APRIL 22, 2022
TRÁFICO CRIMINAL: el bufete de abogados Bonderud (The Bonderud Law Firm) recientemente obtuvo excelentes resultados para un cliente jovencito que está aquí en los Estados Unidos ilegalmente. La clienta, Daniela, es una joven de 18 años cuya familia la trajo a los Estados Unidos desde Honduras cuando era solo una niñita. Habiendo pasado varios años en Jacksonville, Florida, Daniela comenzó a adaptarse a la vida en los Estados Unidos. Ella tenía novio; ella tenía un trabajo; y pasaba la mayor parte de su tiempo con su familia. Un día, ella manejaba el carro de su novio. En el carro también estaban la hermana de Daniela y los novios de ellas. Llovía y mientras que manejaba el carro, Daniela atravesó un charco de agua de lluvia, perdió el control del carro, causando un choque horrible. Trágicamente, la hermana de nuestra Daniela y los dos novios murieron.
Milagrosamente, Daniela sobrevivió.
Después de una larga investigación, nuestro cliente fue arrestado y acusado de tres delitos graves de homicidio vehicular. Como hacemos con todos nuestros clientes, defendimos agresivamente a Daniela. Finalmente, negociamos un acuerdo de culpabilidad que resultó en que Daniela se declarara culpable de manejar sin licencia, un delito menor de segundo grado, y fuera sentenciada al tiempo que ya había cumplido en la cárcel. Increíblemente, el resultado significa que Daniela puede presentar su solicitud de asilo en la corte de inmigración. Si Daniela hubiera sido condenada por los delitos que se le imputaban (homicidio vehicular), seguramente habría sido deportada y su solicitud de asilo le habría sido negada.
En cierto modo, nuestra dedicación y ferviente defensa salvaron la vida de Daniela y preservaron su oportunidad de quedarse con su familia en los Estados Unidos. No podríamos estar más orgullosos de estos resultados.
MAY 24, 2022
FEDERAL CRIMINAL – U.S. District Court, M.D. Fla., Sustains the Firm’s Objection to US Probation Office’s Sentencing Guidelines’ Calculation. At The Bonderud Law Firm, we represent criminal defendants in state and federal court. The Bonderud Law Firm recently concluded its representation of a client who was charged with a very serious felonies. The case had been investigated by the FBI and was prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville, Florida. As part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Government, our client pled guilty to a single felony charge. As is typical, the U.S. Probation Office then interviewed our client and issued its pre-sentence investigation report (PSIR), in which the Probation Office proposed our client’s applicable federal sentencing guidelines range. Upon review of the PSIR, we objected and asserted that the U.S. Probation Office had proposed a significant sentencing enhancement that we believed was inappropriate in light of our client’s plea agreement. In response to our objection, the US Attorney’s Office sided with the Probation Office and sought the imposition of an enhanced sentence for our client. Last week, at the sentencing hearing, the U.S. District Court in Jacksonville rejected the Government’s arguments, sustained our objection, and accordingly modified and reduced the federal sentencing guidelines range that the U.S. Probation Office had calculated. The Court then heard and considered mitigation and argument about what sentence would be appropriate for our client, and the Court sentenced our client to the middle of the federal sentencing guidelines range, as the Court had re-calculated it.
FEBRUARY 23, 2022
CRIMINAL / JUVENILE LAW – The Bonderud Law Firm Resolves Juvenile Battery Case with Diversion Agreement – The Bonderud Law Firm was recently retained by the parents of a teenage minor child who was involved in a school classroom fight, which was captured on video. The minor child was charged as a juvenile with battery. After retaining our firm, and on our recommendation, the minor child was evaluated by a psychologist to assess the child for any mental health conditions or concerns. Using the psychologist’s report, as well as other mitigating evidence about the (1) nature and circumstances of the fight and (2) the minor child’s background and future educational and professional plans, our firm was able to secure a resolution that resulted in our client entering a pre-trial intervention program. The terms of the PTI required our client to complete community service, maintain full-time enrollment in school, and pay a modest fine. At the conclusion of the 6-month PTI program, the juvenile criminal case will be dismissed. Because of this outcome, our client who is still a child will be able to truly leave this unfortunate episode in the rearview mirror, having learned from his mistakes.
DECEMBER 1, 2021
CRIMINAL LAW: The Bonderud Law Firm Successfully Defends Investment Advisor Against Felony Charges – The Bonderud Law Firm successfully defended a high profile investment advisor against charges of computer hacking and corporate espionage. The case was filed and prosecuted by the Special Prosecution unit of the State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville, Florida. Initially, the State sought to incarcerate our client in Florida’s prison system. However, after engaging in extensive discovery, taking numerous depositions, engaging expert forensic witnesses, and filing complex motions, we achieved a homerun result. Our client was offered a unique pre-trial intervention program, wherein all charges would be dismissed upon the payment of a modest fine.
MAY 2, 2022
FEDERAL CRIMINAL – The Bonderud Law Firm Completes Four-Day Jury Trial in Ocala – Last week, The Bonderud Law Firm completed a four-day federal criminal jury trial in the Ocala Division of the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The Firm’s client was charged with some of the most serious charges with which anyone could be charged in federal court, including a narcotics distribution conspiracy, possession of a firearm in furtherance of such conspiracy, and possession with intent to distribute narcotics. Seven alleged co-conspirators pled guilty prior to trial, but the Firm’s client pled not guilty and requested a jury trial. On Thursday, April 28, 2022, the federal jury returned its verdict, convicting the Firm’s client. After the trial, the US Department of Justice issued a press release that can be viewed here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/federal-jury-finds-leader-drug-trafficking-organization-guilty Their press release noted that the case was “investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration with support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, and the Gainesville Police Department.”
APRIL 4, 2022
CRIMINAL LAW: The Bonderud Law Firm Obtains Dismissal of Criminal Case in Baker County – The Bonderud Law Firm recently obtained the dismissal of a criminal case on behalf of a client who was being prosecuted in Baker County, Florida. Remarkably, the firm obtained this dismissal by highlighting case law that was created in another case in which the Firm was involved years ago. Years back, the Firm represented a young man in a civil rights case against the City of Boynton Beach, Florida, after the man was arrested without probable cause for “loitering and prowling.” The City of Boynton Beach and the individual law enforcement officer sought to have the case dismissed, but the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida rejected the defendants’ argument’s and allowed the case to proceed. The written order, denying the City’s motion, can be accessed and read here: https://casetext.com/case/dunn-v-city-of-boynton-beach-1 – More than 6 years after our client was arrested in Boynton Beach, Florida, our Firm was hired to represent another individual who was arrested for “loitering and prowling” in Macclenny, Baker County, Florida. Our client went through the late-night drive-through at Taco Bell and purchased a late dinner. The client then proceeded to drive to the parking lot of a closed strip-mall, parked, and began eating his food. When Sheriff’s deputies sought to detain him and identify him, our client declined to answer questions. Our client advised that he had just purchased Taco Bell food from across the street and was trying to each his dinner in peace. The deputies arrested for L&P, but after the client hired our Firm, we filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the undisputed facts did not establish that our client had committed a crime. The principal authority upon which we relied was the written opinion from our prior L&P case. The prosecutor ultimately agreed with our analysis, and the case was voluntarily dismissed.
NOVEMBER 17, 2021
FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAW: The Bonderud Law Firm Obtains Downward Variance in Federal Criminal Case Where Client was Convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Access Device Fraud – FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAW: The Bonderud Law Firm successfully obtained a downward variance for a client who was charged with being the ring-leader of a multi-state debit card skimming conspiracy that extended from New York and Chicago to Louisiana and Florida. After our client pled guilty, his federal sentencing guidelines range was calculated to be 30-37 months in federal prison. Prior to sentencing, The Bonderud Law Firm filed a motion for downward variance and then presented compelling testimony at the federal sentencing hearing. At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, our client was sentenced below the federal sentencing guidelines to 27 months of imprisonment.
FEBRUARY 3, 2020
FAMILY LAW: The Bonderud Law Firm Helps Client Navigate High-Conflict Divorce – The Bonderud Law Firm recently obtained a favorable result for a client who was seeking dissolution of marriage with two minor children. After the parties originally agreed to a time-sharing arrangement that provided our client with minority time-sharing with the parties’ minor children, our client’s relationship with his wife deteriorated. On behalf of our client, we moved to modify the temporary time-sharing arrangement, and after a contested court hearing, the Court ordered the parties to follow a 50/50 timesharing schedule with their children. Thereafter, we proceeded to a full-day mediation and achieved a settlement with which our client was completely satisfied. The other side knew that, if our bottom-line demands were not met, then, we were willing and able to proceed to trial.
$100,000 – JANUARY 28, 2022
FAMILY LAW: The Bonderud Law Firm Negotiates a Substantial Reduction in Child Support Debt on Behalf of Family Law Client – Recently, The Bonderud Law Firm successfully mediated a family law case on behalf of a client who was accused of owing more than $100,000 in child support arrears. In this case, our client (the Former Husband) believed that he and his former wife had informally agreed to modify his child support obligation several years ago. However, our client never petitioned the court to formally modify the final judgment’s child support provision. Years after the informal agreement, which was disputed by the former wife, the former wife sought to have our client held in contempt and to have his driver license suspended. Our client hired us and we promptly sought to defend on the basis of equitable estoppel. Ultimately, we successfully negotiated a resolution at mediation, and our client’s alleged debt was reduced by more than 80%. The now-agreed-upon debt will be paid by our client over more than 6 years at zero percent interest.
MAY 12, 2022
The Bonderud Law Firm Fights the Good Fight – At The Bonderud Law Firm, the majority of our cases consist of personal injury, family law, and criminal defense cases. However, we occasionally take cases involving civil rights violations. In fact, historically, the Firm really “cut its teeth” litigating civil rights cases in federal court. Fortunately, in 2022, civil rights violations that are meritorious and truly actionable, and that warrant full-blown litigation (or the threat of it), are rare. However, civil rights violations do still occur, and when such a case is brought to the Firm, we pursue our clients’ interests with vigor and passion. Recently, the Firm resolved two separate civil rights cases without the matters even being filed in court.
In this note, we’ll describe one of the two civil rights matters. It involves an egregious and inexcusable case of mistaken identity. A Florida sheriff’s office detective was investigating allegations of sexual battery on a child (a/k/a child rape). The detective interviewed the suspect in person and obtained all necessary information for the detective to apply for an arrest warrant. When the detective did ultimately apply for an arrest warrant, the first, middle, and last name of the suspect were correct. However, all of the other vital details of the suspect were incorrect. When the arrest warrant was issued for sexual battery on a child under the age of 12, the warrant was for the arrest of our client, who lives on the other side of the State from where the actual suspect lives. Our client has the same first, middle, and last name of the suspect, but is not the individual who the detective had interviewed, and is not the individual who was actually suspected of committing felony sexual battery on a child.
When the sheriff’s office in our client’s local, rural community received the arrest warrant, the sheriff’s office understandably treated the matter as a serious one. More than a dozen sheriff’s office deputies executed what they considered to be a “high-risk arrest” when they came to our client’s sleepy, residential neighborhood. Our client, a wife, mother, grandmother, and neighbor, was traumatized by the swarm of blue lights and long-barrel firearms. She was taken to the local jail and spent the night there before the original detective realized the error and promptly sought and obtained a rescission of the arrest warrant.
For our client, though, the damage was done. She had been accused of sexual battery on a minor child under the age of 12. That’s a bell that can’t be un-rung.
Our client desired fair compensation for her experience, but she did not want to commit to a multi-year federal lawsuit. We contacted the originating detective’s Sheriff’s Office, and as is usual, we had to educate their risk management department about the remedies that federal law provides for individuals such as our client. We explained that the detective was liable to our client under 42 USC §§ 1983 and 1988 for malicious prosecution. Although our client was arrested after a warrant was issued for her arrest, the detective is liable for procuring the arrest warrant. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that “an officer who secures an arrest warrant without probable cause is liable for all foreseeable injuries flowing from the officer’s initial act, regardless of further involvement.” Carter v. Gore, 557 Fed. Appx. 904, 906 (11th Cir. 2014). Additionally, qualified immunity will not shield the detective from liability, because “the Supreme Court established the constitutional right to be free from officers making . . . ‘recklessly false statements in support of a warrant.'” Id. at 907-908 (citing Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 165-66 (1978)). In other words, the detective violated our client’s clearly-established constitutional rights. Our client would be entitled to recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees, and litigation expenses.
After extensive discussions and negotiations, we resolved our client’s claim for a significant 5-figure settlement. It made our client whole and contributed to her feeling as though justice had been done.
MAY 19, 2022
LABOR RELATIONS — The Bonderud Law Firm Prevails at Arbitration on Behalf of Labor Union Against JEA – The Bonderud Law Firm is proud to represent a local labor union whose members are employees of the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Electric Authority, and other local governments. The labor union is Laborers International Union of North America, Local 630, and its members are hard-working, blue collar works who perform critical services for the citizens of Jacksonville and northeast Florida. Each “bargaining unit” within the union has a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with the relevant employer that governs the employer-employee relationship. When a member/employee believes the employer is violating the CBA, the employee and/or the union may file a grievance and seek to have the violation remedied. Ultimately, if the grievance is not resolved to the employee’s satisfaction, the union has the right under the CBA to have an impartial arbitrator convene a quasi-judicial trial, to take evidence, and to resolve the dispute. Recently, The Bonderud Law Firm was retained to take an employee grievance to arbitration. The grievance concerned JEA’s practice of including supervisors on a scheduled overtime list for the employees who operate certain water treatment plans throughout the First Coast. The union and its “water operator maintainers” asserted that the inclusion of supervisors on the employees’ scheduled overtime list was a clear violation of the CBA. JEA disagreed, asserting that it retained discretion to assign employees to tasks and schedules as it deems appropriate. After a one-day arbitration/trial, the neutral arbitrator delivered a written order, siding with the employees, our clients. The arbitrator directed JEA to cease and desist its practice, which the arbitrator found to be in violation of the union’s collective bargaining agreement with JEA.
APRIL 3, 2020
CIVIL LITIGATION: Bonderud Law Firm and the ACLU of Louisiana Successfully Defend Journalist’s First Amendment Rights – The Bonderud Law Firm and the ACLU of Louisiana successfully defended the First Amendment rights of a Louisiana journalist who was sued for defamation in Jacksonville, Florida. The case was Nicholas Dean v. Charles Easterling and Advance Local Media, LLC, case no. 3:19-cv-566-TJC-JK. The plaintiff had filed a complaint, alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, and assault. On April 3, 2020, the Honorable US District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan entered a written order, dismissing the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2021
CIVIL LITIGATION: Bonderud Law Firm Serves as Trial Counsel and Prevails after 3-Day Trial – The Bonderud Law Firm was recently engaged to serve a trial counsel, defending a secured creditor in connection with a lawsuit that was filed by a group of debtors who sought to avoid payment of a mortgage debt. After a 3-day trial before a Jacksonville, Florida Circuit Court Judge, the Court entered final judgment in favor of our client and reserving jurisdiction to award our client attorney fees and costs.
OCTOBER 1, 2021
CIVIL LITIGATION: The Bonderud Law Firm Defends US Navy Captain in High-Profile Wrongful Death Case – The Bonderud Law Firm has been engaged to represent a retired US Navy Captain, in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed against him and others. The circumstances that give rise to the case have received widespread national media attention. Nearly all of the alleged relevant conduct occurred on the US Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2014 and 2015. The civil wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Jacksonville, Florida Circuit Court on January 7, 2021. See case no. 16-2021-CA-000103-XXXX-MA. On May 5, 2021, we filed a Notice of Removal to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division. In doing so, we argued that federal law applies exclusively to the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that the plaintiffs’ Civil Complaint, which alleges Florida-law claims, should be dismissed with prejudice. On September 22, 2021, the US District Court entered an order, staying all discovery in the case, pending final resolution of our motion to dismiss. The case is Tur, et al. v. Nettleton, et al., case no. 3:21-cv-483-MMH-JRK.
$300,000 – JANUARY 31, 2019
CIVIL LITIGATION: The Bonderud Law Firm Obtains $300,000 Settlement in Wrongful Death Civil Rights Case After Unprecedented Sanctions Were Imposed on the State of Florida – In a case without precedent in the State of Florida, The Bonderud Law Firm settled a wrongful death civil rights case with the State of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice. The case arose from the tragic death of a 14 year-old child who was being held in an FDJJ secure residential facility in Brevard County. While in custody, the child started exhibiting symptoms that warranted medical intervention. In the case, we alleged that an FDJJ detention officer was deliberately indifferent to the child’s serious medical needs, that a registered nurse on staff at the facility committed malpractice, and that the superintendent of the facility had supervisory liability under federal law. The 14 year-old child died while in custody of the FDJJ after succumbing to bacterial meningitis. The Bonderud Law Firm aggressively advocated for the interests of the family of the minor child decedent, and when the State of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice repeatedly disregarded federal court orders to disclose and produce relevant video surveillance footage, the US District Court Judge entered a written order, imposing “terminating sanctions” against the FDJJ. Thereafter, we successfully negotiated a settlement that involved payment of $300,000 to the family of the minor child decedent. The case was Sheffield v. Greene, et al., case no. 6:17-cv-273-RBD-KRS.
NOVEMBER 30, 2021
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW: The Bonderud Law Firm Prevails in Labor Relations Arbitration – The Bonderud Law Firm serves as outside counsel for a regional public employee labor union. In connection with this role, the firm routinely serves as counsel for public employees who seek to challenge the imposition of discipline, consistent with the relevant collective bargaining agreement. On October 20, 2021, the Firm proceeded to arbitration on behalf of Lisa Promise, an employee of the City of Orlando’s Solid Waste Division who had been given a 3-day suspension. The Bonderud Law Firm vigorously defended our client, cross-examined co-workers, supervisors, and managers, and argued that the suspension was issued in violation of the relevant Collective Bargaining Agreement. On November 29, 2021, the arbitrator issued a written opinion, siding with our client, converting the suspension to a written reprimand, and ordering the City of Orlando to compensate our client with back-pay.
$12,000 – JUNE 30, 2021
The Bonderud Law Firm Successfully Resolves Debt Collection Matter on Behalf of Creditor – The Bonderud Law Firm was retained to represent a service provider who was owed nearly $12,000 from a former customer. After informal attempts to resolve the matter failed, our firm filed suit and obtained a summary final judgment on behalf of our client/creditor and against the defendant/debtor. In addition to the debt owed, the Court awarded attorney fees and costs to our client, and a final judgment in the total amount of $19,212 was entered in favor of our client and against the debtor. For many law firms, this would be the end of the story. However, a “final judgment” can’t be deposited into a checking account. A “final judgment” isn’t worth the paper its written on unless it can be collected.
After the final judgment was entered, we commenced further debt collection action on behalf of our client. We obtained an order, directing the judgment debtor to complete a Fact Information Sheet, which is a sworn document that discloses details about the judgment debtors assets, income, financial accounts, and general financial profile. The Fact Information Sheet also requires the judgment debtor to produce a copies of tax returns, bank statements, vehicle titles, real estate deeds, and paystubs. Needless to say, it is not always easy for a judgment debtor to complete a Fact Information Sheet and to produce the required documents. At our firm, we regularly use this tool to encourage judgment debtors to consider the path of least resistance to be cooperating with us and negotiating a payment plan.
In this case, however, the judgment debtor believed that the path of least resistance would be simply to ignore the court order that required the judgment debtor to complete a Fact Information Sheet. When the judgment debtor became delinquent and failed to timely comply with the Court order, we obtained an “Order to Show Cause,” which required the judgment debtor to appear in court and explain the judgment debtor’s failure to complete the Fact Information Sheet. When the judgment debtor no-showed at the “show cause” hearing, the Court issued an arrest warrant for the judgment debtor.
Not surprisingly, after the issuance of the arrest warrant, the judgment debtor promptly contacted our office, and we negotiated a settlement agreement that involved a substantial initial payment by the judgment debtor, followed by monthly payments. Our client, and the judgment debtor is, too!
$100,000 – MAY 3, 2022
PERSONAL INJURY – The Bonderud Law Firm Files Suit, Litigates to Secure $100,000 Policy Limits Settlement for Auto Injury Client – The Bonderud Law Firm recently secured a full policy limits settlement of $100,000 for an auto injury client. The Firm worked in good faith to resolve the client’s claim without litigation, but the insurance company for the at-fault party refused to negotiate at all. The Firm’s client had been seriously injured during a highway crash, and had incurred tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, in addition to to mental pain and suffering and lost time from work. Given no other reasonable option, the Firm filed suit and prosecuted the claim in court. After extensive discovery, the at-fault driver’s insurance company recently agreed to pay the full amount of its policy limits for the case, which was $100,000. Notably, Firm’s client had offered to settle the case for far less than that pre-suit.
$100,000 – AUGUST 7, 2020
PERSONAL INJURY: The Bonderud Law Firm Obtains $100,000 Policy Limits Settlement for Auto Injury Client – The Bonderud Law Firm recently obtained a $100,000 policy limits settlement with a large auto insurance company on behalf of one of our clients who was injured in a car crash.
$90,000 – FEBRUARY 7, 2022
PERSONAL INJURY – The Bonderud Law Firm Secures Settlement for Auto Injury Client – The Bonderud Law Firm recently secured a $90,000 settlement for an auto injury client. The client was t-boned while making a left-hand turn, and she suffered neck and back pain, requiring her to undergo treatment with a local chiropractor and orthopedist for more than a year. After paying the medical providers, attorney fees, and costs, the client was left with tens of thousands of dollars to compensate her for her emotional pain and suffering, and to allow her to save money for potential future medical expenses.
$50,000 – MAY 3, 2022
PERSONAL INJURY – The Bonderud Law Firm Secures $50,000 Policy Limits Settlement for Client Who was Injured on the Premises of a Bar – The Bonderud Law Firm recently secured a $50,000 settlement for a client who had been seriously injured while on the premises of a bar in Jacksonville, Florida. The bar’s insurance carrier had offered to settle the claim for just a fraction of that amount pre-suit. Therefore, the Firm filed suit against the bar and prosecuted the client’s claim in court. After several months of litigation, the bar’s insurance company offered to tender the full amount of its insurance policy, which our Firm’s client agreed to accept.
$30,000 – AUGUST 16, 2021
PERSONAL INJURY – The Bonderud Law Firm Settles Case for Dog-Bite Victim – Earlier this month, The Bonderud Law Firm settled a case on behalf of a client who was injured when a dog bit her leg, puncturing her skin, and leaving a small scar. The dog owner’s insurance company paid $30,000.00 to resolve the claim.
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