 12 Times

$2 Million Settlement in Negligent Security Case Involving Apartment Complex that Didn’t Remove Problem Resident Before He Stabbed Plaintiff 12 Times

Pompano Beach, FL – Patricia Norris never knew the danger she entered when she moved to the Palm Aire Gardens Apartments in late 2016.  For nearly ten months the manager of the complex had received complaints from multiple young female residents that a resident named Charles Gipson was threatening, harassing, and stalking them. One resident even took out a restraining order against him. Despite the warnings, neither the Palm Aire Gardens Condominium Association nor property managers (First Service Residential Florida) took any steps to keep residents safe from Gipson.

Safety Questions To Ask Your Landlord

How Safe Is the Apartment You Want to Rent? Key Questions to Ask a Landlord Before Signing a Lease

A sense of security and safety for you and your family is key to making a house feel like a home.

Unfortunately, many landlords don’t provide, and in some cases aren’t legally required to share, crime and safety information to a potential tenant.

“Along with costs and amenities, tenants should be prepared to ask a variety of questions about safety measures before signing a lease and moving into a new apartment or home” says Michael Haggard. Haggard is the Managing Partner of The Haggard Law Firm (www.haggardlawfirm.com) which has made a mark successfully representing tenants who are injured or killed by someone committing a crime that could have been prevented if the landlord of the property where the crime occurs had taken proper security measures.