Verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $2,400,000
TAMMIE ALESSANDRINI, as personal representative of the estate of DEAN JAMES ALESSANDRINI v. JOHN FISHER and JEFFERY SALERNO
Circuit Court for Sarasota County (2003)
I was asked to handle the liability portion of this trial in Sarasota where a husband and father of three little boys lost his life after a car turned in front of his motorcycle. Mr. Alessandrini laid his bike down and never struck the vehicle that turned in front of him, but the insurance company for that driver blamed Mr. Alessandrini and the car that was behind him, as it ran over Mr. Alessandrini after he hit the ground. I’m proud to report that the jury saw through the shell game of blame played by the defending insurance company, and found 100% fault against the left-turning driver.
Verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $2,353,712
NATHAN WINKLER v. JACK HARDING
Circuit Court for Pinellas County (2012)
Florida law requires vehicle operators to move their vehicles off the road, or as close to the curb as possible after an adverse event to lessen the hazard to oncoming traffic. This collision was caused by a vehicle operator who was pulling out of Home Depot at night with an unlit and improperly secured load of lumber. The lumber fell all over the road, and the driver of the truck stopped his truck in a thru lane. Rather than flag on-coming traffic to warn of the danger, the driver of the truck left his stopped truck in the middle of the road creating a hazard. Mr. Winkler was riding his motorcycle on 22nd Ave N. near I-275 and failed to appreciate the nighttime hazard. Mr. Winkler sustained life threatening and catastrophic injuries, and has had at least eight different surgeries due to the collision. The defense claimed that Mr. Winkler should have perceived the danger, and the jury found him 70% responsible for the collision.
I was asked to help try this case by my good friend and outstanding attorney, Scott Johni, based in Tampa.
Verdict for the Plaintiff in the amount of $1,267,735.05
ALFRED BRINKLEY ROBERTS v. CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG
Circuit Court for Pinellas County (1998)
I was proud to represent this Korean War veteran who was crippled for life and sustained other catastrophic lifelong injuries when he was struck by a speeding police cruiser while walking in a parking zone. The officer was responding to a non-emergency call, but was moving at over 70 mph in a 35 mph zone without flashing lights or siren as required by law when officers speed. The officer lost control of his vehicle and struck Mr. Roberts leaving over 200 feet of skid marks.
The defense was that Mr. Roberts had alcohol in his system. I proved to the jury that it didn’t matter if he had alcohol or not, as the fastest man on the planet could not have avoided being struck by the out of control police cruiser. After the verdict, the City appealed. I argued the appeal and won. After the appeal, I petitioned the Florida Legislature to pass a special law to allow Mr. Roberts to recover his verdict, as the City only had to pay a hard cap of $100,000 unless they were ordered to by the State of Florida. I, with the help of many other good people in and out of the legislature, got Mr. Roberts Claims Bill passed by the House and the Senate, and signed by then Governor Jeb Bush.
I had a special ceremony for my client once the Bill passed, and spent some time with him as he was restricted to his hospital bed. Once I told him that our nine year fight was over, he smiled and looked as happy as I had ever seen him.
He died twelve hours later. In retrospect, I know he was holding on so we could get his Bill signed into law. Once that was accomplished, he could, and did, let go.
Verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $1,070,369.64
TIMOTHY KELLY v. SOPHONIE CADESTIN and ESTINCKEL LOUIS
Circuit Court for Hillsborough County (2011)
Mr. Kelly was riding a friend’s motorcycle down a residential street with the right of way as Ms. Cadestin approached from an intersecting street with a stop sign. Ms. Cadestin stopped, but failed to see the motorcyclist and accelerated right into the side of Mr. Kelly and the motorcycle, causing tremendous injury to Mr. Kelly’s leg and ankle. As a result of the damage done, Mr. Kelly will need to have his ankle fused, which means that it will no longer flex up and down, or side to side.
The defense claimed that Mr. Kelly failed to operate his motorcycle safely by failing to prepare for Ms. Cadestin to accelerate into him. The jury found Mr. Kelly 25% responsible for the collision, and Ms. Cadestin 75% responsible.
This is a case where I was brought on-board for trial by Scott Johni, a fantastic attorney based in Tampa. Sometimes juries do odd things, and some jurors are willing to unfairly penalize motorcycle riders just for the mere fact that they are riding, despite the Law of Florida being very clear on the issue. Motorcyclists have all of the rights and responsibilities of any other vehicle operator on our roads.
Verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $632,625.64
JULIE HALLGREN v. PUBLIX SUPERMARKETS, INC.
Palm Beach Circuit Court case # 99-4669 AJ
It may be surprising to learn that some companies have their own delivery people actually stock the shelves inside a supermarket, but that was the situation when Publix provided a broken ladder to Ms. Hallgren. Ms. Hallgren, who was on the job for a different employer did not know the ladder was broken. When she tried to use it, she fell, causing major injuries that required surgery.
Verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $429,329
JEFF RUSINKO v. TRAILER RENTAL GROUP, INC.
Circuit Court for Palm Beach County (2010)
Mr. Rusinko suffered a severe leg injury caused by a defective power saw while at work. As Mr. Rusinko removed the power saw from the material he was cutting, the safety guard failed to engage and the blade caught his shirt. Once it caught his shirt, the momentum of the rotating blade drove the saw down and into his body, severing muscle, nerves, and veins in Mr. Rusinko’s leg.
The defense claimed that the saw was not defective, but there was testimony that the saw had malfunctioned in the same fashion before Mr. Rusinko was injured.
Verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $47,260
BRIAN COSS v. SUNBELT RENTALS
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (2005)
This was an employment claim tried in Federal Court where I was asked to assist due to my trial experience. Mr. Coss objected to racial attacks on a co-employee and was subsequently fired. We had to prove that he was fired for his objections to the racial attacks in order to recover an award for lost wages.