Florida wrongful death lawsuit settled for $1.7 million

The parents of a young mentally ill man who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in Florida have settled their wrongful death lawsuit for $1.7 million.

Michael Camberdella was shot and killed by a Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy in Boynton Beach, Florida in 2012. According to the family’s attorney, Michael, age 18, suffered from bipolar disorder and had not been taking his medicine. His mother, Linda Camberdella, called 911 after she said Michael became aggressive toward her. She told the 911 operator her son needed professional help to make sure he did not hurt himself or others.

According to an investigative report, Deputy William Goldstein approached while holding his service revolver and ordered Michael to drop the rubber mallet and garden shears he was holding and lie on the ground, which he did. Investigators said that Michael then began pulling “unknown objects” – later identified as rocks – from his pockets and throwing them at the deputy. Goldstein started firing from about 23 feet away, and fired 11 shots, investigators said. The lawsuit stated that one of the shots struck Michael in the heart, killing him.

In August, an appeals court refused to grant Goldstein immunity from the wrongful death lawsuit, affirming the earlier conclusion of a district court that a reasonable jury could find that a clearly established constitutional right was violated when Goldstein shot and killed Michael.

The lawsuit claimed that Goldstein failed to use proper police techniques such as calling for backup or a crisis team.

Multi-million dollar jury award in Florida brain injury lawsuit

A jury awarded $18 million to a Florida man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a bar fight.

Joshua Mathews suffered brain injuries after a 2012 altercation at Pete’s Bar in Neptune Beach, Florida. Mathews fell and hit his head on the cement after being punched in the face. He filed a lawsuit against the corporation that owns the bar, alleging that there was inadequate security and bouncers encouraged the fight.

After the fight, Mathews was in a coma for two months. He is in rehabilitation and has trouble speaking. According to his attorney, Mathews has vision loss and paralysis on his right side, and also suffers from aphasia, weakness and fatigue. Mathews has to be monitored around the clock, with his family using video cameras to check on his condition even while they are at work, his attorney said. The award will allow Mathews to participate in an aphasia program to help with his speaking and allow him greater freedom of movement.

At trial in Duval County circuit court, earlier police incident reports were introduced as evidence. Mathews’ attorney said that other bars had off-duty police officers standing out front and Pete’s Bar did not. He said that a bar’s duty to its patrons extends outside its premises, and the bar was negligent in failing to provide adequate security.