Tag Archives: Personal injury Lawyer

AM 1370 Podcast Interview: Hiding Child Molesters in Santa Rosa Schools

Attorney Joe Zarzaur joined journalist Rick Outzen to discuss how Joe discovered what he believes is a lack of oversight in the Santa Rosa County school district in the hiring of substitute teachers. A teacher that was banned from one Santa Rosa school was allowed to work at Gulf Breeze Elementary, where he was later convicted of molesting several girls.

RO:  You put out a video on YouTube on Friday and if anyone has a child at public schools, they should be concerned, particularly in Santa Rosa County. You uncovered what looks like that the school district may have not properly vetted its substitute teachers.

WATCH JOE ZARZAUR’S YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE >

JZ: Yeah. First, I don’t like to litigate cases in the media, and I certainly don’t like to it on Facebook, but occasionally there is a case that you feel like rises to the level of importance from a public safety standpoint that you almost want to interrupt the litigation process and step aside, and just make it right.

JZ: So, I felt compelled to do that this last week because I had taken the deposition last Thursday on the human resource person at the Santa Rosa County school district and the corporate representative for the school district for purposes of Mr. Mack’s involvement, but this all dates back to a 2016 event that happened at Gulf Breeze Elementary School, where four children were abused by a substitute teacher in the same day. He ended up pleading guilty for lewd and lascivious behavior with minors. The parents that hired me, came to me, and we had done some investigation into this initially and found out that the Escambia County school board had banned this substitute teacher a year and a half prior.

How can somebody just banned for inappropriate touching, come over the bridge and get a job in Santa Rosa County and go free and then do the same thing to the kids in an elementary school?

I found out that a private entity, PESD (the name of the company is now Staff EZ), had been hired by the county in 2015 to basically handle all the substitutes hiring screening, and the HR for substitutes.

This incident happened after being banned for inappropriately touching students in Escambia County and then getting the job through P E S D as a substitute teacher in Santa Rosa County. I start the case against this private entity and out their questionable company to start with, having a tax lien to the tune of $10 million for not paying, but holding taxes for substitute teachers.

I did some discovery and find out that they did screen and interviewed him and a group of 30 other people. They just asked him what he did in the years prior to coming to apply there and they didn’t check references. They missed a course, Escambia County where he got banned.

So, they hired him, and they were basically saying that, well he’s an approved list. And I said, all right, let’s investigate this – the approved the list comes from the county. And then I realized the county is giving this private company, the approved list of substitute teachers. I ask the county and I get the list finally (after fighting for it) three weeks ago. I’m looking at it. The approved list is redacted except for the guy that I’m going after (Mr. Mack), which has a yellow box, and it says banned at Woodlawn Beach Middle School, which was not the school that he abused the children. (Gulf Breeze Elementary School is just down the road – in the same county).

RO: The other thing that stood out, you know is that, yeah, he had, he had already been banned from one elementary school and they let him in Gulf Breeze, but you also found out that you thought you had the public record and then found out there was a whole other file system out there that had the other information.

JZ: Well, that’s true. Last Thursday, I’m asking, they produced the list. This list has a yellow box that says this guy is not allowed to teach at this school. There are also 24 other teachers on that list who also have their banned from other schools that are still actively substituting in Santa Rosa County school.

That was my urgency to get on Facebook and say, you know, this is happening. I asked the corporate representative for the school district, is the basis of his why was he banned from Woodlawn Beach Middle School in 2011?

I asked for the personnel file request back in 2018, I was provided a bunch of certificates that says who the teacher is in W2 stuff and all that junk, but nothing suggests that he was banned from a school.

I asked the corporate representative for the school district, who is the spokesman for the school district in their deposition last week, ‘So why was he banned from Woodlawn Beach Middle School in 2011?’

And she goes, ‘Well, I’ll pull the disciplinary file.’

She said, oh, well, you know, we don’t keep the disciplinary file with the personnel file. We take it out and put it in a separate file cabinet and unless you ask for it specifically, we don’t give it.

Mr. Mack pled guilty in 2016. So, I’m asking about 2011 and she was like, oh, let me read the letter. She read the letter – inappropriately, touching students at Woodlawn Beach Middle in 2011. From that school. How can somebody who’s banned from a middle school by the way, be allowed to teach in an elementary school for that matter?

RO: I mean, it is frightening that there is someone with disciplinary action involving inappropriately touching children allowed to move around the system and be able to keep a job and be around children.

JZ: There is no central database for that information, unless the teacher says, oh, by the way, I used to work in this county. If the teacher hadn’t been employed, I’m not smart enough to ask, well, what the heck did you do between this year and this year?

I had no idea there was a 2011 incident!

RO: Yeah, and inside the same school district. The other thing I’ve noticed in other stories that we’ve done is that school districts also can go after that teacher’s license and they, you know, they can take it up a whole other level.

When something like this happens it’s like a bar action or an action against the doctor or any sort of professional, you can register against their teaching certificate and that’s not happening out there.

Joe, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Talk 1370 real news counts.

LISTEN TO PODCAST HERE >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Florida and Alabama.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Florida Bar Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Watch What You Say At The Scene During Car Accident

You’re in a car wreck and the adrenaline is flowing like crazy because your body is in the flight or fight stage, and you obviously didn’t expect to be in a car wreck. You expected to be at your destination. You’re already planning what you’re going to do when you get to your destination.

The last thing you’re thinking about when you’re in an accident is how this is going to look later. Like what relative legal position – unless you’re a lawyer, right? You’re not going to be thinking about what’s going on legally at the scene. You’re going to be thinking about how you feel you only anything did I hurt anybody else? How bad is my car messed up? How bad is their car messed up? Whose fault is this going to be?

Remember – Everyone At The Scene Is A Potential Witness

One of the critical things to remember at the scene of a wreck is that everybody there is a potential witness either for you or against you. Your first concern should be the health and safety of everybody around you and yourself, you should clear the area, get out of harm’s way, and notify the authorities

What You Say Can Help You Or Be Used Against You

Your third or fourth thought is to be thinking that everything I say to other people here could potentially be used either against me or for me.

It’s probably not the greatest idea to be making comments like “I was late for swim practice, or I dropped my cell phone and was reaching for it right before this happened, or I’m sorry that I was in a rush.” You should be careful because all those things could come back and be used against you, even though you’re not at fault for the wreck.

EXAMPLE: Somebody runs a stop sign and T-bones you and you were late for swim practice, or you were late to pick up your kid and you were rushing, but you had stopped and then you went and then you got T-boned by somebody that ran the stop sign. A lot of people try to make the person at fault feel better. So, they’ll say things like. “Oh, we’ve all been there. Heck, I was in a rush to today.” That sounds innocuous at the scene because you’re just offering a platitude or placation to the other person, and you didn’t want them to feel so bad about being at fault for the wreck.

Unfortunately, if you end up being in a case against them, they may use that against you. They’re going to use the fact that you said at the scene that you were in a rush. They’re going to take it out of context and they’re going to sort of paint a picture that you may have run a stop sign too.


Things Not To Say After An Accident

  1. “I’m Sorry”
  2. “Let’s handle it on our own”
  3. “I don’t need a doctor”
  4. Don’t say ANYTHING on social media
  5. “YES”

You just don’t have to say anything, say thank you for apologizing, or I appreciate your apology and be done with it. No need to make them feel any better. No need to tell them that you’re perfectly alright because a good percent of the people that end up with serious injuries from a car wreck doesn’t feel much of anything at the scene because they have so much adrenaline going. You have no idea what your medical condition is because your body hasn’t had time to react to the trauma.

Be careful what you say at the scene of a collision. Be very careful about what you say to the other person about your injury, about their fault, about your fault, potentially accept, apologies. You can be sorry that a wreck happens, not be at fault for it, but could sound like you’re apologizing for being at fault.

Worry about getting your personal belongings out of the car or if it’s got to be towed. Don’t worry so much about the other driver that caused the wreck. Don’t be rude, but at the same time, do not be destructive to your own potential case.

Watch the YouTube Video with Joe Zarzaur  >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

Dog Bite Injuries Is On the Rise

Dog Bite Injuries Rising Dramatically Each YearWe all know someone who was bitten by a dog. That is not surprising as it is a very common situation. Over 50 percent of US households have a pet dog, so the odds of this are great.


DID YOU KNOW THAT APPROXIMATELY 4.5 MILLION DOG BITES OCCUR EVERY YEAR IN THE US?


While the final statistics are not in, it appears that there was a surge in such attacks in 2020, and most relate that to the fact that many people stayed at home more often.

The Medical Cost of a Dog Bite

While most dog bites result in minor injuries, may result in serious injury and death. One in five dog bites become infected due to the bacteria in the dog’s mouth. Any time there is a break in the skin, this must be carefully monitored. Dog bites can lead to serious scarring. In 2018 nearly 27,000 people underwent remonstrate surgery because of a dog bite. The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was over $18,000, which is much higher than the average injury-related hospital stay. It is estimated that the cost of dog bite treatment exceeds $2 billion a year. In 2020 alone, homeowners’ insurers paid out close to 1 billion in liability claims.

Every day over 1,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for non-fatal dog bite-related injuries. Between 2005 and 2020 dogs killed 586 Americans. Thus, this is a very serious problem in America today.

Homeowners Insurance Policies Pertaining to Dog Bite Accidents

Dog Bites from certain breeds result in more severe injuries, and because of this many insurance companies will not cover those breeds. If you have a homeowner or renters’ policy and own a dog, you need to make sure you have coverage for an injury caused by your dog. Many policies exclude all dog bite incidents, and many limit the coverage for these incidents. Please contact your agent, and make sure you have sufficient coverage in case someone is injured by your dog.


Over 70% of all dog bites occur because the dog is not neutered. (ASPCA pro)


Florida Law

The law in Florida concerning injuries by dogs is governed by Florida Statute 767.04. This statute saw that a dog owner is liable for injuries if their dog bites another person and that person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place. This statute only covers dog bite injuries. If your dog injures a person in another way, i.e., knocking them over or chasing on the bike, you can be liable for common law negligence, or failure to use reasonable care in handling your dog.

Florida is a “strict liability” state on this issue. While some states have a “one free bite” law, in Florida a dog owner is liable even if the owner had no prior knowledge or warning that the dog might bite. A Florida dog owner has 3 defenses to a dog bite claim.

  • First, if the victim is a trespasser or unlawfully on the property where the incident occurred, then the owner is not liable. The defense of comparative negligence may apply. If the victim somehow was at fault and this led to the bite, then the recovery may be set off by a percentage of his or her negligence. A common example of this is a situation where a person aggravates or provokes the animal. In such a situation, the owner has a comparative negligence defense.
  • Another defense is the posting of a “bad dog ‘sign prominently on the property. To use this defense, the sign must be large, easily readable, and in a prominent place on the property. This defense will not protect the owner if the victim is under 6 years old.

 

The victim of a dog bite may recover all damages allowed under Florida law, including past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering. These incidents often result in severe injury.

If you have been the victim of a dog bite, you need to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer, who is an expert in Florida law. While some situations may be strict liability, the law is complex, and finding a source of recovery may be difficult.

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.

 

Sources:
https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/strict_liability

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0767/Sections/0767.04.html