Class Action Plaintiffs Attorneys Increasingly Join Forces in Face of Law Changes

As the requirements for class action lawsuits become more stringent, top plaintiffs attorneys are joining forces to ensure their cases meet the threshold to move forward.

The “strength in numbers” approach is helping keep certain class actions alive in a challenging climate for class action practitioners, according to a new report from Law360. The report cites the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 and a series of U.S. Supreme Court rulings in recent years as the impetus for plaintiffs attorneys from different firms to team up.  To accommodate the requirements of the Class Action Fairness Act, initial complaints are often up to 100 pages long, compared with the typical 10-to-30-page complaint that would be common during the 1990s.

Continue reading “Class Action Plaintiffs Attorneys Increasingly Join Forces in Face of Law Changes”

What Are The Psychological and Physical Effects of Rape?

The psychological and physical effects of rape are complex and long-lasting. Dealing with the aftermath following the attack can be just as painful as the attack itself.

What Are Some Common Physical Effects of Rape?

Any sort of forced sexual activity, particularly the act of rape, can lead to serious physical trauma. Some of these physical injuries and illnesses show up immediately after the assault and go away shortly thereafter including:

Continue reading “What Are The Psychological and Physical Effects of Rape?”

Class Action Ruling Sheds Light on Employer Fair Credit Reporting Act Obligations

The employment process frequently includes background checks for applicants. Even after being hired, employers may still run background checks on your behalf. If you find yourself in either of these situations, there are some things you should know to protect your legal rights.

Before you sign anything, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are putting your name on. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act states that employers must disclose that they are attempting to obtain consumer reports on applicants. This goes for current employees as well.

The FCRA requires that the disclosure be a “clear and conspicuous written disclosure.” The written disclosure form must “solely” contain the disclosure required by the FCRA. The Ninth Circuit declared “solely” to be an important keyword to take note of when it comes to signing disclosures. In the case of Syed (applicant) v. M-I, LLC (employer), the disclosure form addressed multiple issues, not just the FCRA disclosure. As a result, the Court found that the disclosure form failed to satisfy the FCRA’s requirements. Disclosure forms that are not clear and conspicuous violate the FCRA.  Employees and job applicants who receive unclear disclosures may pursue claims to protect their rights under the FCRA.

EP partner Seth Lehrman litigates class actions in state and federal courts in Florida, California and across the United States, including FCRA claims on behalf of consumers. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 1-800-400-1098 during business hours on Eastern Standard Time.

What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Rape?

The statute of limitations on rape differs depending on whether you plan to file a civil claim or press charges, the state you live in, and the age you were at the time of the assault.

What Are Statutes of Limitations?

The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time:

  • An accuser has to come forward (in criminal cases); and

  • A plaintiff has to file suit against a defendant (in civil cases)

By implementing statutes of limitations, courts protect defendants by giving them a fighting chance to defend themselves against the charges. It would be almost impossible to defend against a crime you committed 20 years prior. However, it also gives plaintiffs a better chance of having a successful claim because witnesses’ memories are fresh and there is a smaller chance that involved parties will lose evidence or move away.

What Is the Statute of Limitations in My State?

Every state differs. Many states have no criminal statute of limitations (you can file whenever you want) for abuse that occurred when you were a minor; others have 10- to 30-year statutes of limitation.

Most have relatively short statutes of limitation for civil cases though.

Take Florida, for example.

Florida has an eight-year statute of limitations for criminal charges and a four-year limitation for civil cases.

However, many states also have exceptions to these limitations. Take Florida as an example again.

You only have four years to file a claim, although this limit can vary depending on certain factors:

  • A victim under 16 years of age may file a civil sexual battery suit at any time.

  • A victim between 16 and 18 years of age has seven years from the day they turn 18 to file civil suit against their attacker; four years from the time the victim could leave the dependency of their attacker; or discovery of the injury and causation (abuse caused injury).

Call the team at Edwards Pottinger LLC to determine your statute of limitations: 954-524-2820. If your case is still within the statute of limitations, we will get started immediately holding your rapist liable for the harm you endured.

Rape: Criminal vs. Civil

Sexual abuse of any kind is a crime under both Florida and federal law. Sexual abuse includes a number of crimes including:

  • Sexual assault

  • Rape or sexual battery

  • Sexual groping

  • Nonconsensual sexual contact

  • Sexual contact between an adult and a minor

Typically, the state will bring criminal charges against the perpetrator. The prosecution will carry the burden of proof and must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge or jury finds the perpetrator guilty of rape charges, s/he will face severe criminal penalties including possible jail time.

Rape victims do not recover damages for their physical, emotional, and financial injuries in a criminal trial. Their best chance to recover damages for their suffering is to file a civil suit against their assailant. The results of the criminal trial do not have an impact on whether the victim will recover damages in civil court.

Rape victims and other survivors of sexual assault deserve monetary damages to be able to focus fully on their recovery. No dollar amount will ever make what happened okay, but financial awards can be helpful when it comes to paying medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses such as pain and suffering and mental anguish. The best way to recover monetary damages is to file suit against your attacker in civil court.

Filing a Civil Suit for Rape

To cover your medical bills and lost wages and to recover compensation for the emotional and physical effects of your rape, we must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant raped you. The preponderance of the evidence standard requires we prove the defendant “more than likely” raped you.

While this standard is “easier” to prove than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” it still requires evidence such as expert testimony, your recollection of the attack, and medical records. While this is a difficult process, we will do anything we can to make it as painless as possible and to help you recover the maximum amount of compensation due to you.

The sexual abuse attorneys at Edwards Pottinger LLC focus on sexual battery cases in civil court and will help you regain control of your life and make sure your attacker pays for the horrible crime he committed.

Call 954-524-2820 to discuss the applicable statute of limitations and how it might affect your case.

EP Partner Seth Lehrman Raises More than $300,000 in Cy Pres Donations for Legal Aid Programs

EP partner Seth Lehrman and his co-counsel have generated more than $300,000 in cy pres awards for Legal Aid programs in South Florida through their successful efforts in class action cases.  The cy pres monies were allocated to Legal Aid following the settlement of TCPA and other consumer class action cases. The TCPA is a federal statute that provides important privacy rights to individuals, including the right to be free from unwanted cell phone calls, unsolicited text message advertisements and unwanted fax advertisements.

“At a time when programs and services that reflect the bedrock of American values flirt with disaster, it is comforting to know that all is not lost within the halls of justice,” said Dorian Lange, Director of Development for both Legal Aid programs in Broward.  She added that Seth Lehrman and his co-counsel Scott Owens “have together worked hard, alongside a few others in our Legal community, to ensure Legal Aid programs are top of mind as logical and deserving designees for cy pres funds. They have turned the tide for us repeatedly over the last 3 years, directing in excess of $325,000. This enables us to continue to provide critical legal remedy to stabilize families and communities and close the justice gap for those in dire need. We are immensely grateful.”

EP attorney Seth Lehrman litigates class actions in state and federal courts in Florida, California and across the United States. He represents consumers and businesses in class action and whistleblower cases to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable. He can be reached at 1-800-400-1098 during business hours on Eastern Standard Time.

What Are My Legal Rights As A Crime Victim In Florida?

Crime victims often feel helpless and vulnerable after their traumatic experience. However, it is important to remember that if you are the victim of a crime in Florida, you have rights. The attorneys at Edwards Pottinger LLC can help you assert those rights. For your benefit, below, we detail your legal rights as a crime victim in Florida.

What Are My Rights in the State of Florida?

Florida passed several laws to protect crime victims and make sure they receive fair and compassionate treatment. These rights extend to both criminal and civil court.

You Have the Right to Information.

Crime victims may feel overwhelmed with both the criminal and civil court process. As a victim, you are entitled to information regarding the various stages of the criminal justice process, including information regarding all proceedings and hearings from the state. You are also entitled to know when an officer arrests the person who harmed you and when the state will release that person.

As your attorneys, it is our responsibility to keep you informed regarding your civil case. We will update you every step of the way and let you know our strategy when it comes to presenting your case in court. We will let you know our policy for updates (e.g., how often you can expect an update, how you will receive updates, etc.) so you never feel left in the dark.

You Have the Right to Receive Physical, Financial, and Emotional Help.

As a crime victim, you have the right to take advantage of any services the state offers. This might include:

You Have the Right to Help Hold the Criminal Accountable in a Court of Law.

In many criminal and civil cases, you have the right to be included in the proceedings and express your views, particularly in civil court. While criminal court focuses more on apprehending the perpetrator (but will take your wishes into account), civil court focuses on you, the victim. You may generally testify to the following matters:

  • Your relationship with the defendant(s), if there was one
  • The incident itself and the moments leading up to it
  • How the incident affected you physically, emotionally, and financially

You Have the Right to File for Damages and Hold the Criminal Accountable.

Some crime victims mistakenly believe that they can only recover restitution in criminal court. You also have a couple other options for recovering damages. In some cases, you may receive compensation from the Bureau of Victim Compensation.

You may file a lawsuit against your attacker and other liable parties for compensation. Civil courts allow the victim to take center stage and solely focus on the amount of damages a victim should receive. Remember that civil cases are completely separate from criminal cases and that you can recover damages in civil court even if the criminal court finds your assailant not guilty.

How Can I Exercise My Right to File Suit?

Our attorneys represent crime victims in court to help them collect compensation for a variety of crimes. Whom we file against depends on who contributed to the crime. In almost every case, we will file against the person who committed the crime.

We might also file a premises liability claim against any property owners or business owners whose negligence partially or fully caused the incident to occur. For example, if an assault and battery occurs in a dimly lit parking garage with no security, the property owner may be liable for failing to provide adequate security.

Once we have determined who to sue, we will start building your case by collecting evidence and preparing witnesses. The most successful cases have an abundance of evidence supporting their claims including:

  • Police reports, witness testimony, and photos/surveillance video documenting the incident
  • Victim testimony describing the events
  • Medical records documenting injuries, surgeries, and rehabilitation
  • Pay stubs and employment records documenting lost wages for time you spent recovering
  • Expert testimony regarding injury causation and how the crime physically and mentally affects victims

Crime victims have a long road of recovery ahead of them. The least we can do is make that road a little easier. At Edwards Pottinger LLC, we are committed to fighting for justice on behalf of innocent crime victims and their families. Our firm can help you recover compensation and get justice for homicide, sexual assault and molestation, assault and battery, and other horrific crimes.

To discuss the specifics of your claim, call us at 954-524-2820.

EP Partners Win $5.7 Million Judgment in Trump Class Action Case

EP trial attorneys Brad Edwards, Seth Lehrman and their co-counsel Mark Fistos won a $5.7 million judgment on behalf of the plaintiffs in a federal class action case against the Trump Organization’s Trump National Golf Club Jupiter on February 1, 2017. The attorneys had tried the case on behalf of 65 class members, including three class representatives. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra heard the case and entered the judgment on behalf of the class of club members.

The trial focused on whether Trump breached membership agreements by failing to refund monies to the club member class.  Plaintiffs claimed that Trump recalled their memberships by refusing them access to the club facilities. Once their memberships were recalled, Trump was required to refund deposits within thirty days. However, Trump failed to pay refunds, and refused the club members access to the facilities despite continuing to charge them dues.

Edwards and Lehrman were featured in many media stories about the judgment. National media outlets covering the ruling included the Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNN, ESPN, Law360, NBC News, the New York Times and many others.

Listen to Brad Edwards discuss the judgment with NPR’s Greg Allen here.

The attorneys also garnered coverage in a variety of South Florida media outlets, including the Daily Business Review, Palm Beach Post, South Florida Business Journal, Sun Sentinel, The Real Deal and WPTV.

Farmer Jaffe appreciates the commitment and resolve of its clients who stood up for their rights and the rights of class members and pursued the case through trial.

EP attorneys litigate class actions in state and federal courts. They represent consumers and businesses in class action and whistleblower cases to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable. The firm class action and trial teams have significant experience winning class certification in contested cases and successfully handling complex jury trials and bench trials. The attorneys can be reached at 1-800-400-1098 during business hours on Eastern Standard Time.

Edwards Pottinger’s Matt Weissing Garners Media Coverage for Hilton Fort Lauderdale Class Action Case

Hilton Fort LauderdaleEdwards Pottinger was featured in several news articles about the law firm obtaining class certification in a federal class action claim involving the condominium-hotel property that is being operated as the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Weissing is serving as lead counsel in the case.

On Thursday, December 8, 2016, U.S. District Judge James Cohn certified the class action in Dear v. Q Club. Plaintiff Gary Dear, on behalf of himself and the other condominium unit owners, has sued the hotel unit owner, Q Club Hotel, LLC. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant breached the condominium declaration by charging the unit owners for shared costs that are not shared costs as defined by the declaration.

The case is scheduled to begin trial at 9 a.m. on May 22, 2017.

Weissing spoke with numerous media outlets about the case, which was covered by the Sun Sentinel, Daily Business Review and Law360 – among other publications.

The class certification “empowers this group of owners to act in concert for all of their mutual best interests,” Weissing told the Sun Sentinel.

Edwards Pottinger’s Matt Weissing is a Board Certified Civil Trial attorney who concentrates his practice on Class Actions, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death matters. His experience includes handling cases involving motorcycle, automobile, boating and helicopter crashes. He also handles cases involving toxic chemical exposure and misfilled prescriptions, as well as premises liability, failure to provide security and excessive force/false arrest.

I Was Robbed At Gunpoint, What Are My Legal Rights?

If you were robbed at gunpoint, you have legal rights that you might not be aware of.

You have the right to:

  • Information: You have the right to request information about your robber (e.g., the status of your case, when he will be released from jail, etc.)

  • Ensure your voice is heard: You have the right to testify against your robber to help ensure the state puts him away.

  • Pursue compensation for your injuries

A victim’s advocate lawyer can help you determine whether you have a viable civil action, to seek damages in the form of financial compensation. Even if you cannot pursue damages from the assailant who robbed you, you may have grounds to sue other negligent parties to help you get the medical treatment and emergency assistance you need.

Can I Hold My Robber Liable?

After falling victim to a violent crime, you may experience a sense of helplessness. You may have suffered severe injuries — physical and psychological — that prevent you from working, going to school, or enjoying your life.

The police may pursue criminal charges against the assailant, but that does little to help you recover from this traumatic experience.

Fortunately, you are not alone. You can find a powerful advocate in a negligent security or robbery victims lawyer.

A lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid civil case. You may be able to sue your assailant, although few criminals have any real assets. However, depending on the circumstances of the robbery, other people, businesses, or organizations may have liability for what happened to you.

Meanwhile, your lawyer can ensure that you get the medical care and emergency services that you need, including counseling for the trauma you experienced.

Did Another Party’s Negligence Make Your Robbery Possible?

Depending on the circumstances of the robbery, you may have a valid legal claim against another party besides the gunman.

For example, if you were robbed at gunpoint in a dark parking lot, the property owner and manager may be liable for creating an unsafe environment. If you were robbed at work (in a store, restaurant, office, etc.), you may have a valid claim against your employer for not providing sufficient security.

If the assailant broke in and robbed you inside your apartment, your landlord or management company may be liable for failure to secure the property.

To prove liability and allow you to pursue legal action, we must prove the four legal elements of negligence:

Duty of Care: Someone owed you a duty to ensure your safety. For example, your landlord had an obligation to provide secure window and door locks, an alarm system, etc.

Breach of Duty: Whoever owed you a duty of care failed to uphold that obligation. For example, your landlord did not provide a secure place for you to live.

Causation: The breach of duty led directly to the armed robbery. For example, a broken window lock on your apartment allowed the gunman to enter and rob you.

Actual Damages: You suffered actual, demonstrable damages as a result of the breach of duty. Your lawyer can use your medical bills and other evidence to prove the amount of your damages.

What If You Did Not Sustain a Physical Injury During the Robbery?

Injuries come in all shapes and sizes, and you need not suffer physical harm to have a personal injury claim.

Being held up at gunpoint is highly traumatizing. Victims of similar crimes can spend a lifetime trying to overcome the fear they develop as a result. You will likely need professional counseling from a psychologist or therapist. You might also need time off work to process what happened to you.

Some victims even require in-patient treatment for their psychological damage and post-traumatic stress.

A personal injury lawyer can listen to your story and explain your options. Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer after an armed robbery — even if you have no outward evidence of injury.

How Else Might I Recover Compensation?

You might also be able to recover compensation through the Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation. To recover the compensation you need, you must fill out a form and provide all requested information such as medical records or wage loss information.

Discuss Your Case with a Member of Our Team Today

A robbery is a terrible thing to go through. But you are not alone. A victim’s rights lawyer will help you get the care you need while protecting your legal rights and helping you obtain civil justice.

The lawyers of Edwards Pottinger LLC provide compassionate assistance to victims of violent crimes. Consultations are free and confidential. Contact us today to speak to a victim’s rights lawyer: 954-524-2820.

I Was Molested By My Father, What Should I Do?

Your parents are supposed to take care of you, not hurt you. But if you were molested by your father (or stepfather or foster father), you must find someone to help you and keep you safe from harm.

You need to tell someone what happened, to protect yourself and, if you have them, to protect your brothers or sisters. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your mom or another adult, call 954-524-2820. Our sexual abuse lawyers have helped lots of kids in your situation, and we can help you too, right now.

What Should I Do if I Was Molested by My Father?

If you were molested by your father, the most important thing for you to do is talk to someone today.

If you do not feel comfortable talking to your mom, that is totally understandable. Maybe you have a teacher, a counselor, or an adult at school you trust. You might consider talking to a grandparent, someone from your church, your doctor, or even a friend’s mom or dad.

You could also call a hotline that is specifically for victims of sexual assault, like the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE). Or, you could call a sex abuse lawyer.

When your father molested you, he violated your trust. He may threaten you to not tell anyone, or try to convince you that his actions are “normal.” They are not normal.

You may not want to tell anyone because you are afraid of hurting your mom, or you may be afraid of breaking up your family. You may not want to get your dad in trouble. You may be afraid that no one will believe you, or that someone might blame you.

Whatever your fears may be, it is important that you realize that you will not get in trouble for talking to someone about what happened to you. No one will blame you or doubt your word. What they will do is protect you and make sure this never happens again.

Yes, you must be brave to make the decision to talk to someone about what happened to you. But you cannot carry this dark secret around with you for one more day.

And if this happened years ago and you are now an adult, you should still tell someone. It will take a weight off your shoulders and you may still be able to hold your father liable for what he did to you.

If you are a parent whose child has come forth and alleged molestation by your spouse, believe them and get them the help they need.

Understanding Molestation and Sexual Abuse by a Parent

Molestation and sexual abuse can take many forms. You may wonder if what happened to you was actually molestation or abuse. Here are some examples.

  • Touching you inappropriately

  • Making you touch them inappropriately

  • Exposing themselves to you

  • Watching you undress or change clothes

  • Showing you pornographic images

These are not the only types of molestation. If it felt wrong to you, it probably was.

Even people you love — like your dad — can sometimes be sexual predators. This situation is painful and hard to understand, but it is not your fault. The longer you stay silent, however, the more you harm he can cause for you and your family.

It is important for you to know you have not done anything wrong and this is not your fault. Sometimes adults have problems or illnesses, but no one ever has the right to hurt you like this.

How Much Will a Sex Abuse Lawyer Cost?

Talking to a lawyer will not cost you (or your family) any money.

Almost all sex abuse attorneys will talk to you about this issue and explain your options for free. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney, especially if you feel you have no one else you can trust.

A lawyer who focuses on working with molestation victims can help you make decisions that are the best for you, your family, and your future.

How Many Kids Get Molested by a Family Member?

This question is difficult to answer because a lot of kids do not report being molested by their father or another family member.

One of every five girls, and one in 20 boys, will be sexually molested by the time they turn 18, reports the Crimes Against Children Research Center. According to the National Institute of Justice, 75 percent of adolescents who were victims of sexual assault were victimized by someone they knew well.

By talking to someone, you might inspire others to come forward and stop their abuse too. Even more importantly, you may save one of your little brothers or sisters (or another family member) from being victimized.

How Can You Find a Sexual Abuse Lawyer to Help You?

Many compassionate, caring attorneys are dedicated to helping young people who have been the victim of abuse.

The lawyers of Edwards Pottinger LLC help clients who have been molested or sexually abused. They work every day with people who were taken advantage of by trusted teachers, ministers, family friends, and even family members.

You do not have to suffer in silence or fear for your safety. If you were molested by your father, call us right now at 954-524-2820 to speak to a sexual abuse and molestation lawyer.