Safe School Zones, Safe Students

It’s an exciting time in Pinellas County as the students throughout the county head back to school. With it being that time of year though, there are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind to keep everyone safe as the students head to class.

Statistics show there are as many as 100 students who are injured every year in accidents that occur within school zones. This means, a place that is designed to be safe for children could end up being the most dangerous. The most common cause of this is lack of attention, either on the part of the student or the motorist.

Most accidents involving students in school zones occur when students are getting into or out of a bus. Passing a stopped school bus is a 4-point infraction in the state of Florida and is very dangerous, so it should be avoided at all times. For more on school bus safety and passing guidelines please visit https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/child-safety/school-bus-safety/

To accommodate students who walk or bike to school, the speed limits around most Florida schools is 15 mph. There may be crossing guards or signs to indicate when you should practice extra caution. Students should be taught to practice pedestrian safety rules of looking left and right before crossing the street and students who bike should walk their bike across the intersection.

Make sure to plan with students who walk or bike what the closest and fastest route possible is, using intersections that have crossing guards as far as possible.

There is very little that is more important than securing our students have a bright future. Paying full attention while driving through school zones helps preserve that future for them, while ensuring that you and your vehicle stay safe and out of legal trouble.

Tropical Storm Emily Inundates Tampa Bay With Rain & Wind – BRDM Can Assist With Property Damage Claims

When your property incurs damage, it’s a stressful situation. It’s common to take relief in the fact that you have purchased an insurance policy to cover your damages, should you ever need it. You may think that once you’ve submitted your claim, receiving your money to cover your losses would be a streamlined and dignified process.

However, many insurance policyholders find that it’s not at all what they expected. Property damage claims can be complicated, and insurance companies often make it even more challenging for policyholders by delaying, underpaying, or even outright denying claims. Ensure you get what you’re entitled to and let the team at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus, & McQuaid, P.A. help. 

Jonathon W. Douglas leads the property claim team at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A and has seen firsthand how the insurance industry works from the inside out. Having represented some of the largest insurers in the State of Florida, he and his team are poised to help you in your time of need. Let us put our inside knowledge to work for you and don’t let your claim get lost in the storm. 

Be sure to download our FREE Hurricane Readiness Guide, it’s a great resource to make sure your home and family are ready for what mother nature could have in store for us this hurricane season.

Regardless of what kind of damage your property has incurred, consult with our property claims team for a free consultation by calling (727) 381-2300. You’ll be glad you did!

Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. Announces New Partner Jonathon W. Douglas

Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., one of Tampa Bay’s oldest and prestigious law firms, today announced Jonathon W. Douglas has joined their firm as a Partner effective July 10, 2017.  Mr. Douglas will focus on Plaintiff’s Bodily Injury and Property Insurance Claim cases.

A true Florida native, Mr. Douglas graduated from Northeast High School in St. Petersburg before attending the University of Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, both with honors. From there, Mr. Douglas attended Stetson University College of Law where he learned and practiced the art of trial advocacy. Before graduating, Jonathon clerked for the Honorable Shawn Crane and interned at the State Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office. After graduation, he began his work as an Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit and then moved on to defending the rights of the accused in State and Federal Courts as an associate with the Hebert Law Group. While at the Hebert Law Group, Jonathon defended high profile and nationally televised cases.

For the past six years, Mr. Douglas has continued honing his trial skills as a Civil Trial Litigator and partner with Goodis, Thompson & Miller, a premier insurance defense firm in St. Petersburg. He represented some of the largest insurers in the state of Florida and defended the rights of insurance policy holders in matters ranging from bodily injury to complex insurance litigation.

“The firm is extremely excited to have Jonathon join the BRDM family. His exemplary experience and reputation represent the continued growth in talent and legal services we are leveraging to take us into the next 50 years” said firm President, Aubrey Dicus.

Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. is one of Tampa Bay’s leading law firms was established in 1956 by founding partner, Anthony S. Battaglia. For over 60 years, the firm has provided personal, timely and cost-effective representation to individuals and businesses in St. Petersburg, as well as in the state of Florida and throughout the U.S.  Named “One of the best law firms in America” by U.S. News, the firm was a Tier 1 law firm in their category of Metropolitan law firms. The firm focuses on civil and commercial litigation, personal injury, wrongful death, property insurance claims, business and personal transactions, appellate law, employment law, alternative dispute resolution, wills, trusts and probate, real property and title insurance, as well as criminal defense matters.

Is It Time To Put Some Teeth Into The Resident Agent Statutes?

It appears that corporate and limited liability company defendants have an advantage over plaintiffs if they are willing to avoid the resident agent statutory requirements or circumvent the requirements by using multiple layers of entity resident agents that have no entity officers or employees present at the resident office. Hopefully a change in the laws to level the playing field can be made to prevent those that are willing to abuse the system by not having a human being available that can easily be served for their resident agent.  This will possibly include the imposition of meaningful fines and sanctions. The legislature by its laws and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure create the rights and obligations of the parties to a lawsuit so the interference of access to the judicial system and the right to present the merits of the case to the Court by avoiding service of process should not be tolerated and should be punished where warranted.

A member of the legislature reported a situation where Corporation A appointed Corporation B as its resident agent. Corporation B appointed Corporation C as its resident agent and Corporation C appointed Corporation A as its resident agent to complete the circle. I am waiting to see legislation on the subject. Another problem occurs when the resident agent uses office suites where the only person around is a receptionist who is employed by the owner of the office suites.

For corporations the resident agent requirements are:

(2) Every corporation shall keep the registered office open from 10 a.m. to 12 noon each day except Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, and shall keep one or more registered agents on whom process may be served at the office during these hours. The corporation shall keep a sign posted in the office in some conspicuous place designating the name of the corporation and the name of its registered agent on whom process may be served.

§48.091 (2) Fla. Stat. (2017).

How frequently is that statute ignored or circumvented?

Two recent cases, Green Emerald Homes, LLC v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, 2017 WL 650961, (Fla. 2d DCA 2017) and Jupiter House, LLC v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, 198 So. 3d 1122 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016) demonstrate the problems and additional expense the plaintiff was put through because the defendant did not have a human being available who could be served.

In both cases the defendant had no one available to be served and the plaintiff had to comply with the tedious and time consuming process for substituted service on the Department of State by serving the Secretary of State. In both of these cases, because of an omission in the Florida Revised Limited Liability Act relating to service of process on a limited liability company which  appeared to provide the entire procedure necessary for substituted service, the defendants not only had to spend the time and money to comply with the substituted service statute, but also had to endure further cost and delay on appeal.

There are many protections and advantages provided to individuals by electing to operate as a corporation or a limited liability company. The ability to use subterfuge to avoid or delay service of process should not be one of them.

If you have encountered this situation and need legal help in serving a corporation, contact an experienced business litigation attorney.