HLF Letter

Haggard Law Firm > HLF Letter (Page 5)

$907K Verdict in Waffle House Parking Lot Beating Case

Late Friday, a Ft. Myers jury awarded long haul trucker Steve Long $907, 211 for the injuries he sustained from a 2014 beating by several people in the parking lot of a Waffle House.

The Haggard Law Firm’s Todd Michaels co-counseled the negligent security case along with Dave Mishael of the Law Offices of David B. Mishael and Steven N. Kassner  of Steven N. Kassner, PA.

The team of attorneys explained to the jury that for the 3 years before Long was attacked on April 19, 2014, , there were 24 significant crimes committed on the property. Those crimes included multiple fights (one involving nearly 100 people) and three incidents involving gun shots.

Haggard Law’s Todd Michaels explains “all of the crime and danger occurred in the 3rd shift, nonetheless, there was nothing done about it, IE: no security in the parking lot, no outside security cameras, poor lighting and no manned security.” 


 (Scroll down to watch video RE: importance of Foreseeability in Negligent Security Cases)

Haggards Part of Legal Organization Supporting Assault Weapons Ban


The International Academy of Trial Lawyers has announced it is supporting assault weapons. The Haggard Law Firm’s Managing Partner Michael Haggard and Senior Partner Andy Haggard are both members of this renowned legal organization. Michael is currently on the Board of Directors and Admissions Committee Board Member.

IATL is an international legal association both in spirit and membership. The Academy limits Fellowship to 500 active trial lawyers from the United States and includes over 150 Fellows from nearly 40 countries across the globe.

Fellowship in the Academy is by invitation only, and trial lawyers become Fellows only after an extremely rigorous vetting process, which includes both peer and judicial review. The Academy seeks out Fellows who have achieved a career of excellence as shown by their skills in trial, and as demonstrated by their integrity and professionalism. Members are often heavily involved in pro bono efforts and contribute generously of their time and resources to their local communities.

The organization sent out the following news release on the day of the March for our Lives protests around the country:


Contact: Janel Fick, Executive Director

Elite legal organization backs assault weapon ban, student protests

Austin, Texas, March 24, 2018 –  The International Academy of Trial Lawyers this week adopted a resolution supporting an assault weapons ban and endorsing protests aimed at ending gun violence in communities and schools.

The Academy’s board unanimously approved the resolution March 21, citing its interest in maintaining a civil society. The resolution said:

We, as an Academy, believe all assault weapons and high capacity magazines should be banned. The Academy also gives its undisputed support for the protests going on around the United States, including the March for Our Lives events, which demand that safety become a priority and that we end gun violence in our schools and communities.

The Academy, chartered in 1954, is an organization of elite lawyers nominated and selected based on their demonstrated skill and ability in jury trials and other court proceedings. The organization promotes professional excellence, legal reforms, and integrity in the legal profession.


I Became a Trial Lawyer Because…

Michael Haggard says he wanted to become a trial lawyer thanks to the example set by his father Andy Haggard and what he watched his father do to help clients effected by tragedy.




Haggard has established himself as a powerful force in the South Florida Legal Community as the Managing Partner for The Haggard Law Firm. After spending time as a Public Defender and working with a small personal injury firm before joining The Haggard Law Firm, Haggard was named a partner in 2001, secure in the belief that every case holds equal importance and could mean the opportunity to award a family resolution to a devastating incident.




He soon captured national headlines as the only plaintiff’s personal injury attorney to secure three separate $100 million dollar verdicts on behalf of individual clients. Haggard secured two consecutive $100 million verdicts on behalf of children involved in pool accidents. Several years later, a third $100 million verdict was awarded by a jury in a negligent security case, deemed the largest of its kind for that genre of case law.

to read his full bio click here:


$12 Million Haggard Law Verdict Featured in VerdictSearch Periodical

A recent issue of the VerdictSearch periodical named a $12 Million verdict earned by Haggard Law in a wrongful death, negligent security case as the “Featured Verdict” of the month.

Background of Case

A Miami Dade County jury awarded the parents of Yaimi Guevara Machado $12 million following a five-day trial that originated from a wrongful death negligent security lawsuit filed against the Chesapeake Motel.

On April 10, 2016, their daughter, 30-year-old Machado was locked out of her hotel room only wearing a bra and jeans when she asked the staff of the Hialeah motel for help . They refused. Moments later, police say, she was beaten to death by Ronald Lopez Andrade who has been charged with first-degree murder.

Machado’s family filed the lawsuit against the owners of the Chesapeake Motel because they believe its staff had several opportunities to prevent the tragedy. Along with not assisting Machado when she approached them, the hotel’s staff:

  • Allowed Andrade, who was not a hotel guest,  to linger on the property
  • sold Andrade alcohol
  • fielded a request from the inebriated Andrade for help to find a prostitute
  • did not kick Andrade off property when he sought sexual favors from a housekeeper

The Haggard Law Firm’s Christopher Marlowe and Jason Brenner were joined by co-counsel, Alexis Izquierdo, in litigating this case.

Over the last decade, The Haggard Law Firm has handled hundreds of premises liability / negligent security cases, delivering more than $300 million in verdicts and settlement in that time.

To read the entire feature by click here:

Media Coverage

The tragic and preventable crime and subsequent verdict was covered by media outlets across the area and internationally. The parents of Machado continue to hope the exposure of the case will help change motel and hotel security policies so no one else loses their loved one








FL. Senate Kills Human Trafficking Survivors Lawsuit Bill

CC0 Creative Commons Free for commercial use No attribution required

In a move that most would call a surprising, members of a Florida Senate Committee pulled a bill that would allow human trafficking survivors to sue Florida hotels and other businesses where they were sold for sex. The partnering House bill had already passed two committees and was headed to the House floor.

“This was a chance for our state leaders to take a stand against modern day slavery and they chose the hospitality lobby” says Haggard Law Firm Managing Partner Michael Haggard.

Haggard, who is the current president of the National Crime Victim’s Bar Association, added “to say this is disappointing is a vast understatement. Florida ranks as the third worst in number of human trafficking cases in our country. Studies show that the majority of trafficking victims, primarily for sexual exploitation, are abused in hotels and motels.”

The NCVBA has a long-standing commitment to civil justice for victims. As President, Haggard  plays an intricate role in advising and setting the annual agenda on what issues the organization will focus on in support of crime victims. This year Haggard has earmarked support of human trafficking victims as a primary goal.

The Orlando Sentinel reported: “…ex trafficking survivors spoke tearfully of betrayal by Florida lawmakers Friday as bills that would have allowed the hotel industry to be sued for willfully ignoring the problem came to a puzzling halt this week…”

The legislation would hold business owners liable if they “knowingly or in willful blindness” facilitate trafficking crimes.

“With or without state leadership, The Haggard Law Firm is 100% committed to using the tool of the civil justice system to hold business owners accountable for their negligence due to ignorance and those who choose to profit on trafficking by seemingly turning a blind eye to this multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise conducted on their property” says Haggard.

Multiple media outlets reported that the hospitality industry, namely The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Disney,  had been lobbying hard against it behind the scenes,

“As crime victim trial attorneys we know civil court remedies will effect change on a wide scale while helping victims pick up the pieces of their life and start a new”


Article Sources

Orlando Sentinel Story:

Brandenton herald:

Haggard to Lead Seminar During Aquatic Law Symposium

national driving prevention alliance

Our Michael Haggard will be one of the featured presenters during the upcoming 2018 National Drowning Prevention Alliance Educational Conference’s Aquatic Law Symposium.  The objective of the symposium is to provide plaintiff and defense attorneys with information about principles and practices of aquatic law. The event will be held April 2nd to the 7th at the Marriott Waterside in Tampa. Haggard’s seminar “Developing Theories of Negligence Citing Important Litigation Cases by Firm” is scheduled for the morning session which begins at 8:50am on Saturday, April 7th.

The legal symposiums are certified by the Florida Bar and in every state via reciprocity agreement for CLE credits (8 Credits Available)

Michael Haggard’s Aquatic Law Experience

Michael Haggard and The Haggard Law Firm has a long history of successfully litigating cases involving drownings and near-drownings…

What Does Haggard’s Pedro Echarte Enjoy About Litigation

Attorneys, besides achieving a positive result for a client….what is the favorite part of your job?
Our Pedro Echarte​ says cross examination during a trial or deposition is one element of the litigation process he most enjoys. Why? and what’s the other?


Haggard Law Firm Trial Attorney Pedro Echarte describes what he enjoys the most about the litigation process and the opportunity to help families searching for justice through the civil court process.

In 2016, Echarte litigated a negligent security case involving a young father who was shot 6 times in an attempted home invasion at a condominium located in Miami. As a result of the crime, the 22-year-old was rendered an incomplete paraplegic. Echarte was able to earn a $10.6 million settlement result for the Haggard Law client and his family.

To learn more about Pedro Echarte, click here

Haggard Becomes President of National Crime Victim Bar Association

The Haggard Law Firm’s Managing Partner Michael Haggard assumed his role as the new President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association in 2018.  The organization was founded in April 1999, creating the nation’s first professional association of attorneys and expert witnesses dedicated to helping victims seek justice through the civil system. The NCVBA is an affiliate and program of the National Center for Victims of Crime.



In this video, Haggard discusses how his primary focus this year is to make sure human trafficking victims understand they not only have rights in the criminal justice system but also in the civil justice system.

The Role Crime Statistics Play In a Negligent Security Case


by Jason Brenner, Associate at The Haggard Law Firm

Although each negligent security case may bring about different facts or require ingenuity with your strategy, there are certain elements of your case that remain constant.  One of those elements is crime statistics.  The importance of crime statistics in your case cannot be stated enough.  Not only do these statistics help establish notice and foreseeability to the defendants, they are also a treasure trove of information.

With respect to notice and foreseeability, your crime statistics establish what the defendants “knew or should have known” prior to and at the time of subject incident.  So what should you request?  You begin by requesting the calls for service and all police reports for the subject property.  This needs to be done in one request.  From there, depending on your jurisdiction, you will order up to a mile radius for the calls for service.  Once you receive each respective request, you must synthesize the data.  For example, you will detail the violent and non-violent crimes and their frequency on the property.  This provides a picture of what type of crime was going on at the property.  It provides you with the ability to illustrate to the jury the level of crime occurring and can be used effectively to show that it is an improbability for a defendant to be unaware of the police being called to the property.

Result: $1.5 Million Settlement in Slip and Fall Wrongful Death Case

qurriss walker


We are very proud to share that our Todd Michaels has secured a $1.5 Million dollar settlement in the slip and fall wrongful death case of Qurris Walker (pictured).

In August 2011, Walker, who suffered from Down’s Syndrome, slipped and fell on a wet floor at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. At the time of the incident, the floor was being cleaned by Rosen’s Cleaning service, Majic Cleaning Systems. As a result of the fall, Mr. Walker needed surgery to repair his leg and suffered respiratory arrest during recovery from the surgery. Nearly two years after the fall, Walker, who suffered from numerous pre-existing health issues, passed away. Both liability and causation were highly contested.

The defense argued that Majic had put down five cones in the lobby, adequately warning visitors that the floor was wet and that Mr. Walker’s death was a result of his other health issues, and was unrelated to the fall. Our thanks to the inspirational and brave Walker family for their passion to seek justice.