Jeffrey R. Garvin Named Personal Injury “Lawyer of the Year”

Jeffrey R. Garvin Named Personal Injury “Lawyer of the Year”

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Fort Myers Personal Injury Lawyer - Jeffrey R. Garvin

FORT MYERS, Fla., October 3, 2012 – Florida Attorney Jeffrey R. Garvin of The Garvin Law Firm has been named 2013 “Lawyer of the Year” in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs for the Fort Myers / Naples metropolitan area.

Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is honored as “Lawyer of the Year,” according to Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers in America® (Copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

Attorneys recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the exhaustive peer-review assessments conducted with thousands of leading lawyers each year, according to the Best Lawyers® website.

It is the second time that Garvin has received the “Lawyer of the Year” honor and the seventh consecutive year that Garvin has been included in The Best Lawyers in America®.

“I am honored to be recognized by my peers for my work on behalf of those who have suffered personal injury,” Garvin said.

The “Lawyer of the Year” designation is the latest in a long list of honors that Garvin has received.  Last year, he was presented with the Trial Lawyer of the Year award for the entire state by the Florida Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).  Several Florida Supreme Court justices were on hand for the once-in-a-lifetime award, which honored Garvin for taking aggressive measures to help stop legislative initiatives that threatened to harm the Florida court system and impair the independence of the judiciary.

He also is listed in Florida Super Lawyers, as well as Law and Leading Attorneys in Florida.

Garvin has practiced law in Florida for more than 35 years and is currently in practice with his son, Leland Garvin, with offices in Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale.  The Garvin Law Firm concentrates in personal injury, wrongful death, automobile accident, and medical malpractice litigation.  For more information, call 239-277-0005 or send us an Email.

Changes to Florida PIP Insurance and Your Rights after a Traffic Accident

Changes to Florida PIP Insurance and Your Rights after a Traffic Accident

Friday, October 5th, 2012

After years of effort (and plenty of money spread around Tallahassee by powerful lobbyists) the insurance industry has finally succeeded in limiting a motorist’s right to collect under Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

As advocating for the rights Floridians injured in auto accidents is a large portion of or our practice, we have been watching this issue very closely.

For years, the industry has been blaming Florida’s no-fault law for staged accidents and other health care fraud. Portions of the Florida no-fault law requires every motorist to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage. This coverage is meant to pay the first $10,000 in expenses after an accident, regardless of who is at fault. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance and a victim’s health insurance come into play after the PIP benefits have been exhausted.

These minimums have been in place since the Florida legislature adopted the PIP law in 1972, according to the Insurance Journal. With the rising costs of medical care these amounts really should have been raised — today, you can easily spend over $10,000 during an initial emergency room visit. However, insurers instead convinced lawmakers to place a series of limits on an accident victim’s ability to obtain medical care in the wake of a traffic collision.

Some medical procedures — including acupuncture and massage therapy — will no longer be covered. But perhaps most concerning to victim’s advocates is the new 14-day time limit for treatment under PIP coverage, which will take effect Jan. 1. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, only those diagnosed with an “emergency medical condition” within the first 14 days of an accident will be eligible for the $10,000. Everyone else will be limited to a maximum of $2,500. Additionally, many soft-tissue injuries like swelling and bruising are not expected to result in an emergency determination. Chiropractors who wish to provide services under PIP, will be limited to $2,500 without a previous EMC determination by a physician within those first 14 days.

“Floridians are in for a rude awakening,” Florida Consumer Action Network spokesman Bill Newton said. “Instead of measures aimed at preventing true fraud, we’re left with a bill that pads the pockets of big insurance companies.”

The new measure (HB 119) does require insurers to reduce PIP insurance premiums at least 25 percent by 2014 – a move meant to return some of the savings to the consumer that results from eliminating the fraud the industry has complained about for so long. However, the legislation includes an exemption clause that permits insurers to return to lawmakers with a request to avoid the rate cuts. According to a recent article in the Miami Herald, Most companies have already filed the necessary paperwork asking to increase their rates.

Even if insurers were to hold up their end of the bargain, the cost of PIP insurance only represents about 20 percent of a consumer’s bill. So a 25 percent reduction in PIP cost only equates to a 5 percent reduction in your insurance bill. Many consumer advocates think any savings realized by insurance companies will be more than negated by the increase in litigation costs related to the poorly worded, possibly unconstitutional  law  as it will allow lawyers to argue over the presence of an ”emergency medical condition” for clients seeking $10,000 in coverage, rather than $2,500.

“That’s a pretty big disparity, so you can bet that there will be litigation over what is and is not an EMC,” said Paul Jess, general counsel of the Florida Justice Association.

Even insurance industry advocates admit the new law is going to put the courts in a position of defining what constitutes an emergency medical condition.

“Are we going to have to rely on the courts in Florida to determine whether a certain kind of sprain is an EMC?” asked Michael Carlson, of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, which represents some of the largest insurance companies.  “A bulged disk in your spine, is that an EMC?”

If there is anything to be learned for a Florida motorist involved in an accident: Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is now more important than ever when it comes to protecting your rights in the wake of a serious crash.

To speak to our personal injury lawyers in  Fort Myers or Fort Lauderdale contact the Garvin Law Firm at 888-524-2426.


Leland Garvin Listed in Top 40 Under 40 by National Trial Lawyers Association

Leland Garvin Listed in Top 40 Under 40 by National Trial Lawyers Association

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

 

Garvin is Proud to Join Prestigious Group of Young, Trial Lawyers in Florida


Top Young Fort Myers Car Accident LawyerFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-May16th, 2012-Fort Lauderdale, FL- The National Trial Lawyers Association has hand-selected 40 of the most accomplished young, trial lawyers throughout the state of Florida, and Leland Garvin, of Garvin Law Firm, has been included in this exclusive group.

 

The Top 40 Under 40 identifies individuals that exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young trial lawyer. According to the association, “Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research. The result is a credible, comprehensive and impressive list of young attorneys chosen to represent their state.”

Leland Garvin is a personal injury and criminal defense trial attorney with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and Naples, Florida. Garvin is a graduate of Florida State University, and received his Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University. Leland is a Florida native and second generation trial attorney, who began his legal career working as a State Prosecutor. While On his nomination, Leland states, “While there are many different lawyer awards, and even more lawyers; I was quite honored to receive an award that was limited to 40 of my peers, and I am proud to be included on such an esteemed group, whom I both admire and respect.”

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Leland Garvin, concentrates his practice in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death and criminal defense litigation.

Leland is a member of American Association for Justice, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Broward County Justice Association, Broward, and Lee County Bar Association. Garvin’s practice, Garvin Law Firm, includes his father, Jeffrey Garvin, and has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and Naples. For more information visit, www.garvinlegal.com or call 888.524.2426.

 


 

Increased Damage Caps on Governmental Wrongdoing in Florida

Increased Damage Caps on Governmental Wrongdoing in Florida

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

The State of Florida can now be liable for up to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per tort claim, effective Oct. 1, 2011. That’s up from the $100,000 and $200,000 caps that had been in existence for lawsuits against the state, its agencies or political subdivisions.

While the increase is welcome news to victims of governmental negligence, the new caps may still be woefully inadequate when it comes to compensating a victim for a personal injury, wrongful death, or other injuries caused by t. Suing the State of Florida is a complex process, which includes extensive pre-suit requirements and as such; Government liability claims in Florida require an experienced law firm. As these relatively modest caps indicate, identifying other entities that may be liable for damages can be critical when it comes to securing a victim adequate compensation in the wake of a serious injury or fatal accident. The sovereign immunity limits in Florida apply to schools, police departments, counties, and many other offices and agencies under state jurisdiction.

Florida Statute 768.28 sets the still relatively low damage caps, which were previously unchanged for nearly three decades. Lawmakers contend the caps have deterred claims against the state as there is also 25 percent cap on attorney fees which provide for a maximum fee of $25,000 (or $50,000 under the new cap). While that may sound adequate to some, bringing a serious personal injury, auto accident, or wrongful death lawsuit to trial can cost a law firm hundreds of thousands of dollars. Whether in Fort Myers, Naples, or Fort Lauderdale, finding a firm with the resources to properly handle your case is an important consideration when choosing an attorney. Injured claimants must also consider that their lawyer will only get paid if they are successful in making a recovery on behalf of a client.

The problem with such low and arbitrary caps is not only that they deter lawsuits by preventing all but the catastrophic claims from moving forward. It’s that they make the individual government agency less responsible for their actions, less likely to address dangerous conditions, and less accountable to the very taxpayers who are footing the bill. Lawsuits, after all, are meant to compensate victims for their loss, to correct negligent conditions and to reduce the chances others will be victimized in the future.

Dating back to Medieval times, sovereign immunity holds that “the King can do no wrong.” As a matter of common law, it means no government can be sued by one of its citizens, no matter how gross the negligence on the part of the government agency or one of its employees. The passage of 768.28 in 1975 partially opened the door to lawsuits — but made the process anything but consumer friendly. Still, when strict guidelines are met, a state agency can be held liable for negligence under the same standards as a private individual — at least up to the caps permitted under the law.

In addition to the caps in 768.28, the state has thrown up a host of other roadblocks in the form of pre-lawsuit conditions. Failure to comply with each of the notice, disclosure and service obligations under the statute can result in dismissal of your lawsuit for noncompliance. For starters, a plaintiff’s attorney must typically provide notice of intent to sue, and await the outcome of an investigation or the passage of six months — whichever occurs first. Claims are also subject to a strict statute of limitations and other conditions.

Because of these caps on damages the government knows that the most that they will ever have to pay out even of the most catastrophic of claims is the capped amount. As a result, the government rarely has any interest in settling pre-suit and they force a claimant to actually file a law suit to get a return phone call.

Attorneys on behalf of the state are already forecasting more claims, more diligence in meeting the requirements, more defense costs and higher verdict and settlement amounts. The fact of the matter is that, once adjusted for inflation, the cap would have to be set at nearly $500,000 to equate to $100,000 in 1975 when the original limits were put in place under the current law. The slight increase in Florida’s tort cap is welcome. But it’s certainly not going to signal the beginning of open season when it comes to filing lawsuits against the state.

To speak to our personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale or Fort Myers, call (239) 277-2005 or (954) 524-2424

Florida Supreme Court to Rule on Medical Malpractice Damage Caps

Florida Supreme Court to Rule on Medical Malpractice Damage Caps

Monday, November 21st, 2011

2012 could be historic for injured patients if the Florida Supreme Court follows the lead of Georgia, Illinois, and other states who have declared caps on damages in medical malpractice cases to be unconstitutional. The courts have reasoned that limitations on damages violate an individual’s access to the courts, treat the medical profession different from all others, and often force the state taxpayers to absorb the cost of future care.

Medical malpractice law has always been a hot topic, especially in Florida, where extensive lobbying by hospitals, doctors, and the insurance industry has led to major changes affecting the rights of injured victims. While medical professionals have argued that malpractice lawsuits have caused billions of dollars to be wasted on unneeded medical tests; yet privately, they admit that these same tests would be ordered if the patient was their family member.

As Florida medical malpractice attorneys we have been closely monitoring the debate over medical malpractice caps, which is set to come before the Florida Supreme Court next year.
doctor and hospital error

In 2003, a reform of Florida’s medical malpractice laws placed caps on how much a person could receive for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice case. The limits of $500,000 to $1 million for doctors, nurses and other health professionals and $750,000 to $1.5 million for hospitals and healthcare businesses was lauded as saving Florida’s medical community from closing up shop and heading out of state, Orlando Business Journal reports.

In 2005, an article from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality said the changes to the system made it “dysfunctional” and that other states should be leery of following in Florida’s footsteps. Opponents of the law believed that that victims of medical injuries would suffer because of less opportunity to collect damages no matter how sloppy the work of a doctor or medical facility. Supporters of caps on damages said that without the caps, Florida wouldn’t be able to retain top-notch physicians and specialists who would be willing to take the risk of operating or caring for sick patients.

The Florida Supreme Court is set to decide whether limits on malpractice damages are constitutional. Generally, pain and suffering (along with other non-economic damages) in a civil lawsuit are designed to compensate an injured person but they also can serve as a deterrent. In criminal cases where a judge may sentence a criminal defendant to a large number of years in prison, a jury in a civil case can make sure others pay attention with big verdicts in favor of those injured by medical malpractice.

The case before the Court stems from a 2005 birth injury lawsuit involving a wrongful death at an Air Force medical clinic. The case is Michelle Evette McCall et al v. United States of America. Despite early and prolonged low-blood pressure problems with the birth mother, the woman was not transferred to OB/GYN and an obstetrician was not brought in to perform a cesarean section. After delivering a healthy child, the mother’s condition deteriorated and she never regained consciousness. Michelle bled internally post-delivery and later died when the monitoring of her blood pressure, among other things, was neglected.

The family was awarded nearly $3 million at trial — but the award was lowered to $1 million because of Florida’s caps. The Federal judge determined that Florida’s cap was constitutional under the U.S. Constitution but he granted the plaintiff’s motion to certify the state constitutional issues to the Florida Supreme Court.

The Federal court has certified several questions to the Florida Supreme Court involving state constitutional grounds specifically asking the court to determine whether the caps violate state constitutional provisions pertaining to equal protection, access to the courts, right to trial by jury and separation of powers.

HealthGrades reports an average of 195,000 people a year are killed due to preventable medical error — or 6 times more than die in car accidents each year.

The ironic part of caps on damages in medical malpractice claims is that it harms the persons most seriously injured and most in need of help and support. While the argument has been repeatedly made that caps are necessary to keep good physicians in Florida, the testimony from the insurance industry at the time of passage of the law was that there was no real evidence of doctors leaving the state. Unfortunately, as soon as caps in any type of action go into effect the burden for paying the expenses of the seriously injured often quickly shifts to taxpayers.

Medical Malpractice is not the only area where the insurance industry is aggressively pursuing limitations on the right to recover damages. There are currently proposals to make it more difficult for injured motorists to make a claim against their own insurance company as will soon be reporting reported on our Florida car accident attorneys blog.

To speak to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers in Fort Myers or Fort Lauderdale call (239) 277-2005 or (954) 524-2424.

NTSB Recommends Complete Ban on Cell Phone Use by Truck Drivers

NTSB Recommends Complete Ban on Cell Phone Use by Truck Drivers

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

The National Transportation Safety Board has recently recommended that commercial truck drivers be prohibited from using hand-held or hands-free cell phones while behind the wheel.

As Florida trucking accident attorneys we have been following this issue and have come to the conclusion that the NTSB recommendations should be either be made into law or imposed privately by individual carriers. Despite a move last year by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to ban bus and truck drivers from text messaging, several horrific accidents have been blamed on distracted commercial drivers.

According to a report by CNN, the latest proposal comes in the wake of an accident in Kentucky where a 45-year-old trucker is accused of killing 10 people in a van while distracted by a cell phone. The truck in Kentucky crossed the median and slammed into the van, which was on its way to a wedding. An investigation revealed the driver had used his cell phone 69 times in the 24 hours before the accident and used it four times in the minutes before the crash.

This recommendation and others that target the use of cell phones in vehicles has been met with much opposition — primarily because the ban includes hands-free devices as well as those that are hand-held. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports more than 30 states have banned texting while driving. But only 8 states have banned all hand-held cell phone use.

No state has banned both hand-held and hands-free phone use, even though studies continue to show that hands-free cell phone use may be no safer. The National Safety Council now reports that 1 in 4 accidents can be attributed to a driver who is talking or texting on a phone.

In the last decade, the debate over phones and driving has exploded along with the popularity of mobile phones. In 2000, there were fewer than 100 million wireless subscribers. Last year, there were more than 275 million.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 1 out of every 9 fatal crashes involves a large commercial truck. In 2009, nearly 300,000 large trucks were involved in accidents, killing 3,380 and injuring 74,000. The same report showed that there were 179 fatal accidents in Florida that were caused by a large truck.

Distracted driving statistics are no better. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 5,474 motorists were killed and nearly 500,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents last year.

“These numbers show that distracted driving remains an epidemic in America, and they are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Secretary Ray LaHood.

Commercial drivers have an obligation when it comes to the safety of other motorists on the road. Driving an 80,000 pound truck at high speed demands that these professional drivers keep their eyes on the road and not on a cell phone.

To get more information about this along with answers to any injury related questions please contact our offices in either Fort Lauderdale or Fort Myers, Florida.

Are Drug Charges in Florida Really Unconstitutional?

Are Drug Charges in Florida Really Unconstitutional?

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Cases throughout Florida may end up coming unraveled if judges take note of what courts in Miami and Manatee County have done recently with drug cases that have been ruled unconstitutional, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Cases of drug possession and drug sales may be dropped after Judge Mary Scriven, of the U.S. Middle District of Florida, ruled that Florida’s drug possession statute is unconstitutional because it lacks the element of intent — opponents argue that violates due process because it puts the legal burden on the defendant. Three circuit court judges have now asked the Florida Supreme Court to address the constitutionality question of Florida Statutes Section 893.13.

A Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney who is familiar with recent case law can often use evolving law to a client’s advantage. These precedent setting cases typically start at the trial-court level when a defendant and experienced lawyer see a legal issue that permits them to fight the charges.

In this case, the federal judge used a three-part test from the U.S. Supreme Court to analyze the statute: Whether the penalty imposed was slight, whether conviction resulted in substantial stigma, and whether the law regulates substantially dangerous or deleterious conduct. Clearly, a conviction of drug possession or drug trafficking fails this test.

The concept is simple: As the law stands, a UPS driver or U.S. Postal Service mail carrier could technically be charged with possession of prescription drugs if they are unknowingly delivering medicine to someone who doesn’t have a prescription. Obviously, that isn’t the intent of the law.

Thousands of drug cases swing in the balance as judges face the unconstitutionality of the law that currently guides them. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch has already cited the ruling in declaring the state law unconstitutional and dismissing 39 drug possession cases. In Manatee County, a judge recently dismissed charges against 42 defendants.

The Manatee judge wrote that there are many examples of a person being charged with possession of drugs, such as a roommate who has no knowledge that someone else has illegal drugs in the house. Lawmakers eliminated the intent part of the law in 2002.

Judges in other areas of the state are expected to take up the issue in the coming weeks as knowledgeable defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers use the ruling in the defense of clients facing drug charges in Florida. Meanwhile, the 2nd district court of appeal in Lakeland, Florida has sent a certified question to the Florida Supreme Court to ask the Court get involved and rule on the issue.

If you are in need of a defense lawyer, feel free to call our office to address any concerns you may have at 954.524.2424 in Fort Lauderdale or our Fort Myers office at 239.277.0005. The Garvin Law Firm has two locations to best serve the needs out clients throughout South and Southwest Florida.

$10,000 for Anyone Involved in a Car Accident ?

$10,000 for Anyone Involved in a Car Accident ?

Friday, August 12th, 2011

PIP (No-Fault) insurance in Florida

Sound too good to be true? Well it probably is…We’ve all heard the catchy jingles on our favorite radio stations announcing that after a car accident, we may be entitled to $10,000 in lost wages and benefits. DJ’s and “attorney spokesmen” encourage us to call one of these hot-lines from the scene of the accident—but is what they’re selling us for real?

The long and short answer is: Yes and No (answered like a true lawyer…I know.), but we realize, you probably already knew that. Many people, especially in South Florida, come to personal injury attorneys after even a minimal car accident looking for the $10,000 check that they’ve been hearing about on the radio or billboards.
What all these advertisements are referring to is your PIP (or Personal Injury Protection) Insurance, also referred to as No Fault Insurance. This insurance, which has long been the center of fierce debate in Florida, is the only type of mandatory auto insurance that Floridians are required to purchase. You may have even heard about this insurance from news reports of fraud, staged accidents, and Florida lawmakers constantly trying to regulate it in one direction or another.

According to this article on My Fox Tampa Bay, “Florida leads the nation in questionable insurance claims, which leads to you to paying more for car insurance.” And although an insurance coverage reform bill was presented in early May 2011, it was voted down by the Florida House Subcommittee on Health Care and Human Services.Fort Lauderdale Injury Lawyer

So what about my 10 grand and what is all this talk about PIP Insurance? The state of Florida is known as a “no fault” state for automobile accidents. This means if you are in an auto accident in Florida, regardless of who is at fault for the collision, you first look to your own automobile insurer to pay a portion (up to $10,000) of your medical expenses and wage loss under your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage for any injuries you received in the accident. This coverage protects you against losses you sustain as a result of personal injuries from an automobile accident and pays 80% of reasonable, necessary, and related medical expenses, as well as, 60% of your gross wage loss resulting from your accident-related injuries and mileage costs for transportation to and from doctor appointments.

The only way you can become eligible for any direct PIP cash is if your doctor states that you are unable to work, and even then, you will only get 60% of your lost wages. If you can’t work, that means that you are probably really hurt and will need this PIP money to help pay your medical bills

After the $10K is exhausted,you may have the right to recover your damages from the other driver. If the negligent driver has insurance you can recover your medical expenses and lost wages and, if you meet the threshold requirements of Florida Statute 627.737 which include a permanent injury, significant scarring or death, you can pursue a claim for your pain and suffering.

Fort Myers Car Accident AttorneyThe insurance laws of the State of Florida are complicated and if your claim is not pursued correctly most insurance companies will deny (or offer a very small amount to settle) your claim. According to this investigation by Anderson Cooper and CNN; Insurance companies actually spend billions each year denying claims. To make sure that you recover all of your damages you should hire an attorney with significant experience in the field.

If you have any questions regarding Personal Injury Protection Insurance, or have recently been injured in a car accident, feel free to call our office to address any concerns you may have at 954.524.2424 in Fort Lauderdale or our Fort Myers office at 239.277.0005.

Jeff Garvin Awarded “Trial Lawyer of the Year” at FLABOTA Annual Convention

Jeff Garvin Awarded “Trial Lawyer of the Year” at FLABOTA Annual Convention

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Each year, the Florida Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (FLABOTA) presents the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award to one individual that has exemplified their selection criteria:  being an excellent advocate with a distinguished career, having a superb reputation of high ethics and fair play, and having achieved outstanding results for his or her clients. A lawyer can only receive the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award once in his or her career. Part of the esteemed award includes a $5,000.00 cash donation to the law school of the recipient’s choosing.

Trial Lawyer of the YearMembers of FLABOTA select the recipient of the award, and this year Jeff Garvin, of the Garvin Law Firm with offices in Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale, received the once in a lifetime honor. Garvin chose his alma mater and Jennifer Zedalils of the University of Florida College of Law was on hand to receive the cash portion of the award.

The Garvin Law Firm focuses their practice on personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death law. Garvin was a charter member of the local FLABOTA Chapter and is the immediate past president of the statewide organization. Garvin has been recognized for taking aggressive measures to help stop legislative initiatives that threatened to harm the Florida court system and impair the independence of the judiciary.

Garvin states, “While I have enjoyed leadership roles in both community and statewide organizations during my 37 years as an attorney, the Trial Lawyer of the Year award from FLABOTA means more to me than any award or acknowledgment I have ever received, and I am deeply honored by it.”

In addition to the Trial Lawyer of the Year, the Jurist of the Year Award was presented to the Honorable J. Thomas McGrady, Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and the Fran Peacock Coker Community Service Award to Attorney Wayne Hogan of Jacksonville, FL. The attendee list for the evening included Chief Justice Charles T. Canady and Former Chief Justice Peggy A. Quince of the Florida Supreme Court, as well as, Circuit Judges and Trial Lawyers from around the state.

The awards were presented last Saturday July 23rd at the 14th Annual FLABOTA Convention at the Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, FL.

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Jeffrey R. Garvin: Garvin has practiced law for over 35 years in the state of Florida, and is currently in practice with his son, Leland Garvin, with offices in Fort Myers and Fort Lauderdale. The Garvin Law Firm focuses their practice on personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death law, in addition to, select criminal defense cases. Among many distinctions, Garvin has been included in the Best Lawyers In America ® from 2006-2011, and chosen as the top personal injury lawyer in Fort Myers for 2011. He is also listed in Florida Super Lawyers, as well as, Law and Leading Attorneys in Florida. Garvin has been a member of ABOTA for 14 years, and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the ABOTA Legislative Review Committee.

 

Casey Anthony Trial: What the @#$! and Now What?

Casey Anthony Trial: What the @#$! and Now What?

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

With the recent announcement of a not guilty verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, many onlookers are left to wonder how and why a case that seemed like a slam dunk could result in Casey Anthony walking free.

The backlash was seen not only in emotional crowds outside the courtroom, and across various broadcast channels, but with the advent of the internet and real-time sharing, many shared their opinions through Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts.

As referenced in the Palm Beach Post, the case was referred to as “the social media trial of the century.” Amy Singer, jury consultant for Anthony’s defense team, went on to say that at one point “over one million people were blogging about the trial, not including the thousands more who were either tweeting, texting, or discussing the case in online chat rooms.”

Many of these bloggers and influencers were convinced that Anthony was not only guilty, but they had actually come to hate her. It was unsurprising, when her verdict was read, that a general uproar and disappointment in our legal system came to light.

From this criminal defense lawyer’s perspective, however, our legal system did its job. What most people do not realize is that our legal system was designed under the premise that it is better for 10 guilty people to go free than convict a single innocent person. While our criminal justice system may favor the defendant by placing the burden of proof on the government, there are still many innocent people who are wrongly convicted. According to the Innocence Project, there have been 272 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States.

At any rate, this week’s jury’s verdict does not mean that Casey is innocent, only that she is not guilty. It means that the government was not able to prove that the crimes happened beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. When the prosecution brings a case against a defendant, it is their duty to prove their case. In the Casey Anthony trial, the prosecution failed to prove the charges, the charges that they selected and chose to file.

As in the case of the Duke Lacrosse Team, it is the jury’s duty to keep the government in check, and protected from over zealous prosecutors, who have the freedom to bring charges against anyone they choose.

While the verdict may not be a popular one, the jury did their job and followed the law after fully examining every piece of evidence that they and only they had the opportunity to view. Many people across the nation are incredibly angry with the result of this case and there is even a movement to pass a law entitled “Caylee’s Law,” making it a federal offense and a felony for a parent or guardian to fail to report a child’s disappearance to law enforcement.

As a final thought, (and especially if you weren’t happy with the verdict) make sure you show up next time you receive a summons for jury duty; I heard a judge once say that it’s the second most patriotic thing you can do for your country, besides serving in the military during a time of war.