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Articles Posted in Miami Beach Hotel Injury Lawyer

Pool-Drowning-Golden-Seas-Resort.jpgA 4 year old girl drowned at the Grand Seas Resort near Daytona Beach, Florida. On June 2, 2016 Hailey R. Stanley of Macon, Georgia was on vacation with family spending time at the resort pool when another hotel guest spotted her at the bottom. That guest jumped in to rescue her and other guests immediately began administering CPR. Fire crews arrived shortly after 12:10 p.m. and continued CPR while rushing the toddler to Florida Hospital Oceanside, in Ormond Beach where the young girl was pronounced dead.

A police incident report indicates that the young girl was in the care of her 28 year old cousin. The toddler was last seen in the kiddie pool, but at some point she wandered over to a slide that slid down into a deeper section of the pool where the girl was seen motionless at the bottom. It is not clear from media reports whether a lifeguard was on duty for the resort at the time.

Florida leads the nation with the highest rate of drowning deaths of children between the ages of 1 and 4. A tragic trend in child drownings, known as the “everyone is watching, no one is watching” situation occurs when pools are crowded and caretakers assume that eyes are everywhere. Most drownings do not begin with the victim screaming and splashing. The distress often begins underwater where no one can hear or see that a child is in danger until it is too late.

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Florida parasailing operators often use liability waivers or releases to attempt to escape responsibility when customers are injured under their care. Another common defense parasailing operators try to use to escape liability is the assumption of risk defense, meaning that the customer “assumed the risk” and is liable for his or her own injuries.

Pre-injury releases do not always provide the defense that negligent parasailing operators rely on. Courts consider pre-injury releases to be against public policy in cases where an operator ignores laws that are meant to prevent accidents.

The Florida Board Certified Admiralty and Maritime Lawyers at Brais Brais & Rusak (“BBR”) specialize in representing injured clients against parasailing operators and jet-ski rental companies that require their customers to sign pre-injury releases. When a tourist’s parasailing adventure turns into a tragedy and he or she finds themselves in a trauma center with life altering injuries, parasailing companies and their lawyers are immediately preparing to defend themselves with pre-injury release forms, assumption of risk defenses, and even with old Maritime laws like the Shipowner’s Limitation of Liability Act. A good Maritime attorney knows how to get around these common defenses in order to help injured clients and their families hold negligent business owners/operators liable so that they can start to heal and get their lives back on track.
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Miami entrepreneur Michael Cappoini was operating his 25′ boat when it collided into a concrete seawall in Biscayne Bay. The crash injured both Cappoini and his guest Brooke Biederman. Cappoini is said to have sustained broken bones and is expected to make a full recovery. Biderman’s injuries were more severe. She was taken to Ryder Trauma Center where she underwent at least one surgery for significant head injury. At last report, Biderman is in critical condition. What makes this incident unique is that the boat is captured by surveillance video seconds before it crashed into the seawall near the Miami Beach Coast Guard Station. The collision, which happened last Friday just after 10 AM, drew the attention of several Coast Guard personnel who rendered immediate assistance. Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission is the lead law enforcement agency tasked with investigating the incident.

Miami Legionnaires Disease Law.jpgSouth Florida had its share of Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks over the recent years. Florida’s Department of Health defines “Legionnaires’ Disease” as an infection caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophilia. Symptoms associated with the disease often include muscle aches, high fever, cough, and chills. Unfortunately, as noted by the Florida Department of Health, this disease “thrive[s] in warm, aquatic environments.” The Department and U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized yearly in the United States as a result of the disease.

While Legionnaires’ is not contagious in the sense that one person can pass it along to another, it can –and usually is– contracted when a person inhales the bacterium when it is airborne. For example, back in 2009, the disease killed one and caused 300 others to relocate from the EPIC Hotel in Miami. As one news outlet reported, investigators discovered that the hotel’s installed water filtration system at the time was so powerful that it removed chlorine from the “city-supplied water source,” which in turn caused the bacteria to grow. In this case, the bacterial disease could spread via “contaminated water vapor.” In a hotel setting, water sources contaminated with the bacterium can spread through the use of the faucet or shower, specifically through the mist that is emitted from such water.
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Suction Entrapment Death Law Firm.jpgThe resort injury lawyers of Brais Brais & Rusak were successful in convincing a Federal court to apply Florida law to a death that occurred in the Bahamas. The case of John Van Hoy, Jr. is heartbreaking. John was on vacation with his fiancée Nicole at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort located Nassau. During his stay, he decided to refresh himself in one of the resort’s hot tubs. As he went under to wet his hair, he became entrapped on the bottom suction drain. Despite the efforts of many people, including other guests at the Sandals’ resort, John remained stuck on the bottom of the hot tub until he drowned. John died that night leaving behind two sons, his mother, father, siblings and Nicole. His death occurred because the hot tub was outfitted by a 12″ x 12″ flat drain cover, the motor / pump assembly were not equipped with a vacuum release system, there were no emergency shut off switch located around the hot tub and it is believed the pump room was locked delaying the shut off of the motor.

Florida Hot Tub Accident Lawyer.jpgBrais Brais & Rusak were hired to represent John’s estate and family. The law firm filed a wrongful death action in Miami, Florida against multiple defendants including: (1) Sandals; (2) the drain cover and pump manufacturer Hayward; (3) the motor manufacturer A.O. Smith as well as the component part distributors Hospitality Purveyors and SCP Distributors. In an effort to significantly reduce the amount of any awardable damages to the Van Hoys, Sandals sought application of Bahamian law to the lawsuit. Under Bahamian law, survivors cannot seek damages for emotion pain and suffer for the death of their loved one and the estate cannot claim damages for any pre-death pain and suffering. As a result, the application of Bahamian law would reduce the Van Hoy’s claim to the amount of the wages John would likely earn in his lifetime and burial expenses. The issue was taken up by the Court in a pretrial motion. Brais Brais & Rusak argued the United States, particularly Missouri and Florida, has a more significant relation to the case than the Bahamas and United States law should apply. The Court agreed with our legal analysis and issued an order applying Florida damages and liability law to the case.

This was Brais Brais & Rusak’s second major victory in this case. Last year Sandals and other defendants attempted to dismiss the case in its entirety requesting the case to be tried in the Bahamas. This motion was denied and the case was allowed to proceed in Florida. You can read more about that decision in our article Judge Rules Sandals Resorts & Pool Component Manufacturers Must Stand Trial in Miami, Florida for Bahamas Entrapment Drowning Death.