Federal Judge Stops Florida Law that Defunds Planned Parenthood

Last Thursday, a federal judge blocked a Florida law that attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, under the Supreme Court’s “unconstitutional conditions” doctrine. “Unconstitutional conditions” basically stop a state’s government from depriving a group of funds simply because it exercises a fundamental right that they find unacceptable. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, writing on behalf of the court, “a government cannot prohibit indirectly—by withholding otherwise-available public funds—conduct that the government could not constitutionally prohibit directly.”

Civil Liberties groups are counting this ruling as a significant victory for privacy rights, freedom of association, and personal autonomy. Conservative groups, including Governor Rick Scott, are likely not so happy.


Pokémon GO Lawsuits

An irresponsible Pokemon Go driver is about to run over a pedestrian while trying to catch a Pikachu.

An irresponsible Pokemon Go driver is about to run over a pedestrian while trying to catch a Pikachu.

The days of people peering into their phones consumed by Words With Friends, Tinder, or Candy Crush have finally been replaced by the advent of the newest handheld game craze—Pokemon Go! It seems like you can’t even grab a cup of coffee without running into someone flicking a Pokeball or trying to catch a scurrying Pikachu. The craze has swept the world and is quickly becoming our new national obsession. Although like any other distracting cell phone activity, it is also generating its fair share of problems—especially for those behind the wheel of an automobile. In Baltimore, a Pokemon player actually ended up driving his automobile into a parked police car (see http://www.cnet.com/news/pokemon-go-player-crashes-suv-into-parked-police-car/). Although wrecks like these remain rare, it is likely they will continue to endanger the drivers and commuters of our roadways for years to come.

Pokemon Go is also creating problems in the purview of one’s property rights. A class-action lawsuit in Michigan has recently been filed by Jayme Dodich of St. CLair Shores alleged that the game illegally places Pokestops and PokeGyms on private property without the landowner’s consent. This represents some of the first new cases that have been filed in an undiscovered area of law surrounding “virtual” rights… that is, if any such thing actually exists! However, it does race some well-litigated issues like trespass and landowner liability. It may even be the case that Nintendo/Niantic is found to have created an attractive nuisance or dangerous condition on one’s real property. Whatever the case may be, we at The Bruner Firm will continue to monitor this new area of law and will be prepared to fully litigate and cases involving distracted driving or Pokemon Go.


Florida authorities to intensify campaign against drunk drivers

Florida Highway Patrol officers (FHP) are getting ready for the upcoming nationwide campaign to apprehend drunk drivers on the road, an article of Action News reported on August 17.

The Tampa Bay’s DUI squad, which apprehends an estimated 150 impaired drivers every month, are intensifying their efforts for the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Victims of drunk drivers in Florida reportedly are hoping that the annual campaign will act as a catalyst to make the roads safer. A woman who lost a friend recently in a drunk driving accident told reporters that drunk drivers do not realize the consequences their actions have on other people.

Unfortunately, many people are killed in car accidents in America as a result of driving a vehicle while under the influence. However, if you lost a loved one in such an accident, working with a qualified attorney can help you obtain the financial assistance you need for recovery. If you are in such a situation in Fort Walton Beach, an attorney at the Bruner Law Firm may be able to work for you. Call us today at (850) 243-2222 to begin taking your legal action against negligent parties.


AHCA uncovers violations at a Florida hospital

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) recently discovered that a local hospital in Florida committed several violations after a mother who lost her son filed a complaint, an August 12 article of 10 News reported.

According to reports, the AHCA confirmed that a hospital committed health violations after an unannounced visit to Florida Hospital North Pinellas. Agents at the AHCA learned that the nursing staff in the facility committed most of the violations that endangered their patients. The hospital was investigated after Jeanette Gonzalez filed a complaint against them. Gonzalez’s son, Javier Roldan, died at the hospital after going in for the treatment of his broken leg. Gonzalez, however, is unable to pursue damage claims against the hospital because of a Florida law. The state’s Wrongful Death Act prevents family members from filing a medical malpractice suit resulting in the death of their loved one if the person is 25 or older and unmarried. Gonzalez claimed that hospital staff neglected her while her 33-year-old son was struggling with his injuries.

The attorneys at the Bruner Law Firm represent medical malpractice victims in Fort Walton Beach. If you were the victim of a doctor or nurse’s negligence, we may be able to offer you legal assistance. Call us today at (850) 243-2222 to learn more about your options.


Drunk driver in Florida facing charges

Two drivers in Tamarac, Florida were involved in a traffic crash that resulted in one fatality, an August 7 article of Local 10 News reported.

According to reports, 40-year-old Conan Acevedo struck a vehicle’s driver side around 2:30 a.m. at the intersection of West McNab Road and Northwest 70th Avenue. The accident occurred after Acevedo blew through a red light while travelling westbound on West McNab. The driver of the vehicle struck by Acevedo was identified as Nicolas Garcia, 18. Garcia was rushed to the hospital where he was described as “fighting for his life.” Garcia succumbed to his injuries after being admitted to Broward Health Medical Center. Acevedo, who had a blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent, was booked at Broward County Jail and he was not allowed to post bail.

The wrongful death attorneys at the Bruner Law Firm in Fort Walton Beach send their sincere condolences to the family and friends who are saddened by this tragic loss to the community.


DeLand Driver Survives Multiple Rollover Accident

Recently, a DeLand driver survived an auto accident in which his car rolled over several times before landing upside-down in a roadside easement. A video of the horrific accident was recorded on the surveillance camera of a nearby building and has been spreading across the internet.

There were multiple witnesses to the accident and many came out to extinguish the fire in the car and help the driver get out; there were difficulties at first as the car had been crushed in the accident, but eventually rescuers were able to pull the driver out through the sunroof.

The accident was reportedly caused by the vehicle hitting a mailbox and then careening into some parked ATVs before spinning out of control.

The driver sustained injuries to the head and was airlifted to a hospital where he is currently in stable condition. There were no others injured in the accident.

Luckily, this grisly accident had no fatalities, but the lawyers at Bruner Law Firm know that is not always the case. All too often, innocent people are injured or killed by unsafe drivers, dangerous road or weather conditions, or faulty auto parts. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, you can call us at (850) 243-2222 to discuss your case with experienced personal injury lawyers.


Tesla blames brakes for fatality

American automaker Tesla Motors recently stated that failing automatic brakes were responsible for the fatal Florida accident under investigation. Tesla refuted that the cause of the accident was the vehicle’s “Autopilot” technology, a July 29 article of the New York Times reported.

Tesla experts told investigators in the Senate on July 28 that the braking system of the vehicle has nothing to do with the Autopilot technology. However, an expert from an auto research company believed that the two technologies are related and work together to prevent accidents. Tesla and its Autopilot technology were investigated by the Senate after a Tesla driver in Florida was killed by crashing into a semi-truck. The driver was believed to be using the unmanned driving technology that, according to Tesla, is a “lifesaving technology” when the accident happened.

Losing a loved one in a car accident often leaves families struggling with great emotional, physical, and financial hardships. However, if you were the victim of an accident in Fort Walton Beach, the Bruner Law Firm legal team could help you obtain compensation if negligent car manufacturers are liable for your sufferings. Call our office today at (850) 243-2222 to learn more about your legal options.


430K faulty Harley-Davidson motorcycles under investigation

On July 6, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into a braking issue that could affect 430,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, according to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI).

ABS modules in some 2008 through 2011 Harley-Davidson motorcycle models may fail to work properly because they are liable to corrode. The ODI received 43 complaints of brake failure, including three crashes and two injuries. The NHTSA explained that the brake fluid could absorb excess moisture over time, resulting in the brake calipers failing to function. Although the NHTSA noted that bikers who complained about the problem could have failed to maintain their brake fluid every two years, the sudden brake failure is still cause for serious concern.

The Fort Walton Beach attorneys at the Bruner Law Firm represent motorcyclists who sustained injuries in accidents. We strongly believe that motorcycle riders should receive fair compensation if negligent parties are liable. If you were the victim of a motorcycle accident, call our office at (850) 243-2222 to learn more about your legal options.


Nickelodeon actor Drake Bell pleads not guilty to DUI charge

American actor Drake Bell, who faces charges for driving while under the influence of intoxicants (DUI) in Los Angeles in December entered a not guilty plea on June 29, an article of CBS Los Angeles reported.

Reports said authorities apprehended Bell, 30, on December 2 , 2015, on San Fernando Road, where he was seen driving erratically. The LA District Attorney’s Office revealed that Bell avoided chemical testing when he was arrested and was later charged with a count of misdemeanor DUI. Bell was previously apprehended for the same offense and may serve a maximum jail term of one year if found guilty. He is expected to appear in a court trial this August. In the meantime, he remains at large after agreeing to attend Alcoholics Anonymous.

Drunk drivers often leave families devastated when they are involved in accidents. If you were the victim of a DUI offender in Fort Walton Beach, a personal injury attorney at the Bruner Law Firm may be able to represent you. Find out how we could help you recover your loss today by calling (850) 243-2222.


State Farm Class Action Lawsuit Underway in Lousiana

The State of Louisiana has sued State Farm Insurance Company for engaging in “unsafe and deceptive” auto repair practices. Although for a while it appeared the litigation would be brought in federal court in Orlando, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has moved the litigation back to Louisiana.

Basically, the suit has alleged State Farm made their customers use knock-off, junkyard parts of a far lesser quality than they are typically obligated to under a standard contract for automobile insurance.

State Farm is the largest auto insurer in Louisiana, writing roughly a third of all policies in the State. The suit also alleges that State Farm steered their insureds to “direct repair facilities,” which are forced through market pressures and contractual obligations to make vehicle repairs as quickly and cheaply as possible—many times leaving the drivers of repaired vehicles in unsafe vehicles.

In a statement last week, Attorney General Caldwell said, “State Farm has violated Louisiana laws by engaging in a pattern of unfair and fraudulent business practices aimed at controlling the auto repair industry and forcing unsafe repairs on vehicles without the knowledge or consent of Louisiana consumers…”

It will be interesting to see how this litigation proceeds. Many of our clients initially reach out to us because they have received an unfair and lowball estimate on their property damage. Hopefully, litigation like this will push insurers to meet their duties and perform all repairs as they are contractually obligated to.


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Bruner Law Firm represents clients throughout Florida’s Emerald Coast including Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Mary Esther, Niceville, Freeport, Defuniak Springs, Crestview, Shalimar, Navarre, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Laurel Hill, Bonifay, Chipley, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Valparaiso, Miramar Beach, Okaloosa County, Walton County, Santa Rosa County, Escambia County, Bay County, and Holmes County.

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