Leesfield Scolaro is fully operational, fully staffed and fully funded during the COVID-19 Pandemic. If you wish to discuss a new case, you may call us at 305-854-4900 or 800-836-6400, or you may contact us via email by filling out the online form here. Stay safe and follow the CDC guidelines. Leesfield Scolaro - 46 years of uninterrupted and productive service to counsel and clients.

Articles Posted in Legal Tip

Published on:

Attorney Thomas Scolaro was recently featured in an exclusive interview on LawDragon.com.  Notably Mr. Scolaro addresses results past and present, including the successful litigation against a furniture manufacturer and the hurdles in forcing the industry to change inadequate industry standards to prevent toddlers from sustaining fatal injuries:

LawDragon: Can you describe a recent matter that you’ve handled?

photo__1822055_thomas
Thomas Scolaro: A two-year-old boy was killed when he tried to climb up his dresser to reach the baby-cam. As he pulled out the drawers to climb to the top, the center of gravity shifted and the dresser tipped over onto him. He asphyxiated to death. He only weighed 30 pounds yet was able to cause the dresser to tip over. We successfully settled the lawsuit with the manufacturer. However, since this dresser was actually compliant with all furniture industry tip-over standards, I felt that we needed to shine a flashlight on the inadequacy of the voluntary furniture tip-over standard and hold them accountable. I am currently suing the furniture industry trade group, American Home Furnishings Alliance and ASTM International for negligently promulgating a known inadequate tip-over standard. A 30-pound, two-year-old boy should never be able to tip over a dresser. If that can happen then the standard used by manufacturers is grossly inept.

Published on:

51hYy2KWKwL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_In the mid-nineteenth century, Congress passed the “Limitation Act” to induce capitalists to invest money in the maritime and shipping industries.  The Act achieves this purpose by exempting allegedly innocent vessel owners from any liability beyond the value of their vessel, i.e. “the limitation fund.”  In other words, where a vessel owner is not personally negligent, the full extent of his liability is the limitation fund.  The Act applies to all kinds of vessels, including commercial boats, pleasure yachts, and even jet skis.  Most commonly, the Limitation Act is invoked where a maritime accident is caused solely by the negligence of the vessel owner’s employee or agent.  When faced with liability, a vessel owner may file a petition for protection under the Limitation Act, which must be filed in federal court.

After the vessel owner deposits with the court an amount representing the full value of the vessel, the court issues a stay for all related claims against the vessel owner pending in any other forum, and directs all potential claimants to file their claims against the vessel owner in the federal court within a specified period of time.  See Fed. R. Civ. P. Supp. Rules F(3), F(4).  In a typical proceeding under the Limitation Act, if the vessel owner is found liable, but limitation is granted, the court distributes the limitation fund among the claimants in an equitable proceeding known as a “concursus.”

Without question, the Limitation Act is an antiquated doctrine that serves to deny justice to victims of horrific maritime accidents.  For instance, the owner of a large, successful maritime corporation (i.e. tow boat company, marine salvage company, jet ski rental company) may be entitled to significantly reduce the value of injury claims caused by their employees.  Additionally, injury victims are forced to bring their claims in admiralty jurisdiction upon the filing of a limitation petition, which deprives them of a jury trial.  As discussed below, there are exceptions to these harsh procedural hurdles that must be utilized in maritime injury cases.

Badges
Contact Information