Articles Tagged with “Justin Shapiro”

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In the Courtroom

Partner Justin Shapiro represented a family visiting Key West from California that was involved in a jet ski incident and Partner Adam Rose represented the family of a Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy injured in a motor vehicle accident.

photo__1823362_justin-150x150Unparalleled Experience and Success Representing Victims of Jet Ski Incidents

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In 1987, Leesfield Scolaro opened their offices in Key West on the heels of a wrongful death case tried to verdict by Ira Leesfield. For the past four decades, the firm’s involvement in Monroe County has continued to grow both in the courts and in the community through educational programs, scholarships and contributions to numerous food banks. Every year the firm is a proud sponsor to the Marques Butler Memorial Softball annual tournament that is held in honor and memory of Marques Butler, a former client. The firm also looks forward to organizing, sponsoring and participating in the Monroe County Bar Association’s Annual Continuing Legal Education luncheon customarily held at Leesfield Scolaro’s Key West Offices on Whitehead Street.

KW-BRIDGE-final-300x237It is through its personal injury practice that the firm makes the biggest difference in the community. Most recently, Partner Thomas Scolaro has obtained an 8-figure settlement stemming from a house fire in Ramrod Key. This is the second time Mr. Scolaro secures such a result for clients. A few years ago he tried E.E. vs. XYZ Resort Hotel & Marina and MARK JASON HOLMES to verdict and won $40,580,000 for his client. To this day, this remains the highest personal injury verdict in the history of Monroe County.

Ira Leesfield and Thomas Scolaro also reached a seven-figure settlement on behalf of an Iowa family that was injured following carbon monoxide exposure at a Key West Hotel. In addition to proving that the hotel’s negligent repair to the boiler roof vent caused carbon monoxide to be forced back down into the boiler room of the hotel and into the adjoining guest rooms where our clients slept, the firm successfully fought for passage of Senate Bill 1822. It was the first law at the time that required public lodging establishments to install one or more carbon monoxide detectors that we all take for granted today.

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On Memorial Day, our client’s young boy who was snorkeling at the time was run over by a family boat operated by a 6-grader while at full speed and on a full plane. The propeller fatally injured him. Despite having a diver’s down flag prominently displayed, the reckless teenager who never should have been trusted with operating the boat alone fled the scene, went home, covered up evidence of his crime and lied to the police. Our investigation found five witnesses who saw him flee at full speed.

A lawsuit was filed against multiple defendants including the parents under counts of negligent entrustment and negligent supervision. Courts look at the following elements of negligent entrustment when the allegation is made against the parents of a young child: whether the parent entrusts an instrumentality to a child who because of his lack of (1) age, (2) judgment or (3) experience, may become a source of danger to others. In this case, our firm was able to satisfy every element by establishing that the recklessness behavior of the 13 year-old child/boat operator

Whether the parents knew or should have known with due care that injury to another was possible because of their child’s past reckless operation of the boat would constitute negligent supervision. We established through witness testimony, including from one neighbor who had previously seen the teen operating his boat in a reckless manner while the neighbor’s family was snorkeling at the docks off his house.

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Attorneys Justin Shapiro and Adam Rose successfully recovered over $700,000 in settlements on behalf of their clients who sustained lower limb fractures. In both cases, our clients were guests at separate Key West hotels, and both fell victim to the hotels’ failure to warn and failure to adequately light concealed steps.

In the first case, Partner Justin Shapiro established that the concealed step was not only dangerous, but illegal for violating the 1992 Florida Building Code. Furthermore, the hotel failed to make the dangerous step “readily apparent” or to provide a handrail which was a violation of the NFPA Life Safety Code. Lastly, to add insult to injury, the hotel left its guests at the mercy of an illegal and dangerous step by not even warning them of the dangerous condition. Under such circumstances, it was beyond foreseeable that guests would fall and sustained life-changing injuries.

In the second case, Attorney Adam Rose faced similar code violations, but our investigation also showed that the hotel owners did not just fail to address a dangerous condition, and actually created it. Adam Rose established that the previous hotel owners had remedied the dangerous condition by adding adequate lighting which warned guests of the step down. However, when the new hotel owners took over, they made the decision to remove the lighting but failed to address / remove the underlying dangerous condition. All of this came into evidence via deposition of the previous owners and as a result, the hotel swiftly settled the lawsuit.

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Picture_001_Edited-copy-copy_resize-244x300Leesfield Scolaro continues its community involvement in Key West and Monroe County as it enters its 44th year as personal injury trial counsel.

In 1973, our managing partner Ira Leesfield, tried a wrongful death case on behalf of a Navy family, resulting in a widely known verdict. Since that trial, Leesfield and his partners have been called on to represent local families and visitors from all over the United States and the world.

Partner Thomas Scolaro has noted that our firm has tried to verdict and settled more substantial cases than any firm practicing in Key West. Mr. Scolaro’s $40.5 million verdict in September 2007 is certainly a record. However, the firm has a number of seven figure settlements and verdicts having represented many families and leaders of Monroe County.

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Leesfield Scolaro, P.A., a leading Miami-based personal injury law firm recently announced Justin B. Shapiro is being named partner. He joined the firm in 2011 and will help lead the firm’s Recreational and Resort Litigation Section.

“As we enter our 40th year in practice this October, Justin’s promotion is a clear indicator of our continued growth,” said Managing Partner Ira Leesfield.

justin shapiro.jpgJustin received his juris doctor degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law, graduating at the top of his class, and was inducted to the Order of the Coif. He holds a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from the University of Central Florida. Since graduation, Justin has actively litigated hundreds of cases for the firm’s statewide practice, obtaining outstanding results in complex personal injury matters.

His verdicts and settlements for severely injured clients have been recognized by leading Florida journals and organizations. He will continue to focus his practice in the areas of personal injury/wrongful death, premises liability, auto and motor vehicle accidents, and complex personal injury cases.

He is actively involved in numerous professional organizations, including the Florida Justice Association, an organization dedicated to protect the rights of Florida citizens, the Dade County Bar Association and the Coral Gables Bar Association.

Justin is married to Karina Smuclovisky, who is also a practicing attorney. They reside in Coral Gables, Florida.
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