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Premises liability lawsuit shows broken agreement with tribe

When you get on the stage at an event, you are trusting that the stage has been put together properly. Sadly, that doesn't always happen. An accident at a charity event at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida, is shedding light on a liability cap the Seminole Indians have in place in the state. A Miami attorney is asking the tribe to waive the liability cap and compensate his client, who was hurt in an accident.

The accident happened in January of 2012 when Brooks Robinson, a former baseball player who has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, fell six feet to the ground from a stage during an event for Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital. He was trying to get out of his chair when he leaned back against a curtain and fell. There was no railing or wall behind the curtain. It is alleged that another baseball player fell from the same stage 45 minutes prior. When Robinson fell, he fractured his back and shoulder. He also suffered from a concussion.

Robinson is still dealing with problems associated with his injuries. He has cracks in his spine and requires constant care. He also still has bleeding on the brain. While the accident occurred two years ago, his attorney says the man has aged 10 years. Robinson also has chronic back pain, chronic exhaustion and a reduced appearance schedule. In addition, he suffers from a slowed speech and thought process.

Under an agreement the Seminoles have with the state, there is a $200,000 liability cap per person for people injured at the casino. There is a $300,000 cap per incident. Robinson is suing for $9.9 million to compensate him for his physical therapy, surgeries and medications. His lawyer estimates that the man has lost nearly $3 million in income for his charities and his family.

A spokesman for the Seminole tribe says that the tribe has waived complete immunity from liability and says without that waiver, injured parties wouldn't get anything at all. Robinson's attorney says that this case exposes a weakness in the agreement between the tribe and the state of Florida.

This man's attorney believes the stage wasn't set up properly. When someone is injured because of the negligent actions of someone else, they might have the right to seek compensation. Understanding the laws governing premises liability compensation in Florida is vital to ensure the claims for compensation are properly executed.

Source: Merced Sun-Star, "Robinson sues Seminole Tribe after casino stage fall" Mary Ellen Klas, Apr. 14, 2014

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