Articles Posted in Pinellas County

A caretaker is facing charges of abuse of a mentally disabled person after police said she hit several residents at a group home with a frying pan.

Darnika Martin is charged with two counts.

According to the arrest report, she struck two mentally ill patients at a group home in Pinellas Park.

The woman was unaware that cameras were rolling when she lunged at one of the residents with a frying pan.

The owner just happen to review his cameras over the weekend.

The woman apparently struck one man several times because he was attempting to get food from a bag.

The woman is out on a $10,000 bond.

People living in group homes are usually there because they cannot take care of themselves on a daily basis. These are some of the most vulnerable people in society, and sadly, neglect and abuse run rampant in these facilities. Even worse, people living in group homes are not able to tell others about what is happening to them.

If you have a loved one who is living in a group home, you may have reason to believe that neglect or abuse is happening. Our Tampa Bay Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you get the answers you need. We know the regulations that govern group home responsibilities, and what these institutions can and cannot do.

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A Pinellas County woman is suing an Oldsmar Aldi grocery store, alleging negligence led to her fall.

The woman filed a complaint Feb. 11 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against Aldi LLC, doing business as Aldi Inc., alleging the grocery store operator failed to exercise reasonable care for her safety.

According to the complaint, on May 11, 2017, the woman went to shop at the Aldi grocery store in Oldsmar when she fell due to a puddle of liquid on the floor. She sustained bodily injuries, resulting in pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, and the expense of hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment.

The woman says Aldi negligently allowed the puddle of water to remain on the floor and failed to clean up the mess.

Spills happen in grocery stores. In fact, you have probably been shopping and heard something fall or shatter followed by “Clean-up on Aisle 5” over the loudspeaker. When spills do happen, the owner or operator of the grocery store is supposed to get the spill cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time so that customers or employees don’t slip and fall.

A slip and fall in a grocery store can result in serious injuries. When you slip on something like a puddle of liquid on a smooth floor, you gain velocity, which increases the force of your impact. You could easily break an arm, shoulder, kneecap, elbow, or leg, or land on your back and end up with head injuries or spinal cord trauma. A slip and fall can also cause your body to twist in unnatural ways that tears ligaments or cartilage, which can result in painful injuries that require surgery.

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A resident is suing Pinellas Park nursing home operators, alleging breach of duty and negligence.

The woman filed a complaint Feb. 1 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against Pinellas Park Facility Inc., doing business as The Care Center at Pinellas Park, alleging they failed to exercise reasonable care in operating a nursing home in according with the state statutes.

According to the complaint, between July 29-Aug. 20, 2018, the woman was a resident at The Care Center of Pinellas Park. As a result of the facility’s negligent acts and omissions, the woman suffered a fall and injury Aug. 14, 2018.

The woman says this resulted in pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, medical and hospitalization expenses and aggravation of a pre-existing condition. She alleges the facility failed to chart changes in her medical condition, failed to consult with her power of attorney, family and/or legal representatives and failed to monitor and provide a safe environment.

Many nursing home residents are injured in falls every day across the country. They may suffer hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and other serious injuries. In a majority of these cases, these injuries could have been prevented if staff and management had been supervising residents properly and administering appropriate care.

If you or a loved one was hurt in a nursing home fall, you may have the legal right to seek financial compensation from the person or company responsible. Our Tampa Bay Nursing Home Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can provide you with an immediate, free consultation about your case so that you know what steps to take next.

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The Diocese of St. Petersburg has launched a new website in response to the latest Catholic church’s sexual abuse scandal.

The site boasts the biblical words: “Each of us shall give an account to God.”

The local diocese established the site last month, following the release of a Pennsylvania grand jury report about the molestation of more than 1,000 children by at least 300 Catholic priests and the cover-up by church officials.

On the new site, Bishop Gregory Parkes addresses the crisis in a two-minute video that seeks to assure his flock of almost half-million Catholics in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Citrus and Hernando counties that the diocese has established a firewall of safeguards.

Parkes said the new “accountability” site was set up to provide “resources and information on how we are accountable to you, the people of God.”

The website, which links to a list of “credibly accused” priests and lay persons, states how much has been paid out to victims — $6.3 million since the diocese was founded in 1968. The site also has a link encouraging prayers, in keeping with Parkes’ request that parishioners pray for all who “have been wounded by crimes of abuse” and for “the priests and bishops who have justly served with compassion and kindness.”

It also addresses safeguards such as mandatory background screening and fingerprinting for those who work with minors and vulnerable adults.

Earlier this month, Parkes posted a letter to the new site following State Attorney General Pam Bondi’s announcement that she was launching an investigation into how Florida’s Catholic dioceses have handled allegations of sexual abuse of minors. The bishop said his diocese has been transparent and pointed to the list of accused priests on full display on its website. The list names nine priests and five employees.

It is the church’s responsibility to supervise all of its clergy, priest and religious leaders. When they fail to do so, this negligent supervision can result in a child being sexually assaulted. When children are not protected from sexual predators in a church setting, this can result in a legal claim against the religious institution.

If you know of or suspect any type of sexual abuse happening in your church, school, or workplace, please report it to the proper authorities. You can also contact our Florida Clergy Sexual Abuse Attorneys at Whittel & Melton for free guidance on what steps to take next. We are experienced at handling sexual abuse cases against various religious institutions, including the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and Judaism.

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A Pinellas County customer is suing a Gulfport bar/grill, alleging negligent supervision led to him being attacked.

The man filed a complaint Aug. 8 in Pinellas County Circuit Court against the bar/grill alleging the establishment failed its duty to implement reasonable security and provide a reasonably safe premise to protect customers and guests.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 4, 2016, the man was physically attacked, beaten and stabbed by assailants who were patrons on the premises.

As a result, the man suffered bodily injuries, the expense of medical and nursing care and treatment and the expense of hospitalization.

The man alleges that the establishment did not supervise and/or monitor the unreasonably dangerous situation on the premises and failed to provide employees with adequate means to avoid, prevent or deter criminal activity on the property.

If you have been attacked in a bar, or were injured in a bar fight, you might be wondering if you have a legal case to see damages. Making a claim against a bar or nightclub for your injuries from a bar fight is a personal injury lawsuit that revolves around negligence. To prevail in a lawsuit against a bar for your suffering, you must prove negligence on the part of the establishment, and show that because of that negligence you were injured.

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A Dunedin woman alleges she was injured when an unmarked curb at Costco caused her to trip and fall.

The woman filed a complaint on April 10 in the 6th Judicial Circuit Court of Pinellas County against Costco Wholesale Corp. alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the woman alleges that on Sept. 5, 2017, while she exited the Costco store at the Clearwater Mall, she tripped on an unmarked curb, fell and was injured.

She holds Costco Wholesale Corp. responsible because the store allegedly failed to mark the change in elevation of the curb, failed to give warning of any latent or unrevealed dangers upon exiting the store, and failed to properly inspect and maintain premises.

Property owners in Florida have a duty to keep their property reasonably free from dangerous conditions that could potentially harm visitors. If such a hazard does exist, the property owner has a duty to warn visitors of the dangers until they can be properly repaired. Premises liability claims arise when property owners fail to acknowledge this duty and someone gets hurt on the property as a result.

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A Tallahassee man is suing a Clearwater miniature golf facility, alleging negligence.

The man filed a complaint Nov. 7 in Pinellas Circuit Court against the mini golf business owners, alleging they failed to provide a safe environment for its business invitees.

According to the complaint, on Aug. 2, the man was at the miniature golf course when he unknowingly stepped down a steep angle on the floor, causing him to fall.

The lawsuit states the man suffered serious injuries to his right leg and back, resulting in pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of earnings and aggravation of a previous existing condition.

The man alleges the business owners failed to provide a side walkway, lighting, and warning of a steep drop-off, failed to inspect the hidden dangers on the property, and failed to warn the man of the dangerous drop-off.

Mini golf is usually a fun experience enjoyed by everyone. No one ever thinks they can be injured playing mini golf, but the truth is, you can certainly sustain injuries while mini golfing. Even the safest mini golf attractions can have lapses of negligence. As an invitee of the mini golf course, you as the guest have a right to be reasonably protected against any safety risk while in the park under Florida premises liability law. Failure on the mini golf location’s part to protect you may be considered negligence.

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A motorcyclist was killed Tuesday evening in a crash, and according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, charges could be filed against the driver who slammed into the biker.

The incident occurred just before 7 p.m.

HCSO believes the biker was operating a motorcycle on Boyette Road when he drove in between two vehicles as he was approaching the intersection of Balm Riverview Road.

At the same time, a female driver was heading westbound on Boyette Road, attempting to turn left and travel south. She pulled into the path of the motorcycle and struck the biker with the passenger side of her car.

The biker was apparently not wearing a helmet and died at the scene after he was ejected from the motorcycle, according to reports. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to police, the female driver had an “odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from her mouth and admitted to having consumed alcohol.”

The woman agreed to a blood draw and could be charged based on the result, investigators said.

Motorcycle accidents usually involve serious injuries, and in the worst cases, death. A motorcycle offers riders very little protection in the event of a collision, leaving bikers vulnerable to catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord trauma, traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, neck and back injuries, knee and shoulder injuries and broken bones.

Our Tampa Bay DUI Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can protect your rights after a motorcycle accident, and help you and your loved ones pursue compensation for losses. As former DUI prosecutors, we know how to hold drunk drivers accountable for the pain and suffering they cause to motorcycle accident victims and their families.

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The final report on Hurricane Hermine is in. Heavy rainfall caused more flooding and strong winds brought down trees and powerlines.

Here are the final numbers:

Storm Surge

Cedar Key 7.5 feet

Clearwater Beach 4.41 feet

McKay Bay (Tampa Bay) 4.09 feet

St. Petersburg 3.58 feet

Port Manatee 3.21 feet

Peak Wind Gusts

Indian Shores 78 mph

Treasure Island 71 mph

St. Petersburg 63 mph

Clearwater Beach 62 mph

Cedar Key 60 mph

MacDill 55 mph

Cedar Key 54 mph

Sarasota/Bradenton 54 mph

Crystal River 53 mph

Brooksville 53 mph

Anna Maria 52 mph

Tampa 46 mph

St. Pete/Clearwater 47 mph

Lakeland 42 mph

Winter Haven 41 mph

Plant City 40 mph

Inverness 35 mph

Rainfall

Baskin (Pinellas) 22.36

Largo (Pinellas) 16.11

Gulfport (Pinellas) 14.30

Dunedin (Pinellas) 12.93

Lake Worrell (Pasco) 11.04

Seminole (Pinellas) 10.87

Belleaire (Pinellas) 10.58

Holiday (Pasco) 10.22

Clearwater (Pinellas) 10.03

Palmetto (Manatee) 9.82

Longboat Key (Manatee) 9.61

Ellenton (Manatee) 9.46

Sarasota/Bradenton (Manatee) 9.38

Port Richey (Pasco) 9.24

Tampa (Hillsborough) 6.83

Valrico (Hillsborough) 6.77

Sun City Center (Hillsborough) 6.55

Wesley Chapel (Pasco) 6.55

If your home was damaged by Hermine:

  • Get in touch with your insurance provider ASAP
  • Take any possible steps you can to protect your home from further storm damage
  • Document all damage with photos or video
  • Compose an inventory list of all damages
  • Take down notes on any information your insurance company gives you
  • Save all receipts for expenses related to the damage and/or repairs
  • Make copies of all documents sent to you by your insurance company

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In most cases, it won’t make a difference whether your home or business was damaged in a tropical storm or a hurricane. The damage can be the same regardless of if it was caused by a hurricane or tropical storm.

Even though a hurricane can produce heavier rains and more intense wind and flooding, a property can still be damaged in a tropical storm, including wind, rain, mud, mold and debris. In fact, many insurance policies categorize windstorm coverage and flooding under the same cause of damage. However, every insurance policy is different, so it is imperative to review your policy and make sure you have appropriate coverage.

A hurricane and a tropical storm are both types of  tropical cyclones that spur thunderstorms and high winds. The only difference is in the intensity. A hurricane is the most powerful type of tropical cyclone with sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. What is important to highlight is that some damages caused by hurricanes is not always covered by a traditional homeowners’ insurance policy. Living in Florida, it is essential to understand how important insurance is when a hurricane or tropical storm barges through. While you should be covered by your insurance in the event of a tropical storm or a hurricane, sometimes insurance companies withhold payments or severely underpay for what is owed.

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