Friday, July 26, 2013

State and Local Government Agencies Pay Statutory Maximum to Victim of Trip and Fall on Broken Sidewalk

Legal Business Review,
Staff Writer;  July, 2013

Case: E.C. v. City of Miami and the Florida Department of Transportation

Court: Miami Dade County Circuit Court, 11th Judicial Circuit

Attorneys: Plaintiff's Attorney: Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A., David W. Lipcon (see his Avvo profile)

Facts and Allegations: Plaintiff, E.C., a 79 year old house-keeper from Honduras, was walking on a public sidewalk in the area of SW 1st Avenue and SW 9th Street, in Miami, Florida. She was injured, when she tripped and fell over a portion of the sidewalk that was uneven, and raised above the rest of the sidewalk. Apparently, roots from a large tree, owned and maintained by the City of Miami, had grown under sidewalk and lifted up the concrete slab.  As a result, E.C. tripped and fell, fracturing her right wrist, trying to break her fall.

E.C. hired the law firm of Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A., Personal Injury Lawyers in Miami. She stated that she had interviewed many law firms but was satisfied with Lipcon & Lipcon's reputation of success in claims against the city, county and State for other negligence claims.

David Lipcon was able to secure a settlement for E.C. for the full amount of money available pursuant to the Florida Waiver of Sovereign Immunity Act. He explained that the government entities have a cap on amounts they have to pay for injured claimants. The state rarely pays its policy limits prior to litigation.

Result: Settled before suit was filed, for full amount of benefits available.

David W. Lipcon has been a practicing litigation attorney in Miami-Dade County for over twenty years. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Florida in 1989, and, his Law degree at the University of Florida School of Law in 1992. He is admitted to the Florida Bar, the Colorado State Bar, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and, the Trial Bar of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He is a member in good standing of the Florida Justice Association (formerly, the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers), Dade County Trial Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, Dade County Bar Association, and, served as Chairperson of The Florida Bar's Grievance Committee for the 11th Judicial Circuit. David is a founding partner of The Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers.
David Lipcon has been awarded an "AV" rating (the highest possible) for both ethics and legal skills by Martindale-Hubbell, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected attorney rating companies. This rating is based upon a peer review process involving Florida attorneys and judges.  He was awarded a "10.0 - Superb" and is among the highest rated lawyers from Avvo ).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Estate Of Mother, Killed By Drunk Driver, Settles Wrongful Death Claim Against Miccosukee Indian Tribe Members

Legal Business Review, Staff Writer
January, 2013

Case: Estate of VB v. Lucan Billy Frank and Agnus Frank (2010-57868 CA 01)

Jurisdiction:  Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, Honorable Gisela Cardonne Ely

Attorneys: Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A.; David W. Lipcon

Facts and Allegations: Wrongful Death/Vehicular Homicide/DUI Manslaughter.

VB, mother of three adult children, and one minor child, was a Dade County Public School bus driver.  She was killed when she was attempting to make a left hand turn into the Miami Dade School Bus Compound.  She was approaching her turn, with the right of way, when she was crashed into by a drunk driver who ran his red light. The crashed caused VB to be ejected from her vehicle. She died at the scene.

The Defendant, Lucan Billy Frank, had been out all night drinking at a local "Gentleman’s Club." He was apparently on his way home, still drunk. After he crashed into VB’s vehicle, he fled his car, and the scene of the accident, running into a nearby wooded area.  The police established a perimeter and eventually apprehended him. Police arrested Frank, charging him with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an accident involving a death, DUI manslaughter and failure to render aid.

Unfortunately,  Frank, and his mother, Agnes, the owner of the vehicle (and civilly liable along with the driver of her vehicle), maintained only a small liability insurance policy of $35,000.00. 

The family of the victim hired David Lipcon, of the law firm Lipcon & Lipcon, P.A., who specializes in personal injury cases in the South Florida area.  Lipcon made sure that the insurance company quickly tendered those policy limits to the family.  Knowing that the recovery was hardly sufficient to compensate the victim's family, Lipcon quickly opened up an investigation and then brought a law suit against the Frank family. 

Mr. Lipcon tells us that collecting money judgments and damages, outside of the available insurance limits in Florida, is usually unlikely.  Most people in the State are "judgment proof" as Florida is one of the friendliest States in the nation, to a debtor. 

The Franks are members of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida.  Lipcon learned, through his investigation, of a "stipend" that the Miccosukee Indian Tribe pays its tribe members. This was difficult, considering the Miccosukees are the only tribe in the continental United States that does not disclose the amount of the stipend that each member receives. After lengthy litigation, and negotiation, the case was finally settled for an undisclosed amount. This settlement is widely considered the first of its kind, as the Tribe is well known not to acknowledge the stipend funds. 

Due to confidentiality clauses in the settlement, Mr. Lipcon would not tell us how much the family of VB received, who paid, or whether the funds where provided by the Miccosukee Indian Tribe. He was able to tell us, however, that the children of VB received a significant settlement amount, enough to take care of the family for generations.  Lipcon does not believe that any similar settlement has ever been achieved before, involving the Miccosukee Indians, and is not aware of any similar case that is currently on-going.

Result:  Settled just weeks before trial for an undisclosed amount.