A Message of Thanks to our Healthcare and First Responder Community

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!

Piercing the Privilege Log

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.

Foster Family Press Release

December 29, 2019, 11:59 AM

Donald R. Smith & Associates has been retained to represent Lynett Foster and Heydi Foster, the Mother and Sister of Roxanne Foster (29 years old), who was tragically killed on Friday, December 27, 2019, after being hit by a vehicle in Boynton Beach, FL. Please direct all communications regarding this wrongful death to our Firm. On behalf of the Foster Family, we thank the public for their outpouring of prayers, love, and support during this difficult time.

Prestano Family Press Release

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.

Non-Spoliation Letter

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.

For a free consultation and
case evaluation, call us now at (561) 622-2700.

If I Am On Vacation Out-Of-State Or In A Foreign Country And Become Injured, Can I Litigate My Case In My Home State Of Florida?

Maybe – the Court must consider a 4-prong test to determine whether the equities (i.e. fairness) favor keeping your case in a Florida courtroom. This test is commonly referred to among attorneys as the Doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens. The Forum Non Conveniens test is best discussed in the 1996 Florida Supreme Court case of Kinney Sys. v. Cont’l Ins. Co., 674 So. 2d 86 (Fla. 1996). As is described in Kinney, there is a “strong” presumption against disturbing the Plaintiff’s choice of forum. Therefore, if a Florida Plaintiff files a lawsuit in a Florida courtroom, the burden of proof then shifts to the at-fault Defendant to argue why fairness favors keeping the case in the foreign state/forum. To accomplish this, the at-fault Defendant must satisfy the following 4-prongs:

Continue reading “If I Am On Vacation Out-Of-State Or In A Foreign Country And Become Injured, Can I Litigate My Case In My Home State Of Florida?”

Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman, P.A., Collects Toys for Local Charities

 

Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman, P.A., partnered with Operation Hope for their annual “Keeping Dreams Alive” toy drive! The firm was proud to have a collection bin inside of the office and excited to welcome past and present clients, friends, and the community in to drop off their donations. The turn out was wonderful and the firm would like to personally thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to stop by and donate to such a worthy cause. Continue reading “Smith, Gaskill & Shenkman, P.A., Collects Toys for Local Charities”