At Justice for Kids, we represent children who are catastrophically injured in all settings. We represent parents in death cases where we believe that we can protect other children from the same tragedies. Our team helps all children who are paralyzed, brain damaged, sexually abused, and permanently injured. We strive to create trusts to fund life care plans to care for these children throughout the remainder of their lives.
Angela Sozzani v. Help-A-Child, Florida Department of Children & Families
At the age of two, Angela nearly drowned in a pool at her foster home, leaving her permanently dependent on a ventilator and supportive care at Pediatric Nursing Facility, KIDZ KORNER. Howard Talenfeld and his team filed negligence claims against Help-A-Child, the Florida Department of Children & Families, and the foster parents who all caused and or contributed to her catastrophic injuries. After obtaining seven figure settlements, which were placed in her special needs trust, Howard’s work had only just begun. This is because there is so much more to representing catastrophically injured children in the care of DCF and its private providers than just obtaining a monetary award. The job of a lawyer in a catastrophic injury case is not limited to obtaining a monetary award—regardless of the size. Howard was there to obtain the opinions of the best expert treaters, medical professionals, and life care planner to ensure that Angela received the maximum damages recovery, that the proceeds were placed in an appropriately designed Medicaid Special Needs Trust, and that she could receive all of the public benefits she needed as both a child and an adult. And, if this was not enough, that Angela had the ability in her settlement to seek a claims bill from the Florida Legislature to supplement the money she already recovered from the agencies who injured her and their insurers. During the last 15 years, Howard has spent thousands of hours representing Angela pro bono ensuring that she received the best treatment and services by advising and then serving as her attorney ad litem in her dependency case, by serving as her advisor to a trust for the significant monetary award he helped obtain, overcoming the major obstacles to her continued placement at KIDZ KORNER, and by ensuring that Medicaid funding was available to support her continued care after the age of 22. In 2021, he obtained an unprecedented waiver for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to allow her to remain at KIDZ KORNER beyond her 21st birthday. In 2022, Howard pressed a managed care agency to make the payments before she turned 22 and left the juvenile court jurisdiction, covering her medical care and placement costs for the rest of her life at KIDZ KORNER and setting a new precedent. Then, significantly, Howard used the stories of Angela and other children who were catastrophically injured to lobby the Florida legislature to provide mandatory attorney representation in their own dependency cases for these and other disabled children who needed the expertise and help.
David Carl Ashcroft v. Calder Race Course, 429 So.2d 1309 (Fla 1986) (Miami ) David Ashcroft, a 20-year-old apprentice jockey, suffered catastrophic injuries when his horse veered across the racecourse toward a negligently placed exit gap, which caused his horse to attempt to leave the track. Ashcroft lost control of the horse and fell to the ground where he was run over by another horse, rendering him a quadriplegic. The case was tried before a jury, which rendered a $10 million verdict. On appeal, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the verdict, finding that Ashcroft voluntarily assumed the risk and exposed himself to the danger complained of. On review to the Supreme Court of Florida, The Court reinstated the verdict and ruled that although horse-racing is a dangerous sport, Ashcroft did not assume the unreasonable risk of a negligently designed and maintained race track. Read more
South Florida Jet Ski Tragedy Settles for Undisclosed Sum. AD was tragically killed while riding a jet ski on a lake in Miami, FL. He was only 15 years old. An investigation, on behalf of AD’s parents, discovered that the events which led to his death actually started in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, more than 15 years earlier. An Australian pine tree that was more than 80 feet tall had been knocked down in the storm at the bank of a privately-owned lake. The homeowner tried to push the tree into the lake, to sink it, but the tree was too large and dense. Rather than sink it or have it removed, the homeowner left the tree on a shallow shelf at the edge of the lake, with the trunk extending more than 50 feet into the navigable part of the waterway. When the tide was low, the tree was exposed and visible. However, as the tide rose the tree was obscured just beneath the surface. The homeowners who lived on the lake hired a lake maintenance company to take care of the lake. Over the years, homeowners became aware that the tree was jutting into the waterway and the lake maintenance company even struck it on multiple occasions while cleaning the lake. Despite knowledge of the tree’s existence and that it had been struck before, no one ever removed the tree. AD was invited by a friend to go jet skiing and had never been on that lake before. As he came around the lake, the jet ski struck the obscured tree, redirecting him into a dock. In an extremely difficult and hard fought case, which spanned closed to five years, involved hundreds of defendants, depositions and a host of legal issues ranging from riparian rights to water safety maintenance and accident reconstruction, justice was finally achieved and the case was ultimately settled, confidentially, in excess of seven figures..
Confidential Settlement in Death of Minor at Day Care Facility. After picking up a two-year-old child one summer morning, the day care center he was entrusted to failed to conduct head counts and take attendance as children were entering the facility. Had they taken attendance and compared it to the transportation logs, as they are mandated by the state to do, the day care center would have rapidly discovered that NS was still on the van. For more than five hours, no one noticed that he was unaccounted for and missing. It was not until someone picked up his backpack that they realized he wasn’t there. NS was found inside the van. Tragically, he did not survive. Entrusted with the most vulnerable, childcare facilities are governed by state mandated standards to ensure the protection of our children and when they fail, they must be held accountable. We were able to reach a confidential settlement prior to initiating litigation.
Confidential Seven Figure Settlement for Junior ROTC Member Due to Negligence of Truck Driver, City and Utility. VA had just turned 16. She was a Junior ROTC student due to begin a military career after her high school graduation. Early one morning, while on her way to school to raise the flag, she was struck by a truck as she crossed the street, suffering a traumatic brain injury among a host of debilitating physical injuries. It was before sunrise and the truck driver contended that he did not see her. Following an extensive investigation, which included repeatedly staking out the crosswalk for months, we were able to determine that there was a recurrent problem with the entire street light circuit causing the lights to cycle off simultaneously, thus rendering the crosswalk dangerously dark. It was also discovered that this had been an issue that residents and business owners in the area had been complaining about for an inordinate amount of time, though nothing was done to fix it. We determined that there were several parties who shared responsibility, including the private street light maintenance company, the county and the trucking company. We were ultimately successful in reaching a confidential settlement, which gave our client the financial wherewithal to provide security and care for her future.
Florida Child Legal Cases Handled By Kelley Kronenberg: