In the Headlines 

Bogenschutz, Dutko & Kroll: J. David Bogenschutz (Criminal Defense: General Practice; Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 1989) represented the late Jahseh Onfroy, better known as XXXTentacion, prior to the 20-year-old Florida rapper’s death in June. Bogenschutz spoke to the Sun-Sentinel about his client’s need for heightened security in the weeks leading up to his fatal shooting. “His legacy at age 20 is just that he was a kid doing what God gave him the gift to do and recognizing there was more to life than being inside a courtroom, and accomplishing it,” Bogenschutz said. “And that’s really the sad ending on this kid’s life, the loss of that potential and the loss of the ability to make people feel good about themselves.”

Cohen Blostein & Ayala: Jay Cohen (Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs; Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, 2008) spoke with WPLG Local 10 News about the condition of a homeless woman who was discharged from Broward Health Medical Center just five days before a homeless advocate found her in dire condition. The 59-year-old woman was found covered in sores and with “stinging pain” all over her body, according to Local 10. Cohen questioned the hospital’s decision to discharge the visibly sick woman. “That’s a woman that this layperson believes needed continuous care in a hospital setting,” he said.

Greenspoon Marder: William Berger (Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking & Finance; Litigation – Real Estate, 2010) represented Eagle Arts Academy, a Florida charter school, before the school board. Eagle Arts, which opened in 2014, struggled with finances and staff retention. The Palm Beach Post reported that Berger implored the board “to step back, be creative, and innovative,” though board members ultimately voted against the charter. Not discouraged, Berger said, “We’ll just let the court proceedings play out.”

Law Office of Scott N. Richardson: Scott Richardson (Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2017) represented former Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja in a “stand your ground” case over the killing of unarmed motorist Corey Jones. Jones had recorded the ultimately fatal confrontation with Raja on his phone, during which the plainclothes officer approached him as he waited for his car to be towed. Unaware that Raja was an officer, Jones fled—and was shot. As the Palm Beach Post writes, both the prosecutors and defense attorneys agree that this case demonstrates self-defense under “stand your ground.” They simply disagreed on which party should receive that immunity.

Honorable Mention

Kelley Kronenberg: James D. Silver (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation, 2018) joined Kelley Kronenberg’s Fort Lauderdale office as a partner. An attorney for more than 30 years, Silver is a certified mediator in Florida and graduated in the top 3 percent of his law-school class. Silver was the leader of Conrad & Scherer’s bankruptcy and creditors’ rights practice before joining Kelley Kronenberg. 

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough: Michael Lessne (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy, 2018) was appointed to a board membership of Leadership Broward, of which he was a 2017 graduate. Per their website, Leadership Broward is “an educational program focused on enhancing leadership skills, providing practical community action experience, and facilitating interaction with established community leaders.”

ITN Feature

► Parkland Victims Bring Suit Against School District 

Kelley/Uustal: Robert W. Kelley (Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs; Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs; Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2008) is representing three students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who are suing the school district and the sheriff’s office for negligence, which they allege contributed to a shooting that left 17 dead and 17 more injured. 

Forty students in total have sent notices of their intent to sue; according to the Sun-Sentinel, more than half of those suing were not physically injured during the attack. Instead, psychological and emotional wounds make up the bulk of their trauma. Of the 24 physically uninjured and filing suit, several witnessed their friends’ deaths, heard fatal gunshots, and were forced into hiding during the attack.

Because of a state statute, the school board’s insurance company was able to limit its liability to just $300,000 for the entire shooting. This is because the insurer was able to argue the event was a single multi-party claim, as opposed to several individual claims. According to the Sun-Sentinel, school district spokeswoman Nadine Drew wrote in an email that “the School District is not attempting to limit damages, but it is simply stating the law of the State of Florida that has been put in place by the Legislature.” 

Of the three students Kelley is representing, one was physically injured. But all of them, he argues, have suffered. 

“A lot of these kids are going to be traumatized for the rest of their lives,” Kelley said. “The sheriff’s office and the school board had the opportunity to step in and stop what was happening by identifying [the shooter] as a threat and treating him like one. They didn’t.”