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Jade Isaacs

Ex-NFL star sues Lutz bar over son’s drunk driving death

Brian Holloway

Ex-football star Brian Holloway is suing a Lutz bar for the wrongful death of his son.

Holloway and Bette McKenzie, parents of Max Holloway, 26 when he died last year, claim that Panini’s Bar and Grill in Lutz knew Max was an alcoholic.

Per Florida law, when someone knowingly serves a habitual drinker alcohol, they could be held liable for injuries or damages caused by the drunken person

Max was a regular at Panini’s.

On Oct. 26, 2016, he spent hours drinking at the bar, chatting with the staff until 2:30 the following morning. Max left in his car after a long night of drinking.

Roughly 200 feet away from his condo, he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a nearby home on Lutz’s Lake Fern Road. He was killed in the crash.

The parents seek damages for funeral and burial costs, loss of support and companionship, and mental pain and suffering.

Holloway posted to Facebook two days after his son’s death to announce the day and time of the funeral service. In the post, Holloway wrote as though he were Max, it read, “Wow! this place is amazing! Heaven! The skies are the bluest you’ve ever seen and the air is crisp, and my allergies; are gone!”

The Panini’s Bar and Grill in question is located at 3973 Van Dyke Road in Lutz.

Brian Holloway played NFL offensive tackle for the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Raiders from 1981 to 1988. Max played football for the Tampa Bay Storm and Boston College. He was a P.E. instructor at his alma mater, Jefferson High School.

No others were harmed in the accident.

 

Slip & fall specialist gives Blue Martini a goodbye gift — a slip & fall lawsuit

The owner of a clinic specializing in slip and fall cases is suing the soon-to-close Blue Martini in International Plaza — in a slip and fall case.

The victim, Elizabeth Salvia-Rodriguez, is seeking damages from the restaurant, as well as Taubman Company LLC, a Michigan-based firm doing business as International Plaza and Bay Street.

Salvia-Rodriguez, a 52-year-old Cuba native, is president and owner of Bayview Medical & Rehab. Bayview, with locations in Tampa and Brandon, is a family practice specializing in several areas, including slips and falls, chiropractic care, auto accidents and personal injuries.

In December 2015, Salvia-Rodriguez was at Blue Martini in International Plaza. Around 1:30 a.m., she slipped while walking on an uneven surface while exiting the bar. According to the suit, she sustained many injuries, including “significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement … injuries to her head, face, jaws, neck, back, spine, arms, legs, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, soft tissues and body as a whole.”

Blue Martini, an upscale bar and restaurant, is set to close Saturday. Although the restaurant was open in the International Plaza for 15 years, disagreements with lease negotiations forced the establishment to close and will be replaced by Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, a South Florida chain.

Salvia-Rodriguez was arrested in 2006 on a felony charge for filing a fraudulent insurance claim. A pretrial intervention program allowed the charges to be dropped.

Tampa Realtor president sues neighbor for access to ‘landlocked’ property

Andrew Scaglione

The owner of a landlocked private property in Tampa is suing his neighbor to create an easement allowing access to the land.

ANMF, managed by Andrew Scaglione, is suing neighbor, Henry Robertson Jr., on two counts “to establish an Implied Way of Necessity” and “to establish a statutory way of necessity.”

The company owns a five-acre parcel located in Millan de Avila, an exclusive Tampa neighborhood.

According to the suit, filed December 14 in Hillsborough County’s 13th Circuit Court, ANMF suggests the only practical access point to the land is through Robertson’s property. The property cannot be used to its full potential without such access.

ANMF seeks for a 38-foot wide easement to be established, offering to pay $100 as compensation for the use of the roadway.

A diagram attached to the suit outlines the property owned by ANMF. It depicts the property to be surrounded by cement walls to the north and west as well as a wooded wetland just west of the property. South of the property is where Robertson’s land is located. An easement currently stretches from Indian Head Drive to the end of Robertson’s property.

The land was previously owned by Robertson before losing it to foreclosure. Two years after that, ANMF purchased the land.

Scaglione, 55, also serves as president of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, a nonprofit association representing more than 9,000 real estate professionals. He also is a board member of USAmeriBank, a director and former chair of the Tampa Sports Authority, and the owner of Empire Commercial Realty Service.

Scaglione lives in Avila, directly north of ANMF’s property.

The diagram suggests a possible access to the property could be obtained via Scaglione’s property. However, it also appears to show a cement wall separating the two properties.

Image courtesy of BayLawsuits.com

 

Enhanced map with the home of Andrew Scaglione in green. Image courtesy of BayLawsuits.com

Misplaced road signage resulted in death of Pinellas Park couple, suit claims

Henry and Diana Neuner

Two companies responsible for placing proper signage and blockades on the Veterans Expressway in Tampa during construction are being held accountable in the death of a Pinellas Park couple.

Henry and Diana Neuner‘s two sons, Leo and Nolan Neuner are suing GLF Construction of Miami and Sema Construction, a Centennial, Colorado-based firm, for negligence. The wrongful death action was filed in Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit Court on Dec. 13, 2016.

The Neuners died June 11, 2016, while en route to Withlacoochee State Park to watch the sunrise. As Mr. Neuner drove north on the expressway, he stayed in the far-right lane, which is typically an exit-only lane. However, the lane appeared to continue.

As the car traveled over the Gunn Highway overpass, the lane suddenly ended. The car slammed into a concrete barricade at an estimated 45 mph. GLF owned the barricade, which obstructed the entire right lane. There wasn’t an opportunity for Mr. Neuner to brake or avoid collision with the obstruction. Both Henry and Diana died almost immediately.

Florida Department of Transportation contracted Sema and GLF to work on widening the Veterans Expressway. Each company was assigned a sector of the highway. The line adjoining the two sectors is the Gunn Highway exit around Mile Marker 9. Both companies were responsible for erecting and maintaining “roadway construction signage, traffic cones, and other directional devices.” Barrels and signs stating “Road Closed” were placed by the exit prior to the accident, however at some point before the crash, they were removed and never replaced.

The sons are co-representatives of their parents’ estate.

A Tampa Bay Reporter article on the accident stated that Mrs. Neuner wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

The Neuner’s left behind two sons and four grandchildren.

Lesbian employee says nursing home tolerated anti-gay discrimination

After being assaulted and harassed for being a lesbian, a senior living facility employee is suing the facility for discrimination.

Michelle Del Valle was working at Inspired Living Validus Senior Living in Tampa when she was assaulted by the spouse of a resident.

Now she is suing her employer on seven counts including negligence, retaliation, breaking the Florida Civil Rights Act, and discrimination.

Del Valle began working for the facility June 1, 2015 as a medical technician. She was responsible for giving residents designated medicines. To do this, she used a secure cart that was never to leave her side while performing her job duties.

Del Valle claims to have been harassed, ridiculed and abused daily because of her sexual orientation. Her employer didn’t do much to stop the harassment, despite multiple complaints from Del Valle.

The spouse, Patrice Gunther, demanded Del Valle refrain from contacting or coming near her and her husband. Inspired Living did as requested, thus pardoning illegal acts happening within its facility, in the opinion of Del Valle.

Per the suit, Gunther told the director of the senior living facility Del Valle was “in her ‘space’ too much,” and that she did not like the employee because she’s lesbian.

Gunther would call Del Valle a “dyke” and “trash” and would be aggressive and angry toward her.

Rather than defending its employee, Inspired Living indefinitely suspended Del Valle. She was suspended for days before she was brought back to work and “was directed to stay away from Mr. and Mrs. Gunther.” She wasn’t permitted to be in the same hallway as the couple, take her cart to the dining hall where the Gunther’s could be, or administer Mr. Gunther his medication.

Gunther was also given Del Valle’s work schedule to know when she would be in the building.

Even after Del Valle complied with her new rules, Gunther continued to make complaints about her presence.

Things took a turn for the worse Aug. 28, 2015.

Del Valle was handing out medicine to patients when she arrived at Gunther’s room. Per procedure, she called another employee to get Mr. Gunther’s medicine from the cart. Gunther came from her husband’s room and ran to the medicine cart. She screamed at Del Valle to “get out of here.” However, Del Valle would have been in violation of her job duties had she left the cart, so she apologized and told Gunther she had to do her job.

Gunther continued screaming, calling Del Valle a “piece of crap.”

Gunther attempted to grab the cart key from Del Valle’s hand, causing her to fall backward. On Aug. 31, Del Valle was terminated for not walking away from the situation. If she had left the cart, she still could have faced termination.

In the suit, Del Valle seeks damages for front and back pay, benefits and emotional distress caused by the harassment.

The Inspired Living facility in question is at 5130 Kelly Road. It opened in early 2015 with a specialization in Alzheimer’s, dementia and other mental impairments.

Riverview parents say school put 5-year-old son on wrong bus

Parents trust the county school bus system to get their child home safely from school, but parents of a 5-year-old Riverview boy faced their worst fears after the school bus dropped the child off at the wrong stop.

According to a lawsuit filed by Steve Fish on behalf of his son, Takoda, the School Board of Hillsborough County failed Takoda and his parents when the boy was put onto a school bus that wasn’t his designated vehicle, and leaving him at the wrong stop. A member of the school board had escorted Takoda to the bus.

After he didn’t come home from school July 28, 2016, both parents searched frantically for their son, before eventually finding him safe.

Bus driver Vicki Hampton apparently left the child at a random stop, where there was no one there to greet or pick him up.

Fish is accusing SBHC of negligence for failing to provide supervision for Takoda, failing to put him on the correct bus, failing to drop him at the correct stop, and failing to provide a safe environment.

Takoda is a student at Summerfield Elementary School, located at 11990 Big Bend Road in Riverview. Given that the incident took place in July, it is possible that Takoda Fish was at Summerfield Elementary for either summer school or camp.

Takoda has allegedly suffered due to the incident, forcing him to seek ongoing medical care and mental treatment.

That morning, Fish posted a photo of himself and Takoda to Facebook that read, “Off to see the TB Bucs practice this morning.”

Takoda and Steve Fish, in a Facebook post the same day Takoda was allegedly put on the wrong school bus.

Landscaper loses big toe, then job, after lawn mower accident

Florida Workers’ Compensation is set up to protect employees injured on the job; however, one worker who lost his toe to a lawn mower also lost his job after seeking compensation.

Hillsborough County resident William Francis worked for Village Lawn Care for 10 years. In late September of last year, his big toe was cut off in a lawn mower accident.

VLC, owned by Albert Aucoin Jr. of Lutz, is located at 1501 Skipper Road in Tampa.

The day of the accident, he notified VLC of his injury and made a claim for benefits for a work-related injury.

Medical documentation of the accident was provided to his employer Oct. 4 along with the appropriate workers’ compensation paperwork.

Francis was fired Oct. 7, in what he says was retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

In the Dec. 8 suit, Francis requests the court grant compensation for lost pay, benefits and damages for emotional distress.

The suit does not state who was operating the mower at the time of the accident.

 

National homebuilder blames Tampa contractor for stucco problems in 8 communities

David Weekley, co-founder of Texas-based builder David Weekley Homes

One of the country’s largest homebuilders is accusing a past subcontractor after multiple complaints sprouted from eight Florida communities.

Weekley Homes is a Houston, Texas-based homebuilder founded in 1976 by brothers David and Dick Weekley.

Weekley entered a contract in 2005 with A & D Construction in Tampa. Per the contract, A & D would install stucco in single-family homes.

Homeowners have been making claims of defects in the stucco against Weekley. They claim the stucco does not comply with building codes and has caused damage to other parts of the homes.

When Weekley reached out to A & D about the issue, there was no response. Weekley asked that A & D defend it in regards to the claims made against the company and asked for the construction company to participate in the matters, address the claims and fund a solution. The company has yet to offer a solution to the problem.

Due to a lack of response, Weekley has been forced to investigate and repair the defects as well as retain a lawyer to represent them against the homeowners.

A & D is being sued on five counts for breach of contract, contractual indemnity and negligence.

Weekley claims the fault does not lie with it, but fully with A & D.

The homes experiencing stucco issues are in Brookwood Buckingham, FishHawk Garden, FishHawk Ranch, Highland Park, Longleaf, Panther Trace and Wilderness Lake Preserve.

The president of A & D was Daniel Gonzalez. However, it was voluntarily dissolved in 2009.

On its website, Weekley boasts it is the “largest privately-held homebuilder in America.” In 1999, Forbes named the company no. 388 in its list of the top 500 Biggest Private Companies. It has made the “Top 100 Best Companies to Work For” by Fortune. In 2013, it received the award for National Builder of the Year.

Riverview woman sues electrical contractor for assault, attempted rape

Adam Millan

With an electrician left alone at her home, a Riverview resident was beaten and attacked with a knife as the worker attempted to rape her.

“Jane Doe” is suing the electrical company, Big Daddy Electric and its owner, Aaron Allen, after an employee attacked the tenant of the property they were working at.

Doe claims the company should have known of the potential danger posed by the employee. A background check performed by Doe revealed the employee was convicted of murder.

Big Daddy, located at 21817 Dupree Dr. in Land O’Lakes, faces three counts of negligence and vicarious liability.

On April 13, 2016, Doe moved into her home in Riverview. She noticed electrical problems shortly after moving in and notified her landlord.

By April 29, Big Daddy employee Adam Millan, a Ruskin resident, was sent out to the home to determine what repairs were necessary. It was discovered work was needed and Millan returned with Allen May 18.

Allen left the house, leaving Millan with Doe. Millan then left, telling Doe he needed to get supplies. However, when he returned, he attacked Doe with a knife and “attempted to sexually assault and kill” her, says the suit.

Doe was saved when a neighbor heard her screams and came to the rescue.

Millan was arrested the next day for burglary of a dwelling with assault or battery, sexual battery on a person over 18, and aggravated battery causing great bodily harm.

As of Jan. 4, Millan is still in jail. He has a record in Hillsborough County and, allegedly, has a record in New York for manslaughter.

It is unclear if Big Daddy ever ran a background check on Millan.

At the time of the initial inspection, Doe’s boyfriend was present; on the date of the attack, he was not home.

Homeless man forces question: Is Hillsborough County anti-panhandling ordinance working?

Richard Butler Jr.

A homeless man arrested at least 7 times since 2011 for panhandling stirs up the question of whether Hillsborough County panhandling ordinances are truly effective.

Hillsborough County increased the limits of its panhandling ordinance to include all public roads in 2011. Previously, it only stretched to county roads. This meant homeless could no longer hold up signs asking for money or goods off roadways anywhere in the county. The goal of the new ordinance was to get people off the roadways, however, homeless could be subjected to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail if caught panhandling.

Richard Butler Jr. is a homeless person who has been arrested several times. Most recently, he was arrested Dec. 8, 2016, for solicitation and distribution on a public road, or panhandling.

Butler wasn’t fined, however. He was in custody for four days. The judge sent him to a pre-intervention program rather than have him serve jail time.

According to Hillsborough County arrest records, a fine has never been given to Butler for panhandling. The reasoning for this may lie in his indigent status. When he filed for criminal indigent status in December, Butler listed his only source of income as food stamps.

In the past, Butler has spent weeks in jail serving time for panhandling. He has been arrested for grand theft, public consumption and trespassing.

Before the 2011 ordinance was enacted, officers would charge panhandlers with trespassing when found near public roads. The law was created with officers in mind as it can be a hassle to determine whether a road is a county road or not.

When Butler was arrested in December, he was sitting on the shoulder near an 1-4 exit ramp at McIntosh Road holding a sign that read, “Homeless. Hungry. God Bless.”

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