stairway fallIn order for a court to hear a case, they must have jurisdiction over that case. Sometimes there may be multiple courts that could potentially hear a given case. One situation that comes up is that a plaintiff will bring a case in a court that is inconvenient for the defendant. When that happens a defendant may ask for the case to be moved to a more convenient court by requesting a change of venue. The court will look at the facts and circumstances of the case as well as a number of other factors to determine whether they will grant the venue change. The case here illustrates this point and gives an example of a situation where the change of venue was granted.

Jurisdiction 

The instant case comes out of a slip and fall in a Florida hotel. The plaintiff was at the hotel and fell injuring her right leg badly enough to require surgery. She was a resident of New Jersey and the defendant hotel corporation is incorporated in South Carolina and has a principle place of business in Florida. There is a complete diversity of citizenship between the parties, meaning that all the parties are from different states. As the claim is also asking for more than $75,000 the parties meet the requirements for federal diversity jurisdiction meaning that the case can be heard in federal court. That is not the end of the inquiry though. There are federal courts all over the country. Which one should the case be heard in?

The specific state where the case should be located is called the “venue.” The plaintiff in this case originally filed the suit in the federal court in New Jersey. The defendant then asked for it to be moved to Florida. While both are permissible places for the case to be heard, the court will look at specific factors to determine whether they should grant the defendant’s petition. Continue reading

motorcycleIn the U.S., we have both federal and state courts. If you are involved in a car or motorcycle accident, a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney can help you to determine which court would be proper to file your suit in. Sometimes the suit may start in one court and then be moved – referred to as “removed”- to the other.

Motorcycle Accident

The underlying facts of this case involve a motorcycle accident. The plaintiff was riding his motorcycle when it shut off suddenly. This caused him to lose control of the motorcycle and he was injured. In the original demand letter, plaintiff asked for $275,000 plus “med pay benefits.” At the time the letter was sent, plaintiff’s medical bills had so far totaled $68,218.87. The plaintiff filed his suit in state court and the defendant removed the case to federal court. Now, the defendant is asking for the case to be moved back to state court. The case was decided by the Middle District of Florida, which is a federal court.

car accidentIf you are injured in a car accident, you may envision that the only person that you need to take legal action against is the driver who caused the accident. However, oftentimes insurance companies will also need to be brought into court in order for them to pay the damages that they owe. Even if your insurance company seems cooperative, they may just be trying to get you to settle for less than you deserve. If you are injured in a car accident, you should contact a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They can help you to decide whether you should take the settlement offered or if you need to involve the insurance company in legal action.

The Car Accident

A man was driving on a Florida highway with his friend in the passenger seat. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a cement barrier. While the driver was not injured, the passenger suffered serious injuries and was paralyzed from the waist down. To complicate matters even more, the car itself was owned by the driver’s father’s business. The insurance policy included a one million dollar garage liability policy and a two million dollar commercial umbrella policy.

witness standIn Florida personal injury cases, it’s often necessary to hire an expert to testify in court about different matters. The United States District Court in Southern Florida recently discussed what is required for expert testimony to be allowed to be presented in court. Since expert testimony is such an important part of proving a personal injury case, it’s crucial that the experts that your attorney hires is allowed to testify during your trial.

Underlying Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in this case was on a cruise operated by the defendant when he fell and broke his ankle while using the onboard ice skating rink. One of the experts that the plaintiff wanted to call would provide testimony about the causes of other skaters falling on the rink, conditions of the skates and ice, and other safety factors such as the presence of a “skate guard.” In addition, the plaintiffs presented the expert testimony of a biomedical engineer who opined about the ankle fracture that the plaintiff suffered.

Legal News GavelAfter a man died from alcohol withdrawal and heart failure while incarcerated in a Florida jail, his representatives brought a wrongful death claim against several different parties. The deceased, through his representatives of course, alleged deliberate indifference, wrongful death, and excessive use of force. The defendants filed motions to dismiss these claims. At this point, in order for the case to move forward, the plaintiff only needs to prove that the claims he charged are sufficient on their face to make a claim against the parties. In other words, if the court takes all of the facts alleged by the plaintiff as true, the parties would be guilty of the violations alleged. In court the actual facts will be determined.

Deliberate Indifference

In order for a deliberate indifference claim to stand, a plaintiff needs to prove that there were “acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Essentially, a plaintiff needs to prove that the care or response they received was so bad that it constituted a wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain. This is a much higher standard than the standard for something like medical malpractice, which just requires negligence. For deliberate indifference the plaintiff also must prove that the people who acted cruelly were aware that there was a substantial risk of harm.

Generally, people injured at work are unable to sue their employers directly and will instead be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. If you or a loved one have been injured at work, you should contact a skilled South Florida workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. There may be benefits that you are entitled to receive.Legal News Gavel

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a program that shields employers from most kinds of civil liability. When someone is injured at work, instead of bringing suit against their employer, as they would in most kinds of personal injury cases, employees bring their cases to workers’ compensation. Essentially, workers’ compensation is an insurance policy for employers. They are required to pay into it, and then when a worker is injured, the program will pay benefits to the injured party. In many cases, it is beneficial to fall outside the workers’ compensation scheme because it allows a plaintiff to sue the employer or others in civil court. In this case, a man was working inside a cement mixing box when another employee started the machine, killing the man.

The Florida Third District Court of Appeals recently heard a case that addressed whether a gun manufacturer was liable for the death of a young man after a gun they manufactured allegedly had defects. The family of a young man who shot himself in the eye, causing his death, brought this action under a wrongful death theory. They alleged that the case should be able to move forward even though gun manufacturers are typically immune from wrongful death lawsuits. If a loved one has died due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else, you may be able to recover damages. Contact a qualified South Florida wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.Legal News Gavel

Facts of the Case

This case came to the appeals court after a lower court granted a motion for summary judgment for the gun manufacturer. The parents of the young man who died after the gun discharged put forth the theory that his death was not suicide but instead caused by a defect in the gun. They argued that the gun had a defective design and did not have an effective way to prevent accidental discharge after it is dropped. The gun manufacturer argued that they were immune from this kind of suit due to a federal law barring actions against gun manufacturers for harm due to the criminal use of the firearms. The lower court agreed with the gun manufacturer and dismissed the case.

Legal News GavelGenerally, when one car rear ends another car, the driver of the car that does the rear-ending is at fault for the accident. However, that is not always the case. In this appeal, the parties disputed whether the rear ending occurred while the injured passenger’s car had been stopped for a time, or whether the injured passenger’s car had just completed an unsafe lane change. If you are in a car accident, you should contact a skilled South Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible. They can help you to gather all available evidence to help you present your case in the most persuasive light.

The Facts of the Car Accident

On a rainy day while stopped at an intersection, one car rear-ended another car. A passenger in the car that was rear-ended claimed that the accident caused her a significant back injury. The injured woman claimed the other driver was negligent, which caused the accident and her injuries. The other driver disputed this account and said that the driver of the injured woman’s car quickly changed lanes right before the accident occurred. They also argued that her back injuries were not caused by this accident, but instead were the result of previous accidents, injuries, and congenital conditions.

Test tubesA woman was working at a hospital when she fell and hurt her shoulder. When she tested positive for marijuana, the law presumed that the accident was due to her drug use. The court held that she did not successfully rebut the presumption of the drugs being the cause of the accident. Therefore, she was denied workers’ compensation benefits under the law. If you are injured at work, it is important to contact a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible. With the assistance of a skilled attorney, the woman in this case may have been able to successfully rebut the presumption and thus be eligible for benefits.

Facts of the Case

 Here, the plaintiff was working at her job cleaning hospital rooms when she slipped and fell as she was running to alert nurses on duty about a patient who was in distress. After she fell, her employer took her to the hospital to get treatment, and then took her immediately to a clinic, which gave her a drug test. She tested positive for marijuana during this test.

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If you get into a car accident due to a visual obstruction, you may wonder who is responsible for the injuries or damage caused by the accident. The Florida Third District Court of Appeals addressed this topic in a recent decision. It held that in this case, the people responsible for the foliage that the plaintiff alleged caused the obstruction could not be held responsible for damages from the accident. If you are injured in an accident, it may be difficult to know who can be held responsible for the conditions that caused the accident. That’s why it’s important to hire a skilled Florida car accident attorney to help you hold the appropriate parties responsible after an accident.

The Facts of the Case

A man riding a motorcycle was killed when he was hit by a car. The driver of the car blamed the fact that there were shrubs planted near the intersection and they obstructed her view. Thus, she sued the city of Hialeah, R.J. Behar & Company, Williams Paving Co., Inc., and Melrose Nursery. R.J. Behar & Company was the designer of the project that planned the layout of the intersection, including the shrubs. Williams Paving Company was the general contractor who was responsible for building the road and the swales, and Melrose Nursery actually planted the shrubs. The paving company, planner, and nursery moved for summary judgment. Summary judgment is granted when there are no genuine issues of material facts and one of the parties is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. That means that if the court grants the motion for summary judgment, the claims against the planner, paver, and nursery will be dismissed.