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Did Baldwin Park Day Care Do Enough To Stop Child Sexual Abuse?

Did Baldwin Park Day Care Do Enough To Stop Child Sexual Abuse?

The entire Baldwin Park community has been rocked by news that the community’s prominent day care facility, Bright Horizons, has fired an employee over child sexual abuse allegations.  This news hits particularly close to home for us at Cullen & Hemphill, PLC, as several of our employees live in the Baldwin Park community. The Clickorlando.com (local Channel 6) website is reporting that the Florida Dept. of Children and Families came to the facility to make them aware that a child had come forward complaining of being sexually abused.  (The parents of this child should be commended.  This is the very first piece of advice we give to parents when they find out that their child has been sexually abused.  To learn more about this, watch this short video.)  In addition to the child that initially came forward, DCF has apparently interviewed two other children.  This is not surprising, as – in our experience handling Florida child sexual abuse cases — it is unusual for pedophiles or child sex abusers to have only one victim. Warning? Apparently, Bright Horizons has recently been warned by the State of Florida about not checking the background of its employees every five years.  Interestingly, Channel 6’s reporter, Troy Campbell, was able to research the accused perpetrator and found that he or she (the accused perpetrator’s name has not been released) has a criminal record in Virginia from as recently as 2013. It will be interesting to find out more about this child care worker, and why this worker was hired — even though the crime from Virginia, admittedly, does not seem to involve child...

New Case Clarifies Statute of Limitations in Florida Child Sexual Abuse Cases

Some of the most frequent questions we receive as Florida Child Sexual Abuse attorneys deal with the Statute of Limitations.  Many adults who were sexually abused as children question whether they can pursue a claim for damages, and seek compensation for their physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering. In 2010, the Florida Legislature passed Section 95.11(9), Florida Statutes. This subsection essentially did away with the Statute of Limitations defense for any claims arising out of sexual abuse in Florida for acts of abuse occurring after July 1, 2010.  For the past several years, there were questions about what would happen in claims that were legally valid  before July 1, 2010, but where suit had not been filed for one reason or another. Recently the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals issued an opinion adddressing this subject.  See my commentary here: Or course, this still leaves open questions regarding whether a claim was “valid” on July 1, 2010.  The solution to these questions is not so easy.  The validity of each claim will be extremely dependent upon the facts and circumstances of each case — and particularly the age of the victim at the time of the abuse, as well as the time frame within which the abuse occurred. We are happy to confidentially review the facts of circumstances of your potential case. If you have a question regarding any issues arising out of a Florida child sexual abuse case, please call our office at...

Did High School Baseball Coach Turn Blind Eye To Hazing Sexual Abuse?

Altamonte Springs Police officers are recommending criminal sexual abuse charges against several Cooper City High School baseball players who are accused of hazing a younger teammate in a sexually abusive manner, according to the Channel 6/ClickOrlando.com website. The connection to Altamonte Springs comes from allegations that the abuse occurred when the team was in Central Florida at a baseball tournament. Apparently, there were several acts of abuse including forcibly removing a boys underwear and penetrating boys’ rectums with fingers and even a Gatorade bottle. What Did The Coach Know? These kinds of allegations are shocking – even for me, a Florida child sexual abuse lawyer. However, the most shocking thing to me is that the coaches or other school officials — who were assuredly with the baseball team at this tournament — seemingly either did not know, or worse, ignored, what was going on. After all, adult chaperones are required on these trips specifically to keep things like this from happening.  Apparently, the coach, Chris Delgado, is no longer with the team – although no reason is provided in the story. Schools, as well as other youth-focused organizations, can be held liable for when their employees fail to adequately monitor children who are abused under their care, custody, or control. Abused children can oftentimes recover money damages to help them pay for what can often be years of counseling and psychological/psychiatric care and treatment. Our law firm helps achieve justice for children who have been sexually abused in youth-centered organizations. We help kids get the specialized help they need in order to begin the healing process. If you have...

How Is The Viability Of A Negligent Security Claim Determined?

The biggest factor in determining the viability of a negligent security is the ability of the plaintiff to prove that there have been prior violent acts or attacks at or near a given commercial property. If the area where the attack occurred in is one where no one would reasonably expect someone to be attacked, then it is going to be a very difficult case. On the other hand, if an apartment complex have had four homicides in the scope of about an eight month period, in an area within one mile of the complex, then there is probably a viable negligent security claim if a tenant or visitor is attacked. For example, if we know that there have been seventy-seven strong arm robberies near an apartment complex over the course of a year, we can make a credible argument that the management at the apartment complex should have known about this, and provided a greater level of security. How Is The Adequacy Of Security Determined In These Cases? Negligent security cases very often require the testimony of expert witnesses. Expert witnesses are usually familiar with industry and safety standards, and are asked to comment on the safety measures that commercial property owners have taken. Ultimately, the reasonableness of security measures under the facts and circumstances of each case will be determined by a jury. A jury will be asked to decide whether a business provided enough security given what was known about the danger at or around the business. What Is The Importance Of Retaining An Experienced Attorney For A Negligent Security Claim? The issues that are raised...

How Can Someone Initiate A Negligent Security Claim?

Bringing a civil claim for money damages is rarely the first thing that a victim of an attack on a commercial property thinks about. Attack victims are usually most interested in receiving medical treatment (the lucky ones that are still living, that is), and helping the police catch the wrongdoer. We are typically contacted about a negligent security case after the shock of the initial attack has worn off. Most of the time the first thing we do is contact the commercial property owner or manager and let them know that our client has been attacked and injured (or worse.) It is always surprising how often some property managers and owners have no idea that something happened – even after having multiple police cars, EMS, and ambulances on their premises. At the same time, we are usually doing our initial investigation which typically involves pulling criminal history records, doing a visual inspection of the commercial business’ security measures, and speaking with neighbors or other tenants about their experiences with crime on or around the premises. After the property owner receives notice of a negligent security claim from us or our client, we usually receive contact from an insurance company, and we begin sharing information with them about our client’s theory of liability and damages. A lot of negligent security cases end up being litigated because the commercial property owners just do not want to admit that they had inadequate security. Negligent security claims are frequently denied by property owners and managers. Who Is The Negligent Security Claim Generally Brought Against? Most negligent security cases will involve the property owner,...

How Can Someone Be Held Liable For A Negligent Security Claim?

A negligent security case usually arise out of an attack of some sort. When we begin analyzing potential negligent security cases, we try to determine if the attack was an isolated incident. We try to determine if there had been other attacks on the subject property, or other attacks in the nearby area. Once a land owner knows or should know that there has been a history of attacks on their premises, or in the area surrounding their premises, then they have to adjust their security practices. A property that has been the site of murders, armed robberies, rapes, and other acts of violence should have multiple security measured in place – from uniformed (and potentially armed) officers, controlled entry and exit, surveillance, etc. The normal rule of thumb is that if there has been a lot of crime in the area around the business, the business needs to have a greater security presence. When Would A Landlord Or A Property Owner Not Be Held Liable In A Negligent Security Claim? Usually the way that landlords or property owners escape liability is to convince a judge that they have no legal duty to protect the person who was injured on the premises. For example, a trespasser on premises does not have the same rights as someone who is invited there, or someone who lives or works there. A trespasser has very few rights and a trespasser does not enjoy the right to have the landlord protect them. So that would be an instance where a landlord would not be liable if someone is illegally trespassing. Another incident where the...

What Constitutes A Negligent Security Claim?

A negligent security case is a term of art to describe the potential claim for money damages that arises when a person is on a commercial property of some kind, and is either attacked, assaulted or otherwise injured by the intentional act of someone else. Sometimes negligent security cases can turn into wrongful death cases if a homicide results. The nexus of a negligent security claim is the contention that the property owner should have provided better security or protection for the person who was ultimately attacked. Is Negligent Security Different From Premises Liability, Or Is It Part Of It? Negligent security cases are probably a subset of premises liability, as they are dependent upon location in order for there to be a case. When we talk about premises liability cases, we are typically talking about trip and fall, or slip and fall cases. Negligent security cases look at a different aspect of the land owner’s duty — not just to keep their floors clear, but to have knowledge of the danger of the area around the premises and provide a commensurate amount of security there. How Common Are Negligent Security Issues In Florida? Unfortunately, they are more common than most people would think. There are certain businesses and areas of any town that seem to have a lot of issues with people being attacked, assaulted, or otherwise victimized by criminals. For example, in Orlando the area around the University of Central Florida seems to generate a lot of negligent security cases. There are a lot of apartment complexes around UCF that seem to generate a lot of issues...

Ruling Gives Hope To Ignition Switch

When General Motors filed for bankruptcy in 2009, the company was facing more problems than it let on. The company had sold several cars with faulty ignition switches that caused serious injury and death and resulted in a number of defective vehicle lawsuits. GM had installed faulty ignition switches in various small car models including the Chevrolet Cobalt. These ignition switches have been known to slip position when the car is running. This results in the car stalling unexpectedly. These incidents have been linked to injuries to more than 275 people and 124 deaths. Filing for Bankruptcy While this may seem like a cut and dry case for those affected by the faulty ignition switches, GM complicated things for plaintiffs by filing for bankruptcy. The company filing for bankruptcy was funded by the government. The terms of the bankruptcy were that the company that emerged following the filing i.e. New GM, would be indemnified against any claims that were filed against the Old GM, the company that existed before filing for bankruptcy. This meant that claimants for the faulty ignition switches could not file claims against the company that emerged following the bankruptcy. This meant that over 1,000 injury and death lawsuits couldn’t be brought against the company. The turning point However, a recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit offers claimants a glimmer of hope. The three judge panel ruled that GM could no longer use its bankruptcy filing as a defense against the claims for faulty ignition switches. This is because the company failed to reveal its knowledge of the faulty ignition...

Amusement Ride With Loose Bolts Is A Disaster Waiting To Happen

An amusement ride operator should be held responsible for all of the injuries and damages suffered by three young girls who were dropped 30 feet out of a ferris wheel ride in Tennessee last week.  A six-year old suffered a traumatic brain injury, and another one of the girls suffered a broken arm – all because of worn out rivets on the ride. The Associated Press is reporting the Tennessee officials don’t quite know what to do about it.  Apparently, Tennessee law allows amusement ride companies to prove their rides are safe by having private inspectors look at them — even inspectors in other states.  In my opinion this is a terrible state policy, and Tennessee needs to get its act together.  Too many young children ride these kinds of amusement rides to leave it up to some possibly sketchy outside inspection outfit in some other state. However, to me, focusing on state inspections really misses the point.  After all, who is absolutely in the best position to inspect every inch of a ride and determine if it is safe?  The ride operator – that’s who! If an amusement ride operator is going to catering to children (or even adults, for that matter) he owes a legal (as well as moral and ethical) duty to make sure its rides are reasonably safe.  There is no question that a ride with worn out rivets is not reasonably safe. I hope that Family Attractions Amusement (the owner and operator of the ferris wheel in question here) has plenty of liability insurance, because it seems like these young girls are all going...

Which Driver Is More Likely To Get Into An Accident?

The driver who is texting? The driver who is drunk? The driver who is high on pot? Or the driver who is drowsy? Everyone knows about how fatal drunk driving can be, but this was not always the case. Our society took years to truly understand the dangers associated with drinking and driving. Today, even more fatal accidents caused by distractions while driving have emerged. People are driving while high on several different kinds of legal and illegal drugs. Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger, according to a Pew survey. People have different opinions about which distracted driver is most dangerous. As attorneys practicing Personal Injury Law and Specially Auto Accidents, we believe we had the right answer, but the statistics were startling. The statistics below have been measured by the likelihood that a particular behavior while driving will result in a car crash. 1) Drunk Driving A drunk driver: Up to three hundred and eighty times more likely to get into an accident A driver’s intoxication level is measured by the driver’s blood alcohol concentration aka BAC: A drunk driver who has BAC of 0.15 or higher is three hundred and eighty times more likely to get into an accident compared to a normal sober driver. A drunk driver who has BAC of 0.10 – 0.14 is forty-eight times more likely to get into an accident compared to a normal sober driver. A drunk driver who has BAC of 0.05 to 0.09 is eleven times more...

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