Colson Hicks Eidson Files Lyft Wrongful Death Lawsuit against Ride Service and Driver Involved in Fatal Miami Accident

November 23, 2015 / 2:09 am

Lyft Driver Failed to Yield the Right Away Killing Motorcyclist

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 18, 2015) — Coral Gables-based law firm Colson Hicks Eidson, filed a wrongful death negligence lawsuit against Lyft Florida, Inc., a ridesharing transportation service, and one of its Miami drivers who was involved in a fatal crash with a motorcyclist.

The Lyft wrongful death lawsuit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, alleges that Lyft neglected to properly train its driver, Pirooz Pakdel, who failed to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist, Loinier Perez, 29, of Miami. The victim is survived by his wife, Poliana, who was eight months pregnant with the couple’s first child at the time of the incident.

According to the lawsuit, Perez was struck on October 31 while Pakdel was carrying a pair of Lyft passengers in his 2003 Jeep Liberty. Pakdel struck the motorcycle, the suit says, while making an improper left hand turn from NE 1st Avenue onto NE 36th Street. Perez was hit with such force that he was ejected from his motorcycle. He was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.

The accident raises questions about the upstart car service’s ability to properly train and vet the backgrounds of drivers who offer discount transportation under the Lyft name.

Typically, drivers operate their own automobiles as independent contractors and respond to ride requests from customers who register with the company online. According to the suit, drivers can apply to join Lyft by logging into a company app or web-based portal. They provide information about themselves, including their names, phone numbers, home and email addresses, bank information, vehicle registration, insurance and vehicle description.

“It is the responsibility of taxi services to thoroughly supervise and vet the backgrounds of drivers before they get behind the wheel of a car to offer transportation services to the public,” said a Colson Hicks Eidson partner, who represents the Perez estate along with Susan S. Carlson, who is of counsel at the firm. “In this case, Lyft, which isn’t even authorized to operate in Miami-Dade County, fell far short of its obligation to act in the best interests of public safety and an innocent life was taken. We need to enforce stronger regulations and training programs if these ride sharing services are going to be allowed in our community.”

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified economic and non-economic damages for Perez’s wife and for her unborn son, alleges that Pakdel lacked the necessary experience and training to operate as driver for hire.

“Defendant Lyft knew or should have known that defendant Pakdel was improperly trained or suited for the job before the date of this incident,” the suit alleges. “Further, defendant Lyft knew or should have known of the unsuitability and lack of proper training of Pakdel at the time he was hired and before the date of the subject incident, and that such unsuitability would result in injury to others, including decedent Loinier Perez.”

The emergence of Lyft as well as Uber, its principal competitor in major U.S. cities and counties, has posed an array of safety and regulatory challenges for local governments that seek to ensure safeguards for consumers who want cheaper car services than those offered by traditional taxi and limousine operations.

In a campaign highlighting alleged risks associated with Lyft and Uber, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association has raised questions about both firms over safety, insurance, driver background checks and other issues.

In Miami-Dade County, neither Lyft nor Uber is authorized to operate. Officials have used sting operations to issue more than 3,300 citations. They have impounded dozens of cars operated by Lyft and Uber drivers. Both companies have been paying for their drivers’ tickets and impound fees.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez has reportedly said that he hopes to see the county’s taxicab and limousine rules rewritten to legalize both ride services before the end of his year.

In Broward County, Lyft and Uber have been intermittently barred from conducting operations. But in October, county commissioners allowed both companies to operate after resolving a contentious standoff over driver insurance, background checks and other regulatory requirements.

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About Colson Hicks Eidson

The law firm of Colson Hicks Eidson is a trial firm with more than 40 years of experience handling local, national and international litigation. Partners at the firm have had the distinction of holding the following offices: President of the 60,000-member American Association for Justice; President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; President of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers; President of the Dade County Bar Association; President of the Miami-Dade Florida Association of Women Lawyers; United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Chairman of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission. For more information, call 305-476-7400.

About Susan S. Carlson

Susan S. Carlson is of counsel at the firm. She has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, commercial and class action litigation. As a litigation and injury attorney, she has been involved in numerous million dollar personal injury settlements and verdicts.

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MIAMI (November 2, 2023) – Colson Hicks Eidson announced today that it has been named in the 2024 list of The Best Law Firms in America. The Miami-based firm has once again received this honor at both the national and metropolitan level. This follows a recent announcement where seven of the firm’s attorneys were named as Best Lawyers in America” for 2024 across a range of fields.

“We strive every day to provide the best possible representation for our clients, and we are honored to continue to receive this recognition for our work,” said Dean C. Colson, Managing Partner of Colson Hicks Eidson.

Best Lawyers, a distinguished peer-review legal publication company, develops The Best Law Firms in America listings through individual lawyer and law firm surveys and firm recognition history. Colson Hicks Eidson is recognized in the following areas.

National Tier 2 (Represents national clients and smaller companies)

  1. Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs

Metropolitan Tier 1 (Scored within a certain percentage of highest-scoring firms in area)

Miami

  1. Bet-the-Company Litigation
  2. Commercial Litigation
  3. Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  4. Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
  5. Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
  6. Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  7. Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
  8. Insurance Law

Metropolitan Tier 2 (Scored within a certain percentage of the next highest-scoring firms in area)

Miami

  1. Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants
  2. Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs

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About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a boutique litigation law firm based in Miami, Florida, serving clients in local, national, and international matters across multiple languages. Practice areas include complex civil and commercial litigation, catastrophic personal injury, medical negligence, product liability, class action, mass tort, and white-collar criminal defense for the most serious and challenging of cases.  Since 1971, the firm and its lawyers have consistently worked to be respected by the state and federal judiciary – securing numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts, judgments, and settlements on behalf of clients. Learn more at www.colson.com.

Colson Hicks Eidson (CHE) is proud to announce its recent involvement in a significant legal matter with statewide implications. Sabrina Saieh, an attorney at CHE, has filed an amicus brief in the First District Court of Appeal in the case of State of Florida, Agency of Health Care Administration v. Alfredo Ivan Murciano, M.D. in support of Dr. Murciano’s brief.

The amicus brief was filed on behalf of CHE senior partner Roberto Martinez, who served on the most recent Florida Constitution Review Commission and was the primary sponsor of an amendment to the Florida Constitution, now found in Article V, Section 21, titled “Judicial Interpretation of Statutes and Rules.” This amendment explicitly prevents courts and Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) from deferring to administrative agencies’ interpretations of state statutes or rules.

The brief urges the First District Court of Appeal to recognize that Article V, Section 21 was added to the Florida Constitution to prevent executive branch agencies, such as the Agency of Health Care Administration (ACHA), from imposing their legal interpretations on the courts and ALJs. The Florida Constitution prohibits ALJs and the courts from accepting mandates from ACHA to adopt their findings of fact or issue orders based on ACHA’s interpretations of statutes and rules that contradict those determined by the ALJs or courts during a de novo review.

This amicus brief underscores CHE’s dedication to defending the integrity of the Florida Constitution and ensuring that judicial interpretation of statutes and rules remains impartial and independent from administrative agencies.

Organizing Committee Appointee  Stephanie Casey formally honored by Judge Altman

MIAMI (September 9, 2023) –  Colson Hicks Eidson, a multilingual complex civil and commercial litigation law firm based in Miami, FL, today congratulated Stephanie A. Casey for her leadership as an ad-hoc organizer of the Florida Southern District’s 6th Biennial Bench and Bar Conference. She was recognized formally by Judge Roy Altman for her remarkable service at the event in Miami Beach on September 9, 2023. 

The Bench and Bar Conference of the Southern District – a collaborative effort between the US District Court and the South Florida Chapters of the Federal Bar Association – brought together legal professionals, judges, and experts in a sold-out event, attracting more than 1,000 attendees. Casey played a pivotal role in organizing this prestigious gathering, which featured a day-long program of engaging panel discussions with esteemed judges, legal experts, and members of the Southern District of Florida’s Bench and Bar.

One of the highlights of the conference was the “Supreme Court Roundup,” featuring distinguished speakers Miguel A. Estrada and Neal Katyal. Additionally, a thought-provoking panel discussion marked the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Gideon v. Wainwright decision, with Yale Law Professor Akhil Reed Amar, the Honorable Kathleen M. Williams, and the Honorable Robert N. Scola, Jr. 

“We are immensely proud of our partner Stephanie Casey for her exceptional contributions to the 6th Biennial Bench and Bar Conference,” Senior Partner Curt Miner said. “Her leadership and commitment to advancing the legal profession are exactly in line with our firm values, and we look forward to her continued success.”

Casey was appointed to the Southern District’s Bench and Bar Committee by Chief Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in May 2022.  

About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a renowned law firm based in Miami, Florida that is recognized as one of the top trial firms in the United States. Built on a foundation of over 50 years of dedication forging strong client relationships, Colson Hicks Eidson handles local, national, and international litigation, with cases spanning from Miami, Florida, and throughout the United States, to matters in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Europe. Learn more at: www.colson.com.


MIAMI – Colson Hicks Eidson today announced that seven of its lawyers are included in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. The recognitions are in a wide variety of fields, including Bet-the-Company and Personal Injury Litigation, as well as Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

“The firm is honored that Best Lawyers again recognizes the majority of our attorneys for their exceptional work and dedication to our clients,” said Dean C. Colson, Managing Partner of Colson Hicks Eidson.

Best Lawyers lists of outstanding lawyers are developed through peer review surveys where tens of thousands of lawyers evaluate their professional peers. The seven Colson Hicks Eidson attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers are:

Stephanie A. Casey
Commercial Litigation

Dean C. Colson
Bet-the-Company Litigation
Commercial Litigation
Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants
Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs

Lewis S. Eidson
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs

Julie Braman Kane
Commercial Litigation
Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

Joseph J. Kalbac
Commercial Litigation
Insurance Law
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs

Roberto Martinez
Bet-the-Company Litigation
Commercial Litigation
Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Curtis B. Miner
Commercial Litigation
Criminal Defense: White-Collar
Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

“Six of our attorneys have been recognized by Best Lawyers for more than a decade and we are excited to welcome Stephanie Casey as our newest addition to the list,” said Colson.

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About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a renowned law firm based in Miami, Florida, that is recognized as one of the top trial firms in the United States. Built on a foundation of over 50 years of dedication forging strong client relationships, Colson Hicks Eidson handles local, national, and international litigation, with cases spanning from Miami, Florida, and throughout the United States, to matters in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Europe. Learn more at: www.colson.com.

Miami (June 6, 2023) – Colson Hicks Eidson has been recognized as one of the top three trial law firms in Florida in the “Litigation: Mainly Plaintiffs” category by the respected Chambers and Partners USA Legal Guide for the third year in a row. In addition, five of the Miami-based firm’s attorneys were also ranked individually.

“These rankings are a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our lawyers and our firm’s ability to handle a wide array of cases on behalf of our clients,” said the managing partner of Colson Hicks Eidson, Dean Colson. “As the South Florida business community expands and changes, we’re excited to continue serving new clients with the same spirit of excellence we developed when the firm first opened more than 50 years ago.”

Julie Kane, Stephanie Casey, Curtis Miner, Roberto Martínez, and Mike Eidson were all ranked individually for their work in the “Litigation: Mainly Plaintiffs” category. Miner and Martínez received the top ranking (Band 1), and Martínez also was ranked “Senior Statesperson” in the “White Collar Crime and Government Investigations” area.

The rankings are a result of the firm’s exceptional track record of securing multi-million-dollar judgments and settlements for its clients in areas that include commercial litigation, medical malpractice, products liability, class actions, multi-district litigation, and aviation and automobile accidents. Notably, in the past year, Colson Hicks Eidson secured judgments against four major cruise lines totaling almost half-billion dollars that were the first ever obtained in any case brought under Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 (the LIBERTAD Act). In those cases, Carnival, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines were found liable for trafficking in the Havana Port Terminal that the Castro government illegally confiscated from the U.S.-owned Havana Docks Corp in 1960. Each cruise line is required to pay Havana Docks approximately $112 million.

The firm’s recent work also ranged from being part of the team of lawyers that secured over $1 billion in settlements for the families of the victims of the Champlain Towers South Condominium collapse to a $5 million jury verdict against Chen Neighborhood Medical Centers of South Florida LLC for failing to accurately diagnose breast cancer in a patient.

“We are proud to receive this recognition as one of the country’s leading trial firms,” said Roberto Martínez. “Our firm is committed to seeking justice in complex legal matters across the world and improving the lives of our clients,” added Curtis Miner.

To schedule a consultation, do not hesitate to contact an attorney at our law office. We have experience in a wide variety of cases for clients located throughout the nation and around the globe.

 

About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a renowned law firm based in Miami, Florida, that is recognized as one of the top trial firms in the United States. Built on a foundation of over 50 years of dedication forging strong client relationships, Colson Hicks Eidson handles local, national, and international litigation, with cases spanning from Miami, Florida, and throughout the United States, to matters in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Europe. Learn more at: www.colson.com.

North Carolina (April 20, 2023) – Pennsylvania attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, a Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky founder, has been dubbed in the press as “the master of disasters.” He sends a 45-minute videotape consisting of case-specific liability and damages to the decision maker at the defendant’s insurance company.

“The decision maker is rarely in the room at a settlement conference or the mediation,” Mongeluzzi said. “They’re usually in some corporate tower in Chicago, New York or London. But the one time I know I can talk to them is when we have a settlement film.”

Florida attorney Curtis Mine, a Colson Hicks Eidson partner and an expert in structured settlements, said the Sunshine State “punches above its weight” in consolidating multidistrict litigation and class actions.

“The average time for completion of a civil lawsuit from filing to completion, in past years, the Southern District of Florida is ranked first or second in the country,” Miner said. “As the stakes increase, the defense strength increase.”

While both attorneys litigate differently and in different states, they both share a common thread: They routinely obtain so-called nuclear settlements and practice among the six states, including California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The states account for nearly 65% of the nuclear verdicts, per a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform report.

“Nuclear settlements are a function of nuclear verdicts, and a recognition that going to trial is a risky proposition—both before and now,” said Lee Teichner, a partner at the Am Law 100 firm Holland & Knight.

Nuclear settlements, according to Robert Tyson, managing partner at Tyson & Mendes in San Diego, California, are either more than $10 million or are settlements in which non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, greatly exceed economic damages, such as medical bills.

Tyson explained to defense lawyers how to avoid runaway jury verdicts in his book, “Nuclear Verdicts: Defending Justice for All.”

This year, Tyson plans to publish a sequel with a more data-driven approach to the subject. Tyson has also developed software that uses artificial intelligence to advise insurance companies which of their cases is likely to end in nuclear verdicts.

Focus on Federal Appellate Courts
Thomas R. Kline, a founding partner of Kline & Specter in Pennsylvania, has taught at several law schools, including the Drexel University Thomas Kline School of Law. Kline routinely obtains these nuclear settlements, but objects to the name as a defense bar tactic.

Kline said there are restrictions placed in various states, which prevent jurors from returning eight-figure verdicts, which in turn prevents the lawyers from obtaining an eight-figure settlement. It is an example of the effort by insurance companies or governmental entities to restrict the damages that can be claimed and recovered.

“There’s a ‘Look what Texas is doing’ and then they try to do that in another state,” Kline said. “But each of these settlements are driven by the law in the state in which it is drawn. You can only change it in two ways: convince the highest appeals court or the legislature to change the law.”

And the stakes are high, as Miner of Colson Hicks said that future rulings by the federal appellate courts could change whether nuclear settlements continue to thrive in those six states in which nuclear verdicts abound.

Miner pointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit—an outlier—which entered a ruling last week on what class representative incentive awards are allowed.

The Eleventh Circuit reversed a nearly $10 million settlement over the brain performance supplement Neuriva after finding a class member had standing to object.

The Eleventh Circuit ruling affirmed the precedent set in Johnson v. NPAS Solutions.

The appellate court held that incentive awards for class action representatives that compensate them for their time and reward them for bringing lawsuits are prohibited.

Miner cited the recent trend of success in appeals of settlements based on standing as an example of what could drive defense reform if the concept spreads outside of the Eleventh Circuit.

The result could affect where nuclear verdicts are heard and thereby, without the threat of trial, alter the jurisdiction in which attorneys obtain nuclear settlements.

“The ruling could disincentivize potential victims of consumer fraud or consumer deceptive conduct, participating in class actions,” Miner said. “They may just say, ‘Well, I just don’t want to have to put in that kind of time to do it if there’s nothing for it.”