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Haggard Law Firm > HLF Letter

VERDICT: $4.78 Million in St. Lucie County Negligent Security Case

Following a two week trial at the St. Lucie County Courthouse, Haggard Law Firm attorneys Michael Haggard, Christopher Marlowe, and James Blecke obtained a $4.783 Million verdict in a negligent security case involving the murder of a mother of three.

42-year-old Fort Pierce resident Tanya Oliver was shot in the parking lot of the Elks Lodge in Fort Pierce on March 2, 2015. She eventually succumbed to her wounds and died on July 5, 2016.

Haggard Law represented the Oliver’s children in this negligent security case, including one minor who was orphaned by Oliver’s preventable killing.

Ms. Oliver pictured left.

The shooting occurred in the parking lot of the Elks Lodge in Ft. Pierce which was operating as a nightclub. There was a fight inside the business when the shooter’s group initiated conflict with the victim’s friend.  All combatants were ejected from inside of the club into the parking lot, where the fight promptly resumed, lasting anywhere from 10-20 minutes.  There was no security in the parking lot, no one called 911, and the “bouncers” did not ensure that all parties left the premises after the first fight inside the bar.  After the second fight, the shooters left the property and returned almost immediately to the parking lot.  They blocked in the victim’s car and opened fire, striking Tanya Oliver in the head.

The Defense argued that the Elks Lodge was a benevolent, not-for-profit charitable organization, rather than a “nightclub.”  They attempted to portray the initial fight and the eventual shooting as completely unforeseeable and unpreventable, because of the “domestic” nature of the incident, and the long history of feuding between the two women whose conflict led to the fights that evening. “Regardless of the source of the drama which started the fight, the bouncers admitted that they did not follow their own procedures for a fight – they should have either called 911 or separated the parties and ensured that both parties left the premises, neither of which was done here,” said Haggard.

Haggard Law’s Marlowe added, “We know Ms. Oliver is incredibly proud of the strength and love her children have had through the litigation process and a challenging trial. It is an honor to represent this family who seek justice on behalf of their beloved mother.”

Left to right: Christopher Marlowe, Michael Haggard, James Blecke outside the St. Lucie County Courthouse.

$1 Million Settlement Daycare Death Case

Haggard Law Firm attorneys Michael Haggard, Todd Michaels, and Christopher Marlowe have obtained a $1 million settlement in a wrongful death case involving a toddler.

In 2017, a two-year-old child died of meningitis while abroad.  The child’s parents alleged that their child contracted the disease at a Miami-Dade County daycare facility where the child attended.  Another child had died of a different strain of the disease who was also a student of the defendant daycare facility. “Our hearts are broken for our clients as they continue to deal with this devastating tragedy. While no case result will fully heal their pain, our hope is that this settlement brings them a sense of justice and some peace,” says Haggard.

Full details of the case are limited as terms of the settlement included multiple levels of confidentiality.

To contact The Haggard Law Firm for a case evaluation, call 305.446.5700

Settlement in Condo Assault Negligent Security Case

During the evening hours of February 26, 2017, Denis Duddy was inside his condo in a Boca Raton Florida high-rise condominium complex when someone broke in an attacked him. Through the litigation of this negligent security case, trial lawyers Pedro Echarte and Michael Haggard of The Haggard Law Firm, and co-counsel Michael J. Brevda learned that if proper security steps been taken at the complex, the attack could have been prevented.

The attacker was a young naked man, who was under the influence of LSD, who gained access to the condominium, proceeded to walk through the parking areas, lobby, and other common areas, until he gained access to Duddy’s unit.  The assailant proceeded to bang on the door until he broke it down and attacked the Plaintiff.  Duddy and assailant (who were previously unknown to each other) continued to fight until the assailant eventually calmed down.  The assailant was arrested shortly thereafter by responding law enforcement personnel.  Duddy suffered injuries to his neck and lower back resulting in two surgeries (including one fusion).

Click here to contact Michael Haggard

Click here to contact Pedro Echarte

Image of the assailant from condominium (Defendant’s) security video

The primary defense in this matter was that there was no prior crime at the condominium and that the area in which it was located (South Boca Raton) was safe.  However, the Haggard Law attorneys and co-counselor Brevda argued that the security guard on duty at the time of the incident (who was employed by Defendant D & D Professional Security) failed to timely detect the assailant and failed to properly respond to his presence at the condominium, which led to the Plaintiff’s attack. The case against D&D Professional Security settled for $825,000.

$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.”

Click here to contact Haggard Law Firm

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.

Click here to email Michael Haggard
C

Click here to email Christopher Marlowe

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.

Contact The Haggard Law Firm for a free consultation

Email Christopher Marlowe

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