The biggest technological trend in recent years has been social media. Regardless of age, gender, and race, it seems almost everyone is posting to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram.

With any new technology comes new headaches and problems. Recently, there have been some cases of employees getting into trouble after their postings on social media (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/melissa-cairns-ohio-teach_n_2529166.html). Ironically, many of these stories have gone viral thanks to the same networks that seem to be causing the problem. The question still remains: exactly what can an employer do to an employee when it comes to social media posts (http://www.tirebusiness.com/article/20160104/NEWS/160109988/blog-legal-use-of-employee-social-media)?

Do employees have rights when it comes to what they post on the Internet?

Eric RosadoEmployee Social Media Rights
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Fort Myers Church Members Victims of Car Crash

As more than 100 worshipers at Second Haitian Baptist Church in Fort Myers settled into the pews for a peaceful Easter Sunday evening concert, they had no idea how quickly their lives would change.

A day of joy turned into fear when an out-of-control car crashed into the small brick worship hall, hitting worshipers who sat in the 33-year-old driver’s path. Many were run over and pinned under the vehicle. Fellow members came to their rescue, lifting the car off the injured and applying immediate first aid.

More than 21 People Injured

By the time the dust cleared, more than 21 Second Haitian members were injured, with the majority of individuals having to be treated at local hospitals. Thankfully, no one lost their lives in the traumatic event, but a number of lives were changed due to the seriousness of their injuries, from broken bones to serious cuts.

Said Rev. Israel Suarez, founder and CEO of The National Association Charities in Fort Myers to The News-Press, “This is not about the physical part of the building. But there are 21 people who have been affected by this. These people were not able to go to work. They may have problems paying their rent. They will have some economic problems.”

Although the church sits in shambles, the determination of the congregation continues to push their mission forward, holding services in their parking lot, and thanks to the generosity of Harvey-Engelhardt Funeral and Cremation Services, at another chapel in town. Through the support and compassion of local churches and organizations, Second Haitian is finding light in the midst of darkness.

To assist congregation members as they rebuild their lives after injury, the Fort Myers Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato, which specializes in personal injury cases, has been chosen to represent the injured. As the authorities continue to piece together what happened on April 20, 2014, Wolf & Pravato will continue to stand by the side of the victims in Fort Myers and fight for their rights in a court of law.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the injured and to their families at this difficult time. The entire Fort Myers community was shocked that one car could possible cause so much pain and affect so many lives. My client was trapped under the Lexus and nearly lost his life; he has suffered tremendously. We are investigating to see if there were any defects or malfunctions within the Lexus vehicle that caused or contributed to the terrible injuries suffered by the parishioners of the church.” Says Vince Pravato of Wolf & Pravato

Congregation Rebuilding Efforts

Community members have set up an account for Second Haitian Baptist Church at SunTrust Banks in Fort Myers for anyone who wishes to help the congregation rebuild its facility or assist those who have been affected. With the outpouring of compassion already from the community and the continued support headed its way, Second Haitian can focus on the needs of its members.

Remarked one victim who returned to the scene to worship following the crash, “Nothing could have stopped me from coming here. This is my best place.”

Eric RosadoWolf & Pravato in Fort Myers to Represent Victims of Second Haitian Baptist Church Crash
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Strict Enforcement for ‘Move-Over Law’

The law requires that all drivers must move at least one lane away from any emergency vehicle that is parked on the roadside while its emergency lights are on. The law states: On a two-lane roadway, you are required to slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.

If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, you must slow down to five miles per hour; if you are driving on an interstate or roadway with multiple lanes of travel in the same direction, and you approach an emergency or law enforcement vehicle parked along the roadway, you must vacate the lane closest to that vehicleas soon as it is safe to do so.

If you are not able to safely move over, you must slow down to a speed of 20 MPH below the posted speed limit unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer.

If you violate the Move Over Law, you are putting the law enforcement officer and yourself at danger. Failure to obey this law can result in substantial fine and points on your license. Since the year 2000, over 170 law enforcement officers that were stopped on the side of the roadway have been killed by passing vehicles.

As a Ft. Lauderdale wrongful death attorney and a Ft. Lauderdale personal injury attorney, I have represented many police officers that were seriously injured due to the negligence and the fault of drivers ignoring the Mover Over Law. Please, take a moment to re-read the application of the law and make sure, the next time you see the emergency lights flashing from a patrol car on the side of the highway, you take the appropriate and lawful action to avoid a serious accident.

If you have been involved in a Fort Lauderdale area car accident, contact us immediately.

We will answer all of your questions, explain your rights and help you to achieve justice. Wolf and Pravato are based in Fort Lauderdale, but are here to help victims and their families from Miami to Ft. Myers.

Eric RosadoStrict Enforcement for ‘Move-Over Law’
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In 2003, the Florida legislators and Governor Bush passed a law capping, or limiting, medical malpractice damages to $500,000 – $1,500,000, depending on the case.  These caps are found in Title XLV Torts Section 766.101 and limit the recovery for non-economic damages to $500,000 from providers and $750,000 from non-providers — except in cases of wrongful death or catastrophic injury, when the limits rise to $1 million and $1.5 million, respectively.  The effect of this limitation on damages is that only people who suffer minor or less traumatic and devastating injuries will received full compensation .  As a Miami Medical Malpractice attorney , I believe that those who are in most in need of full compensation are treated unfairly and this is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

Governor Jeb Bush pushed hard for the cap on Medical Malpractice damages.  He argued that it would end frivolous lawsuits.  While it was a great marketing ploy, the facts tell a different story.  Frivolous cases, by their very definition, bear nor merit and pose no threat to the insurance giants whatsoever.  These cases, if filed at all, are most often dismissed and have only a small, limited value.  However, when people suffer truly catastrophic injuries, severe brain damage, total paralysis and wrongful death, due to the negligence or recklessness of a hospital or doctor, full compensation should not be reduced to a small percentage just to benefit enormous insurance companies and multinational corporations.

On February 9, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court will hopefully make a finding that the cap on damages violates the Equal Protection Clause and they give the rights back to the people who have suffered grave injuries and injustices.  You should never face financial loss because of the carelessness of someone you trusted to help you.

If you are the victim of Fort Lauderdale-area medical malpractice, the lawyers at Wolf & Pravato can help you to fight for the justice that the law affords you. To learn more about how to make a successful Fort Lauderdale malpractice claim, schedule a consultation with a Fort Lauderdale malpractice attorney at Wolf & Pravato, serving Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and beyond. Call us today at 1-954-633-8270 .

 

Eric RosadoFlorida Supreme Court to Determine if Medical Malpractice Caps Constitutional
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today announced that Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG) is recalling 794,247 child safety seats because the harness locking and release button does not always return to its locked position. A button that is not in the locked position can allow the harness adjustment strap to slip back through the adjuster as a child moves around in the seat and results in a loose harness, increasing the risk of being injured a crash

DJG said the problem involves certain restraint systems manufactured from May 1, 2008, through April 30, 2009, which have a “Center Front Adjuster” (CFA) for the harness. These include infant, convertible , and booster child restraint systems which were sold both as stand-alone seats or part of a travel system (with a stroller).

Click here to view more information from Dorel about the recall, including a complete list of the models being recalled.

DJG said it intends to provide consumers with a remedy kit consisting of a small tube of non-toxic, food-grade lubricant to be applied to the CFA to prevent sticking and allow it to properly engage the CFA strap . Instruction on how to apply the lubricant will be provided, along with a label to indicate that the repair has been completed.

Until the remedy has been applied, consumers can continue to use the seats , however, parents and caregivers should make sure the harness is properly adjusted and the lock/release button is fully in the locked position. After adjustment, pull on the shoulder part of the harness to make sure it is secure and does not loosen.

NHTSA began a formal investigation of this issue on March 5, 2010, and indicated it would continue to keep the investigation open to further evaluate the adequacy of the recall scope .

Consumers who want more information about this recall should contact the manufacturer directly at 1 866-623-3139 or via email to harnessadjustment@djgusa.com.

Consumers are reminded that they can get additional information about all child safety seat recalls, and recalls for all vehicle makes and models as well as tires at NHTSA’s safety web site: www.safercar.gov. Consumers can also sign up at this site to receive free, automated electronic notification of specific vehicle, child seat and tire recalls as soon as they are announced.

 

Eric RosadoConsumer Advisory: Dorel Recalling Nearly 800,000 Child Safety Seats For Safety Harness Issue
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The U.S. Department of Transportation released results from an unprecedented ten-month study of potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles . The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the study last spring at the request of Congress, and enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to conduct new research into whether electronic systems or electromagnetic interference played a role in incidents of unintended acceleration.

NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of producing the large throttle openings required to create dangerous high-speed unintended acceleration incidents. The two mechanical safety defects identified by NHTSA more than a year ago – “sticking” accelerator pedals and a design flaw that enabled accelerator pedals to become trapped by floor mats – remain the only known causes for these kinds of unsafe unintended acceleration incidents. Toyota has recalled nearly 8 million vehicles in the United States for these two defects.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “We enlisted the best and brightest engineers to study Toyota’s electronics systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas.”

In conducting their report, NASA engineers evaluated the electronic circuitry in Toyota vehicles and analyzed more than 280,000 lines of software code for any potential flaws that could initiate an unintended acceleration incident. At the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, NASA hardware and systems engineers rigorously examined and tested mechanical components of Toyota vehicles that could result in an unwanted throttle opening. At a special facility in Michigan, NHTSA and NASA engineers bombarded vehicles with electromagnetic radiation to study whether such radiation could cause malfunctions resulting in unintended acceleration. NHTSA engineers and researchers also tested Toyota vehicles at NHTSA’s Vehicle Research and Test Center in East Liberty, Ohio to determine whether there were any additional mechanical causes for unintended acceleration and whether any of the test scenarios developed during the NHTSA-NASA investigation could actually occur in real-world conditions.

“NASA found no evidence that a malfunction in electronics caused large unintended accelerations,” said Michael Kirsch, Principal Engineer at the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC).

While NASA and NHTSA have identified no electronic cause of dangerous unintended acceleration incidents in Toyota vehicles or any new mechanical causes beyond sticking pedals and accelerator pedal entrapment, NHTSA is considering taking several new actions as the result of today’s findings, including:

  • Propose rules, by the end of 2011, to require brake override systems, to standardize operation of keyless ignition systems, and to require the installation of event data recorders in all passenger vehicles;
  • Begin broad research on the reliability and security of electronic control systems;
  • Research the placement and design of accelerator and brake pedals, as well as driver usage of pedals, to determine whether design and placement can be improved to reduce pedal misapplication.

NHTSA and NASA will also brief the National Academy of Sciences panel currently conducting a broad review of unintended acceleration and electronic throttle control systems on the reports released today.

“While today marks the end of our study with NASA, our work to protect millions of American drivers continues,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “The record number of voluntary recalls initiated by automakers last year is also very good news, and shows that we can work cooperatively with industry to protect consumers.”

Based on objective event data recorder (EDR) readings and crash investigations conducted as part of NHTSA’s report, NHTSA is researching whether better placement and design of accelerator and brake pedals can reduce pedal misapplication, which occurs in vehicles across the industry. NHTSA’s forthcoming rulemaking to require brake override systems in all passenger vehicles will further help ensure that braking can take precedence over the accelerator pedal in emergency situations. The ongoing National Academy of Sciences study, which will examine unintended acceleration and electronic vehicle controls across the entire automotive industry, will also make recommendations to NHTSA. The NAS study was launched in spring 2010 alongside the NHTSA-NASA investigation and will be finalized later in 2011.

In 2009 and 2010, Toyota recalled nearly eight million vehicles as part of the sticky pedal and pedal entrapment recalls. Toyota also paid $48.8 million in civil penalties as the result of NHTSA investigations into the timeliness of several safety recalls last year. Across the industry, automakers voluntarily initiated a record number of safety recalls in 2010.

 

Eric RosadoU.S. Department of Transportation Releases Results from NHTSA-NASA Study of Unintended Acceleration in Toyota Vehicles
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Toyota Motor Corp issued three recalls affecting nearly 2.2 million vehicles on Thursday, citing accelerator pedal issues.

In the biggest of the three, Toyota said it would recall nearly 1.4 million vehicles because of the potential that the floormat could get lodged under the accelerator pedal and trap it.

This would widen its late 2009 recall of its Camry and other models to address the floormat risk.

Three models are affected by this recall, including 761,000 RAV4 crossovers for the model years 2006 through 2010.

 

Eric RosadoToyota recalls 2.2 million vehicles over pedal issues
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U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced federal guidance to expressly prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses. The prohibition is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Department to combat distracted driving since the Secretary convened a national summit on the issue last September.

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”

The action is the result of the Department’s interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.

“Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit.”

FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road. Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers. Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.

During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department’s plan to pursue this regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the risks posed by distracted driving. President Obama also signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment. Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009.

The regulatory guidance on today’s announcement will be on public display in the Federal Register January 26 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on January 27.

The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving www.distraction.gov.

 

Eric RosadoU.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Federal Ban on Texting for Commercial Truck Drivers
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The state’s insurer of last resort says it will not provide coverage for homes with extensive damage caused by tainted drywall from China.

Already, Citizens Property Insurance has dropped coverage on two homes that are vacant because of defective drywall, which corrodes metals, produces a foul smell and causes electrical and other problems. Late Wednesday, the company reversed its decision to drop coverage on a third, occupied house, saying it made a mistake.

Most of the 58 homes that filed claims for tainted drywall in the past 18 months have been reviewed and will continue to be insured, said Citizens spokeswoman Christine Ashburn. The damage was not considered extensive and the homes remain occupied.

Yet some homeowners with the defective drywall wonder what they’ll do about insurance. Fixing a home with defective drywall typically exceeds $100,000, and homeowners with mortgages could lose their homes if they can’t find coverage. Insurance companies have steadfastly denied claims caused by the drywall.

Citizens does not cover homes with existing damage, whether from tainted drywall, hurricanes or other problems that happened when it was not insuring the property.

“If a home has existing damage, we will not provide coverage for the property unless the damage is repaired, or we are provided with proof of intent to repair the property,” Ashburn said.

Late last year, Citizens notified James Ivory, a retired mechanic from Punta Gorda, that it planned to drop coverage of his house. Citizens said it retracted the decision late Wednesday, saying it was a computer-generated error.

“I don’t have any money to enjoy my retirement. This thing has got me down and out,” Ivory said Wednesday afternoon, before receiving word of the change.

Citizens made a similar mistake with Ivory before. In 2009, Citizens said his coverage would be canceled but rescinded the decision after criticism and after an inspection found the damage from drywall wasn’t that bad.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson , D-Fla., questioned Citizens President Scott Wallace in a letter on Tuesday about the decision to pull Ivory’s coverage.

“I am concerned about the effect of Citizens’ nonrenewal or cancellation decision on the tens of thousands of Floridians suffering through the nightmare of tainted drywall, especially those who are unable to find affordable coverage in the voluntary insurance market ,” Nelson wrote.

Most insurance companies, including Citizens, have fought paying homeowners’ claims for Chinese drywall, saying they are not responsible for covering the damage, said Tom Lynch, a Citizens board member and president of Plastridge Insurance Agency.

A federal judge in New Orleans issued a ruling on Dec. 16 agreeing with nine insurance companies taking that position.

After Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005, there was a shortage of building materials so some contractors used Chinese drywall, Lynch said. He said it’s not the type of damage that insurers typically cover, and some insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for damage that is not “sudden and accidental.”

Some builders have refused to pay for damage caused by their use of drywall, with some blaming subcontractors that have since gone out of business.

 

Eric RosadoCitizens Property Insurance won’t cover some homes damaged by Chinese drywall
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Faulty Harness Strap Chest Clips May Fracture; Posing a Laceration Risk and Choking Hazard to Children.

Britax Child Safety, Inc., is announcing a recall of 17,251 Chaperon Infant Car Seats sold in the United States because the occupant harness chest clip may break as an infant is being secured into the car seat. Britax is also recalling 2,350 of the same seats sold in Canada.

Britax said the sharp edges of the broken chest clip “creates a risk of injury” both to the child and/or care giver and can create a choking hazard to the infant.

The car seat manufacturer said it had approximately 400 complaints of broken chest clips, including reports of three minor injuries (scratches) to children or caregivers, and one report of a child placing a broken component of a chest clip into the mouth.

Britax said it would mail replacement chest clips free of charge to all registered owners and to retailers with current inventory by November 11, 2010. Consumers who have not registered their car seat with Britax should contact Britax to receive a free replacement chest clip.

Britax said if the chest clip is broken, remove it from the harness along with any fragments found. Consumers should continue to use the car seats without the chest clip until the replacement chest clip is installed.

Consumers wishing to get further information about this recall, or order the free replacement chest clip should contact Britax Child Safety, Inc., at (888) 427-4829 or at www.chaperoneseatrecall.com.

 

 

Eric RosadoConsumer Advisory: Britax Announces Child Safety Seat Recall
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