BIG NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT!
Donald R. Smith & Associates (Law Palm Beach) is EXPANDING !!! In order to expand our legal services to better serve our clients across The State of Florida, we are planning to open additional offices in the Tampa, Orlando, Melbourne, and Broward/Dade areas!
On behalf of all of the attorneys and staff at Donald R. Smith & Associates, we wanted to take a moment to show our appreciation for the brave healthcare workers and first responders who have been sacrificing and saving lives during the pandemic and beyond. Your tireless acts of bravery will always be etched into our hearts and we are forever thankful for your dedication and service to keeping our country healthy and safe.
Donald R. Smith & Associates wanted to highlight members of our community who are working hard to support the courageous men and women on the front-lines combating Covid-19. Two of those community helpers are long time family friends of the Smith and Grogan families, Micah and Molly Kapp, who have set out to buy 50 Respirator Masks for healthcare workers in the ICUs of Palm Beach County.
Micah and Molly Kapp , who have established the fundraising, are 12 and 14 year old siblings and middle school students at The Palm Beach Day Academy. “We will purchase these Powered Air-Purifying Respirators or (PAPRs) to protect the nurses from contracting Covid 19 so they can provide the best care possible without the chance of contracting Covid 19,” said Micah Kapp, “We want the healthcare workers in Palm Beach County to have the proper protection they need to be able to stay safe and healthy while taking care of COVID 19 patients,” said Molly Kapp.
All proceeds will be used to buy Ford Motor/3M Scrappy PAPRs. PAPRs are Powered Air-Purifying
Respirators. They cost $700 each compared to N95 masks which cost $1-2 each. They are used by healthcare
workers caring for COVID 19 patients. They are designed by Ford Motor co working with 3M to jointly develop a new design leveraging parts from both companies. Using off-the-shelf parts like fans from the Ford F-150’s cooled seats for airflow, 3M HEPA air filters to filter airborne contaminants such as droplets that carry virus particles and portable tool battery packs to power these respirators for up to eight hours.
The Personal Injury attorneys and staff at Donald R. Smith & Associates care deeply about our community and want to help keep our front-line workers safe. We appreciate all of the sacrifices the medical community are making, they are true heroes. If you are interested in learning more about the Micah and Molly’s mission please visit their Micah and Molly’s gofundme page!
In every personal injury litigation case –well in advance of Trial– there is an exchange of information referred to as the “discovery period”. During the discovery period, both parties (Plaintiff and Defendant) exchange information/documents in an attempt to obtain evidence and information to support their case in chief. The discovery period happens in every single personal injury litigation case and is critical to establishing liability, causation, and damages. However, on frequent occasion, we, as Plaintiff attorneys, encounter an obstacle called the “Privilege Log”. The Privilege Log is a document filed by a Defendant that allows the Defendant to withhold certain requested document(s)/item(s), but requires disclosure of certain identifying information relating to the document(s)/item(s). Documents/items usually end up on the Privilege Log (and avoid disclosure) because a Defendant asserts an Objection, such as Work-Product Privilege. An example of a frequent item we see included on a Privilege Log include photographs taken by a Defendant in anticipation of litigation (Work-Product Privilege). However, a good attorney is able to review the Privilege Log for sufficiency and, after a fact-specific analysis, determine if a Motion to Compel Documents should be filed. Depending on the facts of each case, in various situations, documents/items disclosed on a Privilege Log end up being produced, usually after a showing of relevancy, need, and lack of reasonable alternatives. As each personal injury case is different, it is important to hire an attorney that is familiar with the case law relating to Privilege Logs, otherwise, relevant, critical information and documents can be withheld.
For an in-depth analysis of your personal injury claim, call Donald R. Smith & Associates at (561) 622-2700.
The Personal Injury Law Firm of Donald R. Smith & Associates in North Palm Beach, purchased and assembled 50 Easter baskets to donate to the Riviera Beach Police Department this afternoon. Senior Attorney Brooke Grogan coordinated the efforts with Officer Phillips and Officer Cherisma to bring light to the neighboring community in a time of darkness. With so much uncertainty and disruption in the lives of our children, they are hoping to bring stability and joy to the recipients of the baskets, so that the children can feel a sense of normalcy. Included in the baskets are bubbles, books, stuffed animals, pencils, toys, stickers, and messages of hope from the Easter Bunny himself. Chief Nathan Osgood, Sergeant Melvin Menard, and the officers were extremely grateful and will be distributing the Easter baskets Friday along with a food distribution supported by Sica, Coasi, and Johnny Longboats. The attorneys and staff of Donald R. Smith & Associates hope that this local act of charity will inspire other local businesses to think of creative ways to help their neighboring communities.
December 29, 2019, 11:59 AM
November 26, 2019, 2:22 PM
Donald R. Smith & Associates has been retained to represent August Prestano and Kathryn Prestano, the Father and Step-Mother of Tristan and Skyler Prestano, who tragically lost their lives this past Saturday (11-23-19) near the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. It is with heavy hearts that we offer our condolences to the family and friends of the Prestano Family. We ask that the public please respect the privacy of the Family during this difficult time of loss and grieving.
As an injury attorney that loves premise liability fact patterns, I can spot an unsafe condition from a mile away. From an oil spill at a gas station to a concealed depression/hole on condominium property, nailing down liability in these cases can be extremely difficult. In order to effectively represent injured claimants in these scenarios, it is critical to be aware of the open and obvious doctrine, its application, and how to minimize its impact on your case. As a matter of course, defense attorneys invariably argue open and obvious in almost every premises liability case, hoping to water down the Plaintiff’s liability position. However, experienced attorneys understand that the open and obvious doctrine can be defeated with proper argument and expert(s) (each case is obviously different).
In an recent opinion filed on July 21, 2019, from the 5th District Court of Appeal in Florida, the Court re-affirmed that the open and obvious doctrine “does not completely discharge the property owner’s duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition”. Parker v. Shelmar Property Owner’s Association, Inc., et. al., No. 5D18-2105 (Fla. 4th DCA. June 21, 2019); see Trainor v. PNC Bank, N.A., 211 So. 3d 366, 368 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017). This ruling may not be new to injury attorneys but it is particularly important in a premises liability injury case when a Defendant moves for Summary Judgment because the hazard is argued to be open and obvious. In Parker, Plaintiff sustained injuries when she tripped on a wheel stop in Defendant’s parking lot which was, arguably, open and obvious. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant had a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and that the specific placement of the wheel stop breached that duty, resulting in her injury. Defendant moved for Summary Judgment as a matter of law, pursuant to the open and obvious doctrine. The Circuit Court for Seminole County granted Summary Judgment. However, the 5th DCA reversed, finding that “when an injured party alleges a breach of the duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, factual issues frequently exist ‘as to whether the condition was dangerous and whether the owner or possessor should have anticipated that the dangerous condition would cause injury despite the fact that it was open and obvious.’” Aaron v. Palatka Mall, LLC, 908 So.2d 574, 578 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005); see also Burton v. MDCPGA Plaza Corp., 78 So.3d 732 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). While this ruling is not new, it is critically important to effective representation of our injury clients. As in Parker, utilizing the right expert can greatly help overcome Summary Judgment in these cases, especially if the hazard violates industry safety standards. If you have sustained injuries due to an unsafe, hazardous, or defective condition on someone else’s property, call our office for a free consultation.
What is a Non-Spoliation Letter, and Why Does It Matter to My Lawsuit?
Author: Brandon D. Smith, Esq.
It is sometimes the case that, following an accident, evidence goes missing, is misplaced
or discarded, or, in the more egregious cases, is intentionally destroyed or discarded. This could
be as a result of a business policy of only holding and/or storing surveillance film for a
maximum of 3-days, after which the surveillance film is automatically discarded. Thus, it is good
legal practice to send opposing counsel a non-spoliation letter if the sought-after evidence is
and/or could be deemed to be of a temporary life-span or could possibly be destroyed by its very
nature (such as the surveillance film mentioned above). But what is a Non-Spolitation Letter? A
non-spoliation letter is a legal tool attorneys use to put your legal adversary on notice of specific
evidence or types of evidence to preserve for litigation, and subsequently for trial. The term
“Spoliation” means to tamper with, destroy, modify, reduce, convert, or alter in any way, shape,
or form, a particular type or piece of evidence as the evidence was in its true organic original
form. Preserving evidence is important for trial, and preserving a specific type or piece of
evidence can make a huge difference in your lawsuit.
In the same vein, non-spoliation letters can be hybrid in nature. Sometimes I do not know
exactly what the evidence is going to be because the discovery phase of that particular case is
still in its early stages. However, in other cases, after I have legally analyzed a case based on its
merits and legal theories, I will want to mention and delineate specific evidence to be preserved.
These include vehicle black boxes in wrongful death cases, surveillance film in slip-and-fall
cases, corporate meeting minutes of board members in ultra-hazardous equipment cases, specific sharp objects, training manuals and/or safety procedures in hotel premises liability cases, and time sheets and other business records kept in the regular course of business in cases involving a shooting and premises liability (as well as many other types of evidence).
There are no set formulae or indices for how to craft these types of letters, or what specific evidence one should include. These types of letters are crafted on a case-by-case basis depending on your case’s specific facts, legal theories, possible affirmative defenses, and even the far-sighted legal strategy for trial. For the reasons set forth hereinabove, it is critical to hire an attorney that is experienced in prosecuting personal injury claims.