Scott Cole and Anne Sullivan of Cole, Scott & Kissane’s Appellate Group successfully defended an appeal involving a trip-and-fall accident where the main issue raised was an alleged spoliation of evidence. The plaintiff contended that the trial court erred in denying her requested Jury Instruction seeking a rebuttable presumption of negligence because video evidence of the incident was automatically deleted from the store’s surveillance cameras, and was therefore not available to be discovered. The trial court did not give the requested instruction, and found that there was no spoliation because the plaintiff had not asked the defendant store to preserve the video at any point prior to its destruction (all requests to preserve post-dated the routine destruction/recycling of the tape).
On appeal, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed. It also further held that, if the defendant liquor store had a duty to preserve the evidence, the appropriate spoliation instruction would have been an adverse inference instruction, not the rebuttable presumption of negligence instruction sought by the plaintiff. In so holding, the court noted that a rebuttable presumption is stronger than an inference.
Vincent Gannuscio of Cole, Scott & Kissane’s Tampa office obtained a complete defense verdict this trip-and-fall case. The Plaintiff, a guest at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, claimed that he tripped on garbage that had negligently been allowed to accumulate in a stairwell late at night, fracturing his ankle. The defense focused on several misstatements by Plaintiff as to the time the accident occurred, how the accident occurred, and his own alcohol consumption, as well as the lack of evidence as to any notice or other reasonable basis for Summer Bay to have been inspecting the stairwell late at night. The jury found in favor of the Defendant on all issues after less than an hour of deliberation.
Barry Postman and Karly Wannos of Cole, Scott & Kissane’s West Palm Beach office obtained a complete defense verdict in a hotly contested Florida Whistleblower case. We represented United Cerebral Palsy of Miami, a non-profit organization that takes care of disabled children. The Plaintiff, a former employee of our client, sued alleging that he was terminated contrary to the protections afforded by the applicable Whistleblower laws. The defense argued that the Plaintiff was terminated for performance related reasons.
Prior to trial, the Plaintiff’s last demand exceeded $100,000. The Plaintiff’s counsel fought the defense every step of the way on this case. The jury returned a complete defense verdict in favor of our client.
Aram Megerian and Tawna Schilling of Cole, Scott & Kissane’s Tampa office obtained a complete defense verdict in this premises liability case. The subject incident occurred on exterior wooden stairs and the Plaintiff presented unrebutted expert testimony that the stairs were not compliant with the applicable building code. The case went to the jury with an admission by the defense that the subject stairs did not comply with certain of the building codes requirements.
Notwithstanding the reality of certain non-compliant aspects of the stairs, Aram and Tawna argued that the stairs nonetheless posed no hazard or danger and the cause of the incident and plaintiff’s injuries was her own negligence. The defense presented a trial theme to the jury that the Plaintiff should have been responsible for her own actions and/or inactions.
The Plaintiff boarded $65,000 in past medical expenses and asked for $5,000 per year for 20 years in future medical expenses. In addition the Plaintiff requested a significant award for non-economic damages.