While on the phone with her mother, a 36-year-old St. Petersburg woman said she needed to hang up because she smelled smoke in her apartment building. Tragically, this would be the last conversation she would have with her mother. As she tried to leave her second floor apartment, she became trapped in her building’s interior stairwell, and died from carbon monoxide poisoning. When the firm investigated the circumstances of her death, it was found that the building was in violation of numerous safety code provisions. Additionally, the fire was started by a mentally-challenged resident of the apartment building who has supposed to be under the supervision of a state agency, but had gone unsupervised. While the apartment owners attempted to argue that the fire was arson, and therefore out of their control, the firm was able to make a strong case on behalf of the victim’s estate, and won a substantial settlement.
In August 2009, a medical doctor and mother of two bled to death following a laparoscopic appendectomy. Her husband, also a medical doctor, filed a suit against the surgeon and the hospital for his wife’s wrongful death. Mark H. Perenich represented the family, and after extensive discovery, found that that the victim had complained about her low blood pressure. Despite low blood pressure being a sign of hypotension, her plea was ignored. 16 hours after the surgery, she went into cardiac arrest and died. The case was vigorously litigated, and eventually settled for a significant settlement.
In July 2012, a wrongful death case was filed on the behalf of the murder victim of Patrick A. Evans, former Vice President for Jabil Circuit. The victim was survived by a young daughter. Mark H. Perenich tried the case before a Pinellas County jury, who returned an award for $54,026,084.13, including compensation for funeral expense, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
In 2005, 17-year-old Matt Miulli died during conditioning for the Alonso High School baseball team. A lawsuit, filed by his parents, alleged that the Hillsborough County School Board failed to use reasonable care when they allowed Matt to participate in conditioning activities without first obtaining a pre-participation physical examination. His wrongful death case also consolidated with a medical malpractice case, as the firm found that Matt’s pediatrician, who was co-managing his heart condition along with cardiologists, breached the accepted standard of care by clearing Matt for baseball conditioning without first consulting Matt’s cardiologist. Board certified civil trial attorneys Bryan Caulfield and Lorrie Robinson, with assistance from attorney Matthew Noyes, obtained a verdict in excess of $2,000,000. Following Matt’s tragic death, his parents were able to raise funding for additional ambulances and defibrillators for youth sports.
A 40-year-old mother of three was admitted to a hospital for a routine urological surgery. Post-surgery, she was given an epidural for the pain. Overnight, her blood pressure dropped, causing her to become hypovolemic. An order for a blood transfusion was given, but there was a substantial delay by the nurses in transferring the blood. The next morning, a neurological examination revealed that the woman was paralyzed from the chest down. With a permanent total disability to a woman barely in her forties, the case settled for more than $4,000,000.
A medical malpractice case also became a legal malpractice case when an attorney failed to file suit within the appropriate time period for medical malpractice claims. As a result, the client’s statute of limitations ran out, and she was unable to receive compensation for her suffering and losses. Attorney Jay Avril worked to prove not only the negligence of the lawyer and the law firm, but also the negligence of the doctor and hospital that originally caused the client’s injuries. Due to these complexities, and the fact that the injuries had occurred 9 years before the case was set for trial, the case was a particularly complicated and logistically-difficult task. Still, medical, legal, and damage experts were used to strengthen the foundations of the case, and a settlement of more than $2,000,000 was awarded to the client.
A nine-year-old boy was playing at a friend’s house when his friend found his father’s .357 magnum gun. While the boys were playing with the gun, the friend accidentally shot the other boy in the head, killing him. The settlement was in excess of one million dollars.
A 40-year old-man was admitted to the emergency room of a local hospital after experiencing chest pains and heart problems. An x-ray was taken, but never read, and the father of two was left alone for the next 5 to 7 hours. During this time, he went into cardiac arrest and died after being transferred to another hospital. An extensive investigation revealed that one of the doctors on call had left his pager in his desk, therefore delaying the administration of proper medical treatment. Additionally, hospital workers misplaced the patient for about an hour, resulting in a further delay of critical treatment. The firm successfully argued that the hospital’s negligent procedures led to the patient’s death. The settlement was in excess of one million dollars.
The plaintiff sustained serious injuries after being struck by a sanitation truck. Expert testimony established that the driver of the truck had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit when the accident occurred, and that he was driving with a suspended license. The firm proved that the sanitation company had hired the driver despite his history of drunk driving while under their employment.
Following a work injury, clients were forced to only treat with a doctor approved by their insurance company. The firm fought and succeeded in negotiating workers’ compensation settlements that gave the injured workers the ability to obtain medical treatment with their own doctors without the hassle of workers’ compensation companies.
Social Security Disability
A client was suffering from back pain and unable to return to work, but was denied twice by the Social Security Administration. The firm was successful in securing back and future Social Security Disability benefits for the client.
A woman injured her back after falling in the intentionally dimly lit foyer of a restaurant. In prior years, other patrons had fallen in the same area, but the restaurant continued to laugh off the liability claims. An expert demonstrated that the foyer stairs were dangerous, and a fair settlement was negotiated just before the identities of the previously injured patrons were to be revealed under court order.
A Vero Beach man was riding his vintage motorcycle when a truck turned into him, hitting him as if he wasn’t even there. The firm pursued the case in Indian River County, and was successful in a recovery of one million dollars for the client.
After a two-year-old broke her arm at a daycare, the firm found that the daycare failed to watch the little girl, and allowed her to play on equipment not suitable for her age. They obtained a settlement in her favor.
A teenager’s reckless joyride resulted in a lifetime of pain and limitation for a client. While the teenager was showing off for friends, he lost control of his vehicle and caused a head-on collision with the client’s vehicle. The client sustained a fractured wrist and required numerous stitches and knee surgery. The firm was successful in securing policy limits for the client.
Two women were injured when the boat shuttle they were traveling on failed to stop and ran into another boat. Following settlement discussions, each case was resolved without the necessity of a jury trial.
In January 2001, a man fell from a three story building while the building was under construction, rendering him quadriplegic. Mark H. Perenich filed suit against the property owners, who had undertaken the construction project without the retention of a general contractor. The defendant claimed immunity from liability under the Florida Workers’ Compensation statutory scheme. After an appeal to the Florida Second District Court and two mediations, the case was settled from a significant sum under a confidential agreement. As a result of the appeal, the Florida Legislature modified Workers’ Compensation.
In 1986, Mark H. Perenich filed a wrongful death lawsuit in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, after a husband and father was killed when a moving van ran into their car. The wrongful-death case was filed in Pensacola on behalf of the estate and for the benefit of the mother and two children. After protracted litigation and extensive discovery, it was learned that the tractor trailer moving van had developed mechanical difficulties traveling from Jacksonville to DeFuniak Springs, and was unable to develop full power and could not maintain the mandatory minimum interstate posted speed of 40 miles per hour.
In 2002, a 52-year-old husband drowned at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City, Florida, as he attempted to rescue two swimmers who had been swept into the Gulf of Mexico by a severe rip current. Although he successfully rescued one swimmer, he drowned during an attempted rescue of the second. There was no life guard on duty. A suit was brought against the State of Florida Department of Environmental Health Protection by Mark H. Perenich, alleging that the state had failed to provide beachgoers with adequate warnings about the dangerous rip currents. After numerous depositions and court hearings, the case was eventually settled.
Similarly, in July 2003, a teenage girl drowned at Panama City Beach after she and three friends, who were walking in thigh-deep water, were swept into the Gulf of Mexico by strong rip currents. Like the other drowning event, there was no life guard on duty. Mark H. Perenich filed another wrongful death lawsuit in Walton County on behalf of the girl’s parents. Mr. Perenich retained "Dr. Beach,” a nationally renowned expert from South Florida, who documented how rip currents develop and strengthen, and how they were especially prevalent to the Panhandle area because of the deep slope of the continental shelf. After the case was settled, the parents allocated the proceeds to a non-profit foundation designed to bring attention to the dangers of rip currents in the hopes of preventing future tragedies.