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State v. George Zimmerman (Pre-Trial) => Other Case-Related Topics => Topic started by: DebFrmHell on March 07, 2013, 06:37:37 PM

Title: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on March 07, 2013, 06:37:37 PM
I asked Jeralyn if we could discuss civil law suits and how they are affected by the Immunity Hearing and the upcoming trial.  She realizes that it is something we would like to discuss.

The one thing she will not tolerate is any attack on the characters or perceived wrong doings of any of the lawyers, particularly Mr. Crump, so it is going by the same rules as the rest of Talk Left.

CHARACTER ATTACKS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!!!!
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on March 07, 2013, 06:48:22 PM
This question was posed over at Random Topics by BoricudaFudd and I believe it is a pair of great questions.

Quote
Could a person who had been charged with a crime of self-defense and was acquitted using the basic self-defense laws and has now been sued in Civil Court, now invoke the Immunity provisions in Florida's statutes in Civil Court, even if he did rely on them for his Criminal Case?

The Civil Court would at that point hold the Immunity Hearing and grant Immunity or not as it would be done in Criminal Court. So far, from my understanding of the law, it only say the "Court" none specific as if this is something that needs to be only in Criminal Court, just a Court of Law.

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).


I am not sure that a mere acquittal would free Zimmerman from the threat of a civil suit.  I believe that a judge in the criminal case would have to make that determination either at the beginning, middle or end of the criminal trial.  It may make it a harder job to get a judgment against him, however.

I am going to bring over Jeralyn's bog on this from the main page.  I think it would be a great reference for us.

History.—s. 4, ch. 2005-27.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on March 07, 2013, 06:57:38 PM
From the Main Talk Left Page:

Quote
The second big issue was the immunity hearing. The Judge asked the defense if it still wanted the court to reserve the April, 2013 date for a pre-trial hearing on the issue of immunity from prosecution or had decided to "roll it into the trial." O'Mara said the hearing dates could be released.

Most of the prosecution argument was done by State's Attorney John Guy and FDLE Attorney David Margolis. Towards the end (7:47 into second part of hearing) State's Attorney De La Rionda referred to O'Mara waiving his right to raise stand your ground. The judge interrupted him and told him O'Mara hadn't waived the issue, he just said a hearing in April would not be necessary. She said we'll know if he intends to raise the issue when he files a motion.

My take: O'Mara can raise the immunity issue at trial. He can file a motion to dismiss based on immunity shortly before trial (or whatever cut-off date the court sets) and waive his right to a pre-trial hearing on the issue.

The matter would proceed to trial. At the end of the prosecution's case, the defense would ask the court for a motion to dismiss the charges based on his motion he is immune from prosecution. He would also ask for a motion for judgment of acquittal, arguing the state had not made a sufficient case to go to the jury.

The judge would rule on both motions. If denied, the defense would present its case to the jury. It would argue self-defense. The burden of disproving self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt is on the prosecution.

After the defense completed its case, it would renew both its motion to dismiss based on immunity from prosecution, and its motion for judgment of acquittal.

If those motions were denied, the jury would deliberate and return a verdict. It could find Zimmerman not guilty, guilty of lesser offenses, or guilty of the charged offenses.

When was the last time a Florida case proceeded this way? Last month, in the trial of Daniel Diodato in Martin County. Diodato and his wife had placed an ad in Craig's List offering his wife's companionship services. Kyle Hicks responded and came to the couple's trailer. After his "session" with Diodato's wife, Diodato said Hicks refused to pay and got aggressive, threatening him and his wife and causing him to fear for his wife's safety. He shot Hicks in the butt.


Daniel Diodato told the jury on Thursday he shot Kyle Hicks after Hicks became aggressive and threatened his life.

Diodato said the night Hicks visited his home, he was responding to an ad his wife, Sarah Diodato, had posted promising companionship. Diodato told the courtroom Hicks did not seem to want to pay his wife for sexual activity and became agitated.

Diodato said when Hicks began "mixed martial arts" wrestling him, he was left with no choice but to shoot Hicks with his shotgun....State prosecutors argued Diodato was not protecting himself and was after collecting money from Hicks. Prosecutors said Hicks was shot as he was trying to leave the scene and that the story told by Sarah and Daniel Diodato does not add up.

The shooting happened in October, 2011. The trial began on January 29, 2013. Diodato did not file a motion to dismiss based on immunity until the week before trial. Here is the docket, which shows:
•1/24/13: Defense files Motion to Dismiss Based on Fl. Statute 776.032 (Stand Your Ground)
•1/25/13: Defense files Amended Motion to Determine Immunity and Dismiss Based on Fl. Statute 776.032
•1/28/13: Jury selection begins. Defense waives right to pre-trial hearing on stand your ground motion.
•1/29/13: Opening Arguments. Defense tells jury Diodato acted in self-defense. Prosecution begins case.
•1/31/13: Defense argues motion for judgment of acquittal and motion to dismiss based on stand your ground immunity. Both are denied. Defense begins its case, Diodato testifies.
•2/1/13: Defense concludes case and renews motion to dismiss based on stand your ground immunity and motion for judgment of acquittal. Both are denied. (Judge denies immunity on ground that Hicks was trying to leave when Diodato shot him from behind.) Jury deliberates, returns verdict of guilty on lesser offenses (misdemeanor assault and battery vs. aggravated felony assault and battery carrying 20 and 25 year mandatory sentences) and guilty of the felony of deriving proceeds from prostitution
•2/18/13: Diodato sentenced to time served on the assault and battery and 30 months on the felony of deriving profits from prostitution.

From the Docket:


1/31/13: Court Minutes[.] Defense Motion for J.O.A Count 1 - 3 - denied[.] Defense Amended Motion to Dismiss Count 1- Denied[.] Defense Renews All Previous Motion and Objections

02/01/2013 Court Minutes[.] Defense Renews All Previous Motion and Objections - Judge[:] All His Previous Rulings Stand and Objection to Motion in Limine Ruling Remains[.] Defense Renews Motion for J.O.A.[.]Denied[.] Defense Renews Motion (Stand Your Ground)to Find Defendant Immune from Prosecution- Denied [.] Jury Finds the Defendant Count 1 Guilty of Battery a Lesser Included Offense[,] Count 2 Guilty of Assault a Lesser included Offense[,] Count 3 Guilty as Charged[.] All Bonds Revoked Pending Sentencing

In other words, all O'Mara has ceded is the right to a pre-trial hearing on whether George Zimmerman is immune from prosecution (and the right to seek a immediate writ of prohibition in the District Court of Appeals, which if successful, would preclude a trial from taking place.) O'Mara can still file a motion to dismiss based on immunity, argue it to the Court at the close of the state's evidence and renew it at the close of his case, before it goes to the jury. The judge would determine the motion based on the evidence presented at trial. If denied, O'Mara can still argue self-defense, including self-defense based on the immunity/stand your ground statute, to the jury. See, for example, McDaniel v. State:


When a defendant's motion to dismiss on the basis of immunity is denied, the defendant may still assert the issue to the jury as an affirmative defense. Peterson, 983 So. 2d at 29.

As Florida Judge Milton Hirsch explained in the Wyche case:


If, at a pretrial hearing, a defendant meets his burden and establishes his claim of immunity by a preponderance of the evidence, any charge as to which the immunity applies would of course be dismissed. If, however, the court finds that the defendant has not met his burden, the court's ruling has no preclusive effect, whether pursuant to the "law of the case" doctrine, the issue preclusion doctrine (i.e., collateral estoppel), or any other doctrine. Such a defendant would still be free at trial to plead his claim of immunity to the jury.

At trial the burden of proof is exclusively on the prosecution to establish the guilt of the defendant beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt. To earn an acquittal, the defendant need do no more than show reasonable doubt - a quantum of evidence considerably less than a preponderance. And any attempt to bar a defendant from asserting a lawful defense based on the trial court's ruling that the defendant had not sufficientlv established that defense at a pretrial hearing would no doubt run afoul of the defendant's constitutional entitlement to a fair jury trial, see U.S. Const. amend VI; Art. I Sec16, Fla. Const.

The jury, in finding Zimmerman not guilty based on self-defense, whether its decision is rooted in the immunity statute or traditional self-defense, is not making a finding on immunity from a future civil suit. It is merely deciding whether the state has proved the criminal charges it brought, or lesser included criminal charges, beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the jury rejects self-defense, including that based on the immunity statute, Zimmerman can argue on appeal that the court erred in not dismissing the case based on the immunity statute before it went to the jury. He can also argue on appeal the court erred in rejecting his motion for judgment of acquittal, based on the state’s failure to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, and any other pre-trial and trial errors (for example, rulings on discovery such as refusal to order disclosure of witness addresses, Brady violations, refusal to grant a trial continuance evidentiary rulings at trial and jury instructions.)

Every time I have tried to access that thread today I have been getting script errors.  The rest of the article is in regards to W8 so I didn't include it here.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: FromBelow on March 07, 2013, 09:07:31 PM
IANAL, but it seems the 'spirit' of the SYG law is intended to protect someone that acted in self-defense from both criminal prosecution and civil suits. Since by the time a defendant becomes a defendant he's already been prosecuted, the criminal immunity part doesn't make much sense to me.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s.

Why would someone claim immunity from criminal prosecution unless they have already been prosecuted? Should a potential defendant pay the expense of hiring a lawyer, gather evidence and experts, and then prior to any charges being filed against him request a hearing before a judge in order to gain immunity? That doesn't make sense to me. Who would be in opposition to the claim since the state hasn't filed charges?

I know that my post isn't directly on topic, but how immunity does and maybe should work is. IMO. Criminal prosecution has already occurred by the time a judge gets involved to decide to grant it or not. What's left is civil immunity.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on March 07, 2013, 09:22:39 PM
I am curious as to how it could apply if the defendant is found guilty.  If there are appealable errors, using Jeralyn's example: "any other pre-trial and trial errors for example, rulings on discovery such as refusal to order disclosure of witness addresses, Brady violations, refusal to grant a trial continuance evidentiary rulings at trial and jury instructions," could immunity be granted by the 5th DCA?

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: unitron on March 07, 2013, 11:51:25 PM
"Towards the end (7:47 into second part of hearing) State's Attorney De La Rionda referred to O'Mara waiving his right to raise stand your ground."

Did Bernie really say "stand your ground" and not "immunity"?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on March 08, 2013, 12:08:33 AM
"Towards the end (7:47 into second part of hearing) State's Attorney De La Rionda referred to O'Mara waiving his right to raise stand your ground."

Did Bernie really say "stand your ground" and not "immunity"?

I think everyone has at some point in time used SYG, especially in MSM.  It is like a catch phrase/hot button for who ever is using it at the time.  The problem being is that it is not correct.  IMO, another part of the uphill battle.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 05, 2013, 11:57:15 AM
Trayvon Martin's parents settle wrongful death claim

Quote
SANFORD - Trayvon Martin's parents have settled a wrongful death claim for an amount believed to be more than $1 million against the homeowners association of the Sanford subdivision where their teenage son was killed.

Their attorney, Benjamin Crump, filed that paperwork at the Seminole County Courthouse, a portion of which was made public today.

In the five pages of the settlement that were available for public review, the settlement amount had been marked out. Lower in the agreement, the parties specified that they would keep that amount confidential...
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/trayvon-martin/os-trayvon-martin-settlement-20130405,0,6893976.story

Curious.  I would have thought they would wait until the trial before reaching a settlement.

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: FromBelow on April 05, 2013, 12:20:43 PM
Trayvon Martin's parents settle wrongful death claim
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/trayvon-martin/os-trayvon-martin-settlement-20130405,0,6893976.story

Curious.  I would have thought they would wait until the trial before reaching a settlement.

"No money, no peace!" Seems to be the MO of team Crump. People just don't want to deal so they give him (and others like him) what they want so they can have some peace. IANAL, but I think most civil suits against those with deep pockets end up that way. It's cheaper and less hassle to just pay some money. I think it's called extortion.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: RickyJim on April 05, 2013, 02:58:33 PM
From the OS article,
Quote
Crump has made clear that he intends to file suit later against Zimmerman, and the settlement spelled out that Zimmerman was not part of this deal.

So Crump is hoping Zimmerman wins big against NBC, ..., Crump, ..., ....?   ;D
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: Redbrow on April 05, 2013, 03:26:49 PM
In this day and age, one million dollars is a fraction of what an actual wrongful death suit agains an entity like a HOA is worth, especially if Zimmerman were to be found guilty. This rushed settlement signals that the Martins and Crump don't truly believe Zimmerman will be found guilty.

I wonder if Sybrina will pay back the money she took from her co-workers and the state Crimes Compensation Trust Fund now.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: Redbrow on April 05, 2013, 05:40:58 PM
BTW, how do we know it was a million dollars since all parties are bound to confidentiality?

Who could have possibly leaked this figure in violation of the settlement?

Who benefits from the media sensation it is creating at this time?  ;)

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 05, 2013, 05:54:06 PM
BTW, how do we know it was a million dollars since all parties are bound to confidentiality?

Who could have possibly leaked this figure in violation of the settlement?

We don't know, and neither does the press.  I think the insurer's offer to settle for a million was made public months ago, not sure how it came out, but that offer is pretty easy to find in news reports.  Crump rejected the offer.  Now comes Crump filing notice of the month's old actual settlement in Zimmerman's criminal case (he has no duty to do this), apparently of the belief that the information will somehow be beneficial to him or his cause.

As for the actual settlement amount, I believe that is pure speculation on the part of the press.  I personally think Crump settled for well less than a million dollars, probably under half that.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: Redbrow on April 05, 2013, 06:29:35 PM
Just the bad publicity itself from attempting to defend against the iconic image of the POTUS's would-be son could cost the HOA millions in property devaluation. 250 units or so losing just 10k each adds up to 2.5 million.

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: leftwig on April 05, 2013, 08:13:29 PM
Maybe we will find out what the settlement was in a few days (http://www.cfnews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2013/4/5/trayvon_martin_s_par.html (http://www.cfnews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2013/4/5/trayvon_martin_s_par.html)).

"Crump asked that the agreement remain confidential. However, the court has decided that there is no reason for the agreement to remain confidential, and is giving Crump 10 days to appeal that decision.

We have learned, that the homeowners association's insurance company did not have to pay out a claim on the case."
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 05, 2013, 08:51:27 PM
I though such agreements were usually confidential if both parties wanted it so.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: MJW on April 05, 2013, 09:13:52 PM
Maybe we will find out what the settlement was in a few days (http://www.cfnews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2013/4/5/trayvon_martin_s_par.html (http://www.cfnews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2013/4/5/trayvon_martin_s_par.html)).

"Crump asked that the agreement remain confidential. However, the court has decided that there is no reason for the agreement to remain confidential, and is giving Crump 10 days to appeal that decision.

We have learned, that the homeowners association's insurance company did not have to pay out a claim on the case."


I reposted your comment (with credit) on the Random Topics blog. Hope that's okay.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 05, 2013, 09:43:05 PM
I though such agreements were usually confidential if both parties wanted it so.

It reads like Crump is the one who wanted the agreement to remain confidential. (CF13tv)  Not so much Travelers.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: Redbrow on April 05, 2013, 11:43:40 PM
I reposted your comment (with credit) on the Random Topics blog. Hope that's okay.

News13 is probably referring to Travelers as "the homeowners association's insurance company did not have to pay out a claim on the case."

The OS article also states that Travelers did not pay out as they are not a party to this settlement, since the incident occurred before their policy was in effect.
Quote
"Travelers is not a party to the settlement," the company said in a prepared statement. "The settlement would have been with other insurers of the homeowners association and/or the property managers."

The policy had a $1 million limit, according to federal-court records, and went into effect March 30, 2012, a few weeks after Trayvon was shot. Trayvon's mother filed a claim with the insurer after it went into effect, according to federal-court records.

The previous HOA insurer may have been the one to pay the settlement and O'Mara may have advised them to do so.

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: unitron on April 06, 2013, 12:48:32 AM
News13 is probably referring to Travelers as "the homeowners association's insurance company did not have to pay out a claim on the case."

The OS article also states that Travelers did not pay out as they are not a party to this settlement, since the incident occurred before their policy was in effect.
The previous HOA insurer may have been the one to pay the settlement and O'Mara may have advised them to do so.

Why would O'Mara even take a phone call from them, much less offer advice?

How could that possibly end other than badly?

"O'Mara said the insurance company should settle.   That means he knows his client is guilty as sin."

See?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 06, 2013, 01:34:05 AM
Why would O'Mara even take a phone call from them, much less offer advice?

How could that possibly end other than badly?

"O'Mara said the insurance company should settle.   That means he knows his client is guilty as sin."

See?

Exactly.  I asked about this "rumor" about MOM and naturally got the "insider information."  I got some insider information, too.  The dude is crazy!
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 06, 2013, 03:59:53 AM
It reads like Crump is the one who wanted the agreement to remain confidential. (CF13tv)  Not so much Travelers.

Travelers isn't a party, meaning it did not agree to confidentiality about the settlement.

As for Crump wanting to keep the settlement confidential, he should not have filed it in a pending criminal case then.  Hahahahahah.  If this news report is to be believed, Nelson give Crump 10 days to appeal her decision to make his filing in the criminal case, a matter of public record.

So, now Crump has two chores to take care.  The appeal of Nelson's decision that he not be deposed; and the appeal to Nelson, that his filing remain forever sealed.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: unitron on April 06, 2013, 04:20:03 AM
Travelers isn't a party, meaning it did not agree to confidentiality about the settlement.

As for Crump wanting to keep the settlement confidential, he should not have filed it in a pending criminal case then.  Hahahahahah.  If this news report is to be believed, Nelson give Crump 10 days to appeal her decision to make his filing in the criminal case, a matter of public record.

So, now Crump has two chores to take care.  The appeal of Nelson's decision that he not be deposed; and the appeal to Nelson, that his filing remain forever sealed.

Are we quite sure that the judge in question isn't the one in charge of the civil case and it was not him or her to whom Crump submitted the settlement agreement?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 06, 2013, 05:51:28 AM
Are we quite sure that the judge in question isn't the one in charge of the civil case and it was not him or her to whom Crump submitted the settlement agreement?

I think so.  The civil case can be dropped without giving a reason to the court.  Crump has no reason to file a copy of the settlement agreement with the civil trial court.  And we have a filing in the criminal case with that odd title, "NOTICE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION WITHIN COURT FILING," combined with a USA Today news report (http://www.hometownlife.com/usatoday/article/2058239) that:

The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that an attorney for Trayvon Martin's parents - Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin - filed that paperwork in Seminole County and that portions of it were made available for public review Friday. ...
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin's parents, declined to comment Friday. He told the Associated Press that the filing was confidential.

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 06, 2013, 06:05:10 AM
Are we quite sure that the judge in question isn't the one in charge of the civil case and it was not him or her to whom Crump submitted the settlement agreement?

A related thought.  Settlement agreements include an agreement to maintain confidentiality, and if the settlement is well-written, it will include a recitation of the consequences if the agreement is breached.  It would be funny if the payor in the agreement (the HOA and/or an HOA insurer) sued Crump for breach of contract.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: unitron on April 06, 2013, 06:09:28 AM
I think so.  The civil case can be dropped without giving a reason to the court.  Crump has no reason to file a copy of the settlement agreement with the civil trial court.  And we have a filing in the criminal case with that odd title, "NOTICE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION WITHIN COURT FILING," combined with a USA Today news report (http://www.hometownlife.com/usatoday/article/2058239) that:

The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that an attorney for Trayvon Martin's parents - Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin - filed that paperwork in Seminole County and that portions of it were made available for public review Friday. ...
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin's parents, declined to comment Friday. He told the Associated Press that the filing was confidential.


But what reason would he have to file with the criminal court?

How can settlement of a lawsuit Zimmerman is not involved in as a party, and over which he has no control, possibly be considered relevant to the criminal case?

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 06, 2013, 06:16:45 AM
But what reason would he have to file with the criminal court?

How can settlement of a lawsuit Zimmerman is not involved in as a party, and over which he has no control, possibly be considered relevant to the criminal case?

Crump is establishing that he is opposing counsel, for purposes of avoiding being deposed in the criminal case.  I think filing the settlement agreement is unnecessary for that purpose, as his proffer that he is counsel for the Martins and he intends to sue Zimmerman is likely sufficient to establish him as "opposing counsel" in that sense.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 06, 2013, 08:54:57 AM
Travelers isn't a party, meaning it did not agree to confidentiality about the settlement.

As for Crump wanting to keep the settlement confidential, he should not have filed it in a pending criminal case then.  Hahahahahah.  If this news report is to be believed, Nelson give Crump 10 days to appeal her decision to make his filing in the criminal case, a matter of public record.

So, now Crump has two chores to take care.  The appeal of Nelson's decision that he not be deposed; and the appeal to Nelson, that his filing remain forever sealed.

You are right.  It isn't Travelers.  I would think that the pay out is coming from the insurance company that held the policy before them.  Rumored to be Liberty Mutual.

Experience says that if Crump is trying to hide something then the news isn't all that hot for him.  Like the settlement isn't as high as we are being lead to believe.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 06, 2013, 09:15:07 AM
Experience says that if Crump is trying to hide something then the news isn't all that hot for him.  Like the settlement isn't as high as we are being lead to believe.

He's contractually bound to confidentiality with respect to the settlement.  What I find amusing is that he filed it in the criminal case.  As mentioned below, I think his (legal) point is to establish that he is opposing counsel, but so what?  That doesn't come close to addressing the issue of waiver of privilege.

As a PR move, it's not bad.  The public is bamboozled into a belief the settlement is recent, and naturally associates it with an admission of guilt.  The public isn't smart enough to see the difference between HOA duties and the right to use force in self defense.  Crump is good at making smoke screens, and this is just another one of many.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: TalkLeft on April 06, 2013, 09:58:01 PM
I don't think it's recent either. I suspect it was arrived at months ago. The mediation was scheduled on October 26. An e-mail from the Association's lawyer to Traveler's lawyer on Oct 8 said the Association was not going to claim Traveler's was liable and it had no objection to Traveler's taking a default in the federal declaratory suit.  Here's the e-mail that's on PACER in the federal suit:

Quote
From: Tom Slaten [redacted]
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 1:27PM
To: Catizone, John
Cc: Paula Aitken
Subject: Travelers v Retreat at Twin Lakes Homeowners' Assoc., Inc. I Estate of Trayvon Martin v. RTLCase
No. 6:12-cv-1185-0ri-18TBS

Mr. Catizone,

As you know, I am corporate counsel for Retreat at Twin Lakes Homeowners Association, Inc. Your client, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, filed a declaratory action against the Association and Sybrina D. Fulton in Case No. 6:12-cv-1185-0ri-18TBS. You were kind enough to grant my client, Retreat at Twin Lakes, an extension of time to respond to your client's complaint and offered to grant an additional extension past the upcoming October 26, 2012 mediation.

However, there are several Court imposed deadlines that require action if the Association wishes to dispute your client's declaratory action. Based on my review of Travelers insurance policy attached to your declaratory complaint the Association has
decided not to challenge your client's declaratory action in the above styled case. Therefore, please feel free to file a motion for default against the Association. If you require a formal letter please let me know.

Thomas R. Slaten, Jr.
Attorney at Law
Larsen & Associates, P.L.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 07, 2013, 01:02:10 AM
Jeralyn, you are the one person I didn't think to ask about the 5 page decision.  Do you have access to the redacted copy?  I would very much like to read it.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: TalkLeft on April 07, 2013, 03:29:59 AM
No, I don't. I'd like to see them too. I thought I did see them when they were first posted by the news, but I didn't save them. There's no record of the case I can find in Seminole County. I do have the Traveler's contract if anyone wants that.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 07, 2013, 04:03:09 AM
Jeralyn, you are the one person I didn't think to ask about the 5 page decision.  Do you have access to the redacted copy?  I would very much like to read it.

I don't think it's a "decision," or at least not a "decision" of a court.  I think the 5 page document is a private settlement agreement.  It's function is to avoid going to court ;-)  It's a private contract, where one party agrees to give up its right to sue, and the other party pays money to obtain that agreement.

I believe a copy of the the agreement was filed in Zimmerman's criminal case, and that is how the press obtained a view of it.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 07, 2013, 04:08:19 AM
No, I don't. I'd like to see them too. I thought I did see them when they were first posted by the news, but I didn't save them. There's no record of the case I can find in Seminole County. I do have the Traveler's contract if anyone wants that.

I saw that one but I don't think I saved the link.  It didn't seem relevant at the time but it might be a good reference point for the thread.   If you wouldn't mind posting the link, it would be appreciated.

Can you get your mittens on the policy from Liberty Mutual?  The one that preceded it?  Too nosy for my own good...  8-)
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 07, 2013, 04:10:35 AM
I don't think it's a "decision," or at least not a "decision" of a court.  I think the 5 page document is a private settlement agreement.  It's function is to avoid going to court ;-)  It's a private contract, where one party agrees to give up its right to sue, and the other party pays money to obtain that agreement.

I believe a copy of the the agreement was filed in Zimmerman's criminal case, and that is how the press obtained a view of it.

I know it was a poor choice of words but I was struggling to remember what to call it.  LOL.  I blame old age and medications.  That is my Go-To excuse!
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: Evil Chinchilla on April 07, 2013, 02:01:45 PM
I don't think it's recent either. I suspect it was arrived at months ago. The mediation was scheduled on October 26.

I wonder if Nelson's ruling on 10/19-- allowing defense access to Trayvon's school records and social media (over his parents' objections) plus giving Crump ten days to produce a list of everyone who was on both ends of the conversation during his 3/19 recording session with DeeDee-- had any influence on Team Crump going for an out-of-court settlement.

I suspect they always knew that there was just enough material in the school records and social media to challenge Team Crump's portrayal of Trayvon as blameless victim "defending himself from George."

Plus, I suspect Team Crump also knew by this point that the prosecution had discovered DeeDee lied under oath about going to the hospital; this may have been the reason for bringing DeeDee in for that meeting in early August-- to question her about the absence of medical records-- or she may have admitted it for some other reason during that second session.

Also, at this meeting DeeDee may have told prosecution about the 3/19 note, and prosecution may have required Sybrina (or whoever else had it by that point) to relinquish it. Team Crump may have realized that the note containing DeeDee's "Trevon" would eventually be made available to defense and to the media, and that her credibilty-- and theirs-- would take a hit.

So, this may have resulted in a "get what you can, while you can" out-of-court settlement.

OTOH, since Team Crump is-- by their own admission-- using the Martin Lee Anderson "playbook" (with refinements) in the Trayvon Martin case:

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/attorneys-use-bootcamp-playbook-to-press-trayvon-martin-case/1221545

they may be preparing to pressure the state of Florida again for the big payout.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: MJW on April 07, 2013, 03:10:18 PM
Those who haven't seen them yet might be interested in reading the April 5th tweets (https://twitter.com/ModarresLaw) from the Modaress Law Firm. The firm is closely associated with Crump, but I don't know the exact relationship. One of the tweets says in regard to the confidential filing, "We filed it." Other tweets complain about the information coming out, and accuse the defense of leaking it.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: Cylinder on April 08, 2013, 01:55:49 PM
Letter of Seminole County Clerk of Court (http://flcourts18.org/PDF/Press_Releases/Letter%20from%20Seminole%20County%20Clerk%20of%20Court.pdf)

Quote
Pursuant to the Judicial Rules of Administration 2.420(d)(2), we are notifying you that we do not agree that the information contained within this document is subject to confidentiality as contained within subdivision (d)(1)(A) or (d)(1)(B) of this rule. We will maintain this information as confidential for a period of ten days but it will become public information after that time unless you file the appropriate motion pursuant to subdivision (d)(3).

As usual, cboldt has provided some well-informed comments in another thread:

Quote
It's up at the Court's "Document" website.  April 5, 2013 Letter of Seminole County Clerk of Court

It advised Crump that the court does not agree that the document is subject to confidentiality, and gives him 10 days to file a motion pursuant to Judicial Rules of Administration 2.420(d)(3).


Quote
RULE 2.420.  PUBLIC ACCESS TO JUDICIAL BRANCH RECORDS

(d) Procedures for Determining Confidentiality of Court Records.
(3) Any person filing a document with the court shall ascertain whether any information contained within the document may be confidential under subdivision (c) of this rule notwithstanding that such information is not itemized at subdivision (d)(1) of this rule. A person filing information that he or she believes in good faith to be confidential but that is not described in subdivision (d)(1) of this rule shall request that the information be maintained as confidential by filing a "Motion to Determine Confidentiality of Court Records" under the procedures set forth in subdivision (e), (f), or (g), unless (A) the person filing the information is the only individual whose confidential information is included in the document to be filed or is the attorney representing all such individuals; and (B) a knowing waiver of the confidential status of that information is intended by the person filing the information. Any interested person may request that information within a court file be maintained as confidential by filing a motion as  provided in subdivision (e), (f), or (g).


2.420(e), (f) and (g) describe the handling of the motion, that is, the legal procedure for making argument and for the court to reach a finding.  Most everything is conducted in secret, but there will be docket entries that show activity while not disclosing the confidential information.  There are time limits for making decisions, but I don't think Florida courts adhere to any time limit rule that is not embodied in a court order; or that is useful for an appellate court to use to reach the desired outcome in a case at hand.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: Cylinder on April 08, 2013, 02:38:49 PM
Quote from: cboldt
If I understand the process (and there's a chance I don't), the clerk's initial determination as to confidentiality is limited to looking at certain limited grounds, which are listed at (d)(1).  The list at (d)(1)(A) includes items listed at (c)(1) through (c)(6).  There are other areas of court-respected confidentiality, most listed at parts (c)(7) through (c)(9), but the clerk is not empowered to rule on assertions of confidentiality not listed at part (d)(1), that is for the judge.

Quick aside, (c)(9)(A)(ii) allows for protection of a trade secret.  A private settlement is in the nature of a business deal, where the parties agree to secrecy.  Trade secrets aren't only "how to," they can also be customer lists, and other business deals.  I'm not sure how Crump (and the HOA insurer) will pigeonhole the information within the rules framework, and that doesn't really matter.  What matters is that the clerk did not find the information to be protected under (d)(1).

Anyway, this information being outside of (d)(1), we get to the process to get the issue before the judge, which is the "Motion to Determine Confidentiality of Court Records" (this title must be used in the filing, if the rules are followed).  The parties that want to keep this confidential have 10 days within which to file this motion, and the motion must be substantive both legally, and as applied to the information alleged to be confidential.

An interesting question, to me, is who are the "interested parties" for purposes of this motion.  Is that just the HOA, Crump, and Sybrina?  Or do O'Mara and the state have a part in this sideshow?  I don't know.  The simpler situation is only the HOA, insurer, Crump, and Sybrina are involved in the sideshow, and all of them will agree that the information they promised to keep secret, should be kept secret.

I bet the HOA, insurer, and Judge Nelson are pissed.  This is a totally unnecessary sideshow in the criminal case.

I wonder how likely it would be for the HOA or its representative to intevene, since they kind of have dueling interests (i.e. protecting other negotiations by keeping the terms of this one secret vs. any disclosure penalty).
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 08, 2013, 02:55:07 PM
I wonder how likely it would be for the HOA or its representative to intevene, since they kind of have dueling interests (i.e. protecting other negotiations by keeping the terms of this one secret vs. any disclosure penalty).

They'll file motions, and this will be one of the rare facets where Crump's interest and the HOA (and insurer) are in harmony.  None of them wants the material to be public, all of them deem the agreement to be proprietary, confidential, and otherwise not intended to be known - to ANYBODY.

I wondered aloud, at Diwataman's place, why the clerk hadn't sent letters to the other parties.  Is the court aware of the identity of the other parties?  If it is, does it not want them to have a voice?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 08, 2013, 03:22:05 PM
They'll file motions, and this will be one of the rare facets where Crump's interest and the HOA (and insurer) are in harmony.  None of them wants the material to be public, all of them deem the agreement to be proprietary, confidential, and otherwise not intended to be known - to ANYBODY.

I wondered aloud, at Diwataman's place, why the clerk hadn't sent letters to the other parties.  Is the court aware of the identity of the other parties?  If it is, does it not want them to have a voice?

As I read in the article, the papers that Crump filed had the amount redacted.  I am willing to bet that the amount wasn't redacted for Judge Nelson.  I don't know that he would trust Corey or de la Riondo with unredacted copies.

So if he filed any part of the agreement, isn't that a violation of the confidentiality that was agreed to with the HOA?  Especially since there is no good reason not to keep it sealed?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 08, 2013, 03:29:24 PM
As I read in the article, the papers that Crump filed had the amount redacted.  I am willing to bet that the amount wasn't redacted for Judge Nelson.  I don't know that he would trust Corey or de la Riondo with unredacted copies.

So if he filed any part of the agreement, isn't that a violation of the confidentiality that was agreed to with the HOA?  Especially since there is no good reason not to keep it sealed?

Just guessing on this part, the amount was redacted, period.  Even from the judge.  This is a confidential filing, and my sense right now is that the clerk participated in a scheme to make the existence of a settlement a matter of public knowledge.

As for Crump violating an agreement, he can argue that it was not he who disclosed, it was an error of the clerk of the court.  And, in fact, the clerk of the court erred.  I am smelling more than one rat, at this juncture.

As for no good reason to keep it sealed, there is.  Don't overlook the rights of the HOA and insurer, who are also parties to the agreement.  This is in the nature of a legal but secret business deal, in the vernacular, a "trade secret."  The court will preserve (cough cough) confidentiality, even though the clerk already let the cat out of the bag.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: FromBelow on April 08, 2013, 03:51:14 PM
Just guessing on this part, the amount was redacted, period.  Even from the judge.  This is a confidential filing, and my sense right now is that the clerk participated in a scheme to make the existence of a settlement a matter of public knowledge.

Accidents do happen, but a theory is a clerk briefly made it available so Rene could grab it and get a scoop. OS does seem to get scoops on the case. Maybe they have someone at the court helping them out.

I don't know anything about confidentiality agreements, or the specifics of what's in place for this settlement, but it seems to me filing the settlement with the criminal court puts the confidentiality of the agreement at risk even if filed as 'confidential'. As the clerk giving "10 days notice" shows. I wonder if that's a violation of some kind. Even if not it seems to me to violate the 'spirit' of such an agreement. Presumably they aren't supposed to reveal the agreement and here's Crump filing it with the criminal court with no evident need to do so.

EDIT: Heck, maybe even filing it with the court is a violation. There's absolutely no need for Nelson to know about it AFAIK. She might as well be someone off the street as far as the HOA settlement goes. Not to mention the clerk(s) that have read it. IANAL and have no idea what the confidentiality agreement says though.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 08, 2013, 04:09:03 PM
I don't know anything about confidentiality agreements, or the specifics of what's in place for this settlement, but it seems to me filing the settlement with the criminal court puts the confidentiality of the agreement at risk even if filed as 'confidential'. As the clerk giving "10 days notice" shows. I wonder if that's a violation of some kind. Even if not it seems to me to violate the 'spirit' of such an agreement. Presumably they aren't supposed to reveal the agreement and here's Crump filing it with the criminal court with no evident need to do so.

EDIT: Heck, maybe even filing it with the court is a violation. There's absolutely no need for Nelson to know about it AFAIK. She might as well be someone off the street as far as the HOA settlement goes. Not to mention the clerk(s) that have read it. IANAL and have no idea what the confidentiality agreement says though.

I don't know specifically what the settlement agreement says, but I can make a darn good guess.  It says that the agreement itself is not to be disclosed, period.  Otherwise, the insurer is "made book" as willing to settle.  I doubt it specifically mentions "agrees to not file as a confidential paper in the Zimmerman criminal trial."

Neither the HOA or insurer would ever file a copy of the agreement with the criminal court, but that does not mean that Crump filing a (cough cough) confidential filing should work a waiver of the confidentiality that the HOA and insurer extracted during negotiations with Crump.  IOW, "putting the confidentiality at risk" is not a one-sided issue.  The HOA can't make Crump behave, all it can obtain is agreements.

The clerk violated the law, that's abundantly clear.  The first line of defense the clerk will raise is that it was an innocent mistake, error, etc.  I don't buy that for a second.  This was a deliberate, limited release.

The 10 days notice is what the law provides.  Material filed as confidential is kept so, but (if the material isn't protected by a subset of the rules) only for 10 days, or longer (maybe forever) upon filing a motion to keep confidential.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 08, 2013, 05:58:35 PM
But then I have to wonder who benefits from the agreement being put online, if only for a short period of time?  It certainly doesn't benefit the Defense.  As I see it, the benefit lies with Crump.  He gets out that he is "opposing counsel" to the courts and he has something for the Martin supporters to cheer about at a time when he has been taking a bit of a beating PR wise.

If he has given copies to Judge Nelson, Angela Corey, Bernie de la Riondo, and Mark O'Mara that should violate the terms of the contract.

but what do I know...
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 08, 2013, 06:11:08 PM
If he has given copies to Judge Nelson, Angela Corey, Bernie de la Riondo, and Mark O'Mara that should violate the terms of the contract.

but what do I know...

Well, the law isn't always or only about the law.  Rules are meant to be bent and broken, and so forth.  While it is literally true that disclosure against terms is a breach of contract, disclosure against terms to people who will respect the confidentiality is not an issue.

At this point, assuming there has been a breach of confidentiality contract, it is up to the other parties in the contract to sue.  Ask if they would sue if Crump breached by giving a copy to Judge Nelson, Angela Corey, Bernie de la Riondo, and Mark O'Mara.  Without broader disclosure, the answer is "no," because the HOA and insurer don't care if those few  people know, and keep mum.

I think the HOA and insurer are effectively stymied from suit by Crump/clerk shenanigans.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: TalkLeft on April 08, 2013, 08:27:31 PM
So according to the Orlando Sentinel (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-trayvon-hoa-settlement-not-confidential-20130408,0,5675871.story) today, the settlement was agreed to without having to file suit.

Quote
Trayvon's parents did not sue the homeowner's association. They settled before their wrongful death claim reached that point.

And the Sentinel interviewed Crump about the settlement a month ago.  I wonder how they found out. They didn't find out from a court file because there was none.

It is odd that Crump would file the settlement with the court at all  if there was no lawsuit attached to it. And stranger he would file it in the criminal case.

Also, the Sentinel says Crump blacked out the dollar amount before filing it with the court. So even if the whole thing is made public, there won't be a dollar amount.

I don't handle civil cases except forfeitures related to criminal cases, but I just did a quick check of Florida's statutes and rules. Wrongful death claims are brought only by the personal representative of the estate. Mediation is available prior to filing a lawsuit. If mediation is not successful, the lawsuit is filed. When the insurance company offers policy limits, there's a greater chance of no suit ever being filed. The money is delivered to the personal representative's trust account. The personal rep then substracts the legal fees and costs and distributes the rest to herself and the other survivors. I assume this means just Tracy and Sybrina since Trayvon didn't have a will and died intestate.

If there's a million dollar settlement, and Crump takes 1/3 to 40%, and the Martins split the rest, they each get around $300,000.

Homeowner's associations are required to use pre-filing mediation when it comes to disputes over accounting and those between residents and the association. But the statute doesn't mention negligence claims or wrongful death, so I'm assuming it's just optional in such events. The Martins write a notice of intent to sue to the Association, and/or its insurance company, and either one apparently can ask for pre-filing mediation.

The estate is opened in the county where the decedent lived. In this case, Miami. Wrongful death cases that proceed to lawsuit are usually brought in that county, but they can be brought where the negligence occurred.

So my question is, why would Crump file anything with the court, let alone the court handling GZ's criminal case. GZ wasn't a party to the mediation or settlement. What business is it of the trial court whether a civil claim between the Martins and homeowners' was settled?

If there are any personal injury/probate lawyers reading, please feel free to correct any of my assumptions .
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: FromBelow on April 08, 2013, 08:36:46 PM
So my question is, why would Crump file anything with the court, let alone the court handling GZ's criminal case. GZ wasn't a party to the mediation or settlement. What business is it of the trial court whether a civil claim between the Martins and homeowners' was settled?

Welcome to the conversation. LOL
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 08, 2013, 08:37:43 PM
Trying to use a little influence on the judge?  See, the HOA paid out so the Defendant is guilty?  Might go aways if O'Mara goes for immunity before, during or after the trial since she is the one who would decide...

IANAL.  There has to be a benefit or it wouldn't have happened.  Cui Bono.

The other thing I am thinking is that with the response times for Crump/Blackwell and then a reply from the Defense that puts it really close to the start of the trial.  Would this be another way to get an extension of the court date?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: FromBelow on April 08, 2013, 11:54:20 PM
I'm not sure Jeralyn is going to be any happier than Diwataman about having the Sundance/MOM thing brought to her 'house'.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: TalkLeft on April 09, 2013, 01:46:44 AM
I don't recall Sundance being mentioned nor any mentions of a conflict between him and MOM until your post. Could you link me please?

There's a pm feature for personal messages between commenters. You can pm each other with stuff about Sundance or anything else we haven't discussed here. It's one of the few features  a forum has that blogs don't. You don't need an email address to pm, you just send the pm via these forums to the user name of the person you want to talk to. When you get a pm there will be a pop-up as soon as you log on letting you know you have a pm. I cannot read other people's pm. I think you can pm up to 4 people in one message.

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 09, 2013, 03:24:42 AM
So my question is, why would Crump file anything with the court, let alone the court handling GZ's criminal case. GZ wasn't a party to the mediation or settlement. What business is it of the trial court whether a civil claim between the Martins and homeowners' was settled?

There is a legal tactics/strategy theory in the criminal case, that Crump filed this to bolster the finding that he is opposing counsel (of sorts) in the criminal case against Zimmerman.  This finding changes the legal analysis for purposes of being compelled to testify in a deposition.  I don't find that theory appealing because the record is sufficient on that point now.  Crump's assertions are enough.

There is a PR theory, that the filing was intended to produce a news report of the settlement agreement.  The press would not run a "Crump disclosed a settlement agreement" story, because (I speculate) the agreement includes a promise from Crump to not disclose the existence of agreement.  But, if Crump files a confidential paper with the court, and somehow part of that conveniently leaks to the Orlando Sentinel, then the story of the settlement agreement comes out, but it's not coming from Crump, it is coming from a breach of confidentiality by the clerk of the court.

The motive for filing could be a combination of both legal tactics and a scheme to make the existence of a settlement agreement into a news item.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: unitron on April 09, 2013, 03:37:20 AM
There is a legal tactics/strategy theory in the criminal case, that Crump filed this to bolster the finding that he is opposing counsel (of sorts) in the criminal case against Zimmerman.  This finding changes the legal analysis for purposes of being compelled to testify in a deposition.  I don't find that theory appealing because the record is sufficient on that point now.  Crump's assertions are enough.

There is a PR theory, that the filing was intended to produce a news report of the settlement agreement.  The press would not run a "Crump disclosed a settlement agreement" story, because (I speculate) the agreement includes a promise from Crump to not disclose the existence of agreement.  But, if Crump files a confidential paper with the court, and somehow part of that conveniently leaks to the Orlando Sentinel, then the story of the settlement agreement comes out, but it's not coming from Crump, it is coming from a breach of confidentiality by the clerk of the court.

The motive for filing could be a combination of both legal tactics and a scheme to make the existence of a settlement agreement into a news item.

Well, at least that makes more sense than the notion that O'Mara would involve himself in the civil case in any way, shape, manner, or form.

If for no other reason than when would he find the time.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 09, 2013, 05:34:11 AM
So according to the Orlando Sentinel (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-trayvon-hoa-settlement-not-confidential-20130408,0,5675871.story) today, the settlement was agreed to without having to file suit.

And the Sentinel interviewed Crump about the settlement a month ago.  I wonder how they found out. They didn't find out from a court file because there was none.

Rene Stutzman also reported that O'Mara disclosed the existence of a settlement.  This disclosure was reported to have been made in a February interview with O'Mara.  News of the settlement did not come out following that interview.  News of the settlement followed disclosure by the clerk of the (criminal court) of five pages of a confidential filing made by Crump.

So, it appears the Orlando Sentinel found out at least twice.  Once in February via O'Mara, and now in April via a disclosure of some of the contents of confidential papers filed in the criminal case.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: AJ on April 09, 2013, 07:43:28 AM
A recent DiwataMan post (http://diwataman.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/blogging-and-such/) advises that Sundance, master of CTH, was a (the?) source for the rumor that O'Mara advised the HOA and their insurance firm to settle.

Sundance has been trashing O'Mara for some time.

"We don’t know the details surrounding any settlement between the homeowner’s association and the Martin family,” O’Mara says. “[W]e haven’t yet received the documents that Mr. Crump filed with the court, and we would have no other way to verify that there was, in fact, a settlement.”

http://blogs.lawyers.com/2013/04/trayvon-martins-parents-settle-with-homeowners-assn/


Just to kinda put this rumor to bed... if you believe O'Mara - and I do.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 09, 2013, 12:59:41 PM
http://blogs.lawyers.com/2013/04/trayvon-martins-parents-settle-with-homeowners-assn/

From the linked article:

Quote
A newsletter reportedly circulated by the HOA there listed Zimmerman as the contact for neighbors concerned about crime.

Copies of three issues of the newsletter are in the discovery (150-167/184 (http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/357450/trayvon-martin-documents-ocr.pdf)) The issues are in reverse chronological order. The pages within each issue are in regular order.

Zimmerman is named as the contact person for NW in two of the three issues, pp. 155 and 159.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 09, 2013, 01:51:03 PM
Has anyone seen an estimate from a knowledgeable, neutral source of how large the award would be if the HOA lost a wrongful death suit?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: leftwig on April 09, 2013, 02:06:20 PM
Anybody's guess, but in a quick internet search, it looks like wrongful death awards for things like medical services negligence to business negligence are in the $7M range, but could be much higher.  I don't know if the award for a minor's death would be higher or lower, but here is one example of an award for wrongful death in PA.


Pennsylvania wrongful death award tops $100 million

On behalf of Conner Riley Friedman & Weichler posted in Wrongful Death on Thursday, March 7, 2013

An Allegheny County woman died in 2009 when she was electrocuted in her yard. The 39-year-old mother was struck by a downed power line, which a wrongful death claim said was improperly maintained by West Penn Power Co. Relatives watched helplessly as the victim suffered repeated 7,200-volt electric shocks.

During the recent civil trial, a jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages in the sum of $109 million. The utility company immediately vowed to fight the personal injury ruling. West Penn Power recently chose to abandon further litigation and settle with plaintiffs for $105 million, an agreement that awaits a court's approval.

The jury award stands in the minds of many legal observers as the largest personal injury award in state history. Sixty-one million dollars was awarded during the trial in punitive damages as a punishment and deterrent for the defendant. The jury used the utility company's retained earnings as a barometer to calculate the punitive award.

The plaintiffs were awarded $48 million for the mother's death.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 09, 2013, 02:35:28 PM
I wonder how likely it would be for the HOA or its representative to intevene, since they kind of have dueling interests (i.e. protecting other negotiations by keeping the terms of this one secret vs. any disclosure penalty).

Wouldn't they forfeit the penalty if they didn't oppose disclosure?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: FromBelow on April 09, 2013, 04:19:39 PM
Is it possible that the confidential part of the settlement is just the amount of the settlement (already redacted) and not the rest of the paperwork?

EDIT: If so, maybe nobody will object to the redacted document being released.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: DebFrmHell on April 09, 2013, 05:20:30 PM
Is it possible that the confidential part of the settlement is just the amount of the settlement (already redacted) and not the rest of the paperwork?

EDIT: If so, maybe nobody will object to the redacted document being released.

IMO, only but I would think the dollar amount would not exceed the coverage.  I have never seen the policy in effect  before Travelers took it over.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 09, 2013, 05:36:42 PM
Is it possible that the confidential part of the settlement is just the amount of the settlement (already redacted) and not the rest of the paperwork?

EDIT: If so, maybe nobody will object to the redacted document being released.

Possible, yes.  Likely, no.  Insurance companies do not like it known that they are a soft touch, and most settlement agreements recite that disclosure of the existence of the agreement is a breach.  There are some exceptions to the non-disclosure, such as allowing financial professionals, lawyers, etc. know; and sometimes disclosure of the existence of an agreement is mandatory under public sunshine laws (not the case with Crump and the HOA).
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 11, 2013, 01:36:30 AM

Anybody's guess, but in a quick internet search, it looks like wrongful death awards for things like medical services negligence to business negligence are in the $7M range, but could be much higher.

Thanks for doing the legwork.

Quote
The jury used the utility company's retained earnings as a barometer to calculate the punitive award.

It looks like it would depend on how deep a pocket the jury thinks the HOA is, as well as how strongly they feel about whatever they find to be the culpable negligence. That is, of course, assuming they find for the plaintiff.

It would be logical for 'punitive damages' to be treated as a fine and paid into the public coffers, but I guess legislators don't think it would look good to deprive the bereaved of their windfalls.

I'm thinking the most promising issue, against the HOA or the city, would be that Zimmerman should have been advised against going armed.

Zimmerman carrying was not discussed in the HOA president's FDLE interview, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n3c5AiXfpk) and is not mentioned in what I think is the summary of his FBI interview (117/284 (http://www.clickorlando.com/blob/view/-/15490330/data/1/-/kligxm/-/Zimmerman-documents.pdf)).
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: leftwig on April 11, 2013, 07:16:49 AM
NW guidelines say that watch persons should not carry firearms while on watch or patrol.  GZ has said he was headed to the store, ie, not on patrol.  I don't think NW watch persons are required to give up the  right to own and carry firearms.

I think the biggest issue the HOA probably faced was a background check on GZ.  I assume they didn't do one and I think that is where they would be most vulnerable.  GZ had an altercation with police and had a restraining order placed on him in a domestic violence dispute.  These issues won't come out in the criminal trial, but I believe would have been an issue in the civil action against the HOA who appointed GZ watch captain.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: MJW on April 11, 2013, 01:39:09 PM
The defense filed a motion (http://www.gzlegalcase.com/index.php/court-documents/139-motion-to-unseal-information-listed-as-confidential) to unseal the confidential agreement filed with the court.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 11, 2013, 01:59:35 PM
The defense filed a motion (http://www.gzlegalcase.com/index.php/court-documents/139-motion-to-unseal-information-listed-as-confidential) to unseal the confidential agreement filed with the court.

He's leaving it to Crump or the state to argue for no release, or limited release.  I imagine the HOA insurer will move to intervene, as well.  O'Mara has put on the record very good argument for why the settlement agreement should come in to the criminal trial, and points out that Tracy Martin's statements about who is heard screaming changed from "not Trayvon" to "was Trayvon," with Crump coming on the scene in between those conflicting statements.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 11, 2013, 03:27:35 PM
I don't think NW watch persons are required to give up the  right to own and carry firearms.

I wonder if a judge would allow a defense attorney in a civil case to make an argument based on the right to bear arms. This isn't about the state infringing rights. It's a tort claim between private parties.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: leftwig on April 11, 2013, 04:06:18 PM
You're talking about the guidelines of a national organization to which the NW of RATL was not affiliated.

Zimmerman's NW got its guidelines from the Sanford PD. They said nothing about going armed, as discussed in the Dorival thread. (http://forums.talkleft.com/index.php/topic,2198.0.html)

Passing the buck to the Sanford PD would probably be part of the HOA's defense strategy. It would be up to the jury whether to buy it.

Don't disagree with anything above.  The point about GZ needing to give up his personal rights to own a carry a weapon because it is the leader of a NW still stands. 

Quote
A self-serving statement from a witness with credibility issues. As far as I know it is uncorroborated, and we don't know what evidence might emerge to challenge it.

May well have been a self serving statement, but that doesn't mean its not true or able to be corroborated (ie it hasn't been proven false).  GZ added that he was headed to the store as he often did the grocery shopping on Sundays after dinner.  Could he produce credit card records showing grocery store purchases on Sunday evening?  I doubt we'll ever know, but the burden would be on the opposition to prove he wasn't headed to the store or on that he was on watch if they wanted to sue the HOA or police for not informing GZ that he shouldn't carry. 

If looking to sue the city, I would think NEN's instructions would be used as evidence against the city.  I imagine Crump doesn't want to tackle that one until after the criminal trial because I think some of the same instructions will be used in both cases with diametrically opposed objectives. 
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 11, 2013, 04:36:30 PM
May well have been a self serving statement, but that doesn't mean its not true

It means that the statement carries less weight than it would if it were not self-serving.

I find it hard to believe that you did not understand perfectly well what I meant. This straw man nonsense is tiresome and insulting.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: TalkLeft on April 11, 2013, 11:44:19 PM
His statement was not self-serving, and it was backed up by his father and sister, whom his father told the police had been texting with GZ about going to the store right before he left. Also, his father said he goes to the grocery store every Sunday night.

As for GZ having credibility issues, that is unsupported speculation.

I've deleted the original comment with these allegations. Please don't quote them or your responses will be deleted.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 12, 2013, 12:30:08 AM
His statement was not self-serving

That could be a long argument on a minor point, so I'll agree to disagree.

Quote
and it was backed up by his father and sister, whom his father told the police

Hearsay. Or do you mean there is a statement from the sister? Your wording is confusing.

Quote
Also, his father said he goes to the grocery store every Sunday night.

Fair point.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: nomatter_nevermind on April 12, 2013, 01:21:23 AM
The point about GZ needing to give up his personal rights to own a carry a weapon because it is the leader of a NW still stands.

RATL is private property. The HOA could prohibit anyone going armed in the common areas, just as it makes other rules for use of the common areas. 

Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: leftwig on April 12, 2013, 07:01:36 AM
It means that the statement carries less weight than it would if it were not self-serving.

I find it hard to believe that you did not understand perfectly well what I meant. This straw man nonsense is tiresome and insulting.

The statement only carries less weight if its not true.  That its potentially self-serving subjects it to more scrutiny, but does not give it less weight. 

I understood perfectly well what you meant and I disagreed.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: IgnatiusJDonnelly on April 12, 2013, 07:35:48 AM
His statement was not self-serving, and it was backed up by his father and sister, whom his father told the police had been texting with GZ about going to the store right before he left. Also, his father said he goes to the grocery store every Sunday night.

As for GZ having credibility issues, that is unsupported speculation.

I've deleted the original comment with these allegations. Please don't quote them or your responses will be deleted.

Didn't his Father ASK George if Sunday was indeed his typical night for Grocery shopping?
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: FromBelow on April 14, 2013, 03:48:50 AM
Would the negotiations between Crump and the HOA and/or insurance company be recorded or witnessed? The reason I ask is a post made on CTH which asks if Crump had misrepresented his knowledge of Trayvon's school disciplinary actions or LE encounters would it effect the recent HOA settlement. Waltherppk responds with:

Quote
If there were made false representations to induce an insurance company to settle it is insurance fraud which is a criminal offense as well as voiding the settlement agreement.

If the negotiations aren't recorded or witnessed it seems that would be difficult to prove.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: cboldt on April 14, 2013, 06:07:28 AM
Would the negotiations between Crump and the HOA and/or insurance company be recorded or witnessed? The reason I ask is a post made on CTH which asks if Crump had misrepresented his knowledge of Trayvon's school disciplinary actions or LE encounters would it effect the recent HOA settlement. Waltherppk responds with:

If the negotiations aren't recorded or witnessed it seems that would be difficult to prove.

There are many instances where negotiations, events, etc. aren't recorded, and the evidence is presented to the judge in the form of testimony.  Credibility of the witnesses is part of the calculus then, but "proof" and allegation don't depend on having a recording.

I don't think the parties to the settlement agreement drilled too deep (probably not at all) into Martin's character.  The issue wasn't ultimate culpability of Zimmerman, it was litigation avoidance for duties that might be assigned to the HOA.  Even if the HOA and insured believed they had a strong case, say 95% probability of success on the merits, they might still settle to avoid the cost of defense and any PR fallout that accompanies being aligned against Team Crump.

Edit addition: I don't think Crump's stance, assuming he mislead the parties about Martin's character, comes close to the "insurance fraud."  His assertion is that he intends to sue the HOA, and it is that assertion that would be tested for truth or falsity.  He isn't claiming certain losses, or even predicting the outcome of a civil claim.
Title: Re: CIVIL LAW SUITS
Post by: TalkLeft on April 17, 2013, 03:45:30 PM
comments about gun control and/or gun deaths in America deleted. Please keep the discussion to the civil law suit.