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Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett | Legal Blog

Jul  25,  2016
By Jason Reid
Today, Kathy Prucnell, of the Anna Maria Islander Reporter, wrote that Chris Arnold, who is represented by Jason M. Reid of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., left the courthouse June 17th a free man. Twelfth Circuit Judge Deno Economou is expected to decide what the former city contractor will pay in restitution for grand theft sometime after July 15. The June hearing was the last of four hearings on the subject since the judge reserved it as part of Arnold’s sentence a year ago.

The judge ordered Arnold to serve 14 years probation and 100 hours of community service work after he pleaded no contest to a reduced grand theft charge in connection with bilking the city for $92,830. Arnold, who contracted to perform work for the city, initially faced a first-degree felony scheme to defraud for failing to perform curb work after a former employee told city officials Arnold was painting over curbs marked for replacement. Curbs on 11 streets in Key Royale and on Flotilla Drive were to be removed and replaced in three months — by Sept. 15, 2012 — under the 2012 city contract. Arnold testified June 17 the curb markings were not representative of work he hadn’t done. “There were literally thousands of marks” on the curbs for utilities, he said. Arnold also testified former Holmes Beach public works superintendent Joe Duennes verbally changed the contract, ordering curb grinding to fix drainage flow and remobilization efforts after Tropical Storm Debby, as well as adjustments for brick pavers. Former building inspector Bob Shaffer testified for the defense, saying Arnold’s crews performed grinding work and he saw many dumpsters. Arnold valued the extra work he performed without payment at $141,000. On cross, Assistant State Attorney Lisa Chittaro showed Arnold paperwork for $2,263 in pipe repairs and HE acknowledged the payment. She added, he “was paid for it” if he “did it.” Chittaro also questioned Arnold about his current work, income and assets. Arnold testified he worked in jail, but since getting out hasn’t been able to find employment, except at the VFW. His earning ability has been “devastated” by the grand theft record, he testified. Arnold told the court he owned property in Pennsylvania with his wife and others. After the hearing, Chittaro said the financial inquiry will be used to make a monthly payment recommendation. The city is looking for restitution of its claim for $92,830 in unperformed work, attorneys’ fees, an engineer’s fee and $3,069.19 police and staff time. 

Chittaro and Arnold’s attorney, Jason Reid of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett of Bradenton, are to submit legal arguments by July 15 to Economou. After the hearing, Reid said their “strongest argument” is Arnold’s grinding work, which is acknowledged by city officials. The former contractor for the city — who constructed trolley stops and dog park structures, a public works building and performed work at Grassy Point Preserve — left the courthouse with more to say. “If I could go through it over again, I would have gone to trial. I have the evidence. I really do,” Arnold said.

Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, jason reid,
Posted in Criminal Defense
Jul  25,  2016
By Terri Cromley

On July 22, 2016, Terri Cromley, Managing Attorney of the Bradenton office of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett received a plaque for being a five year season ticket holder from Rachelle Madrigal, the General Manager of the Bradenton Marauders.  

Terri is thrilled to follow tomorrow's stars like Pirate's All-Star team member, Starling Marte, as they make it to the majors.  The Pirates and Marauders are a great organization that do a lot for the local community.  

Terri is proud to be associated with such a charitable organization.  If you get a chance, go to a Marauder's game and look for Terri. They have great deals like $1.00 tix for  Sunday games.


Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, terri cromley, bradenton marauders
Posted in Announcements|News and Media
Jun  09,  2016
By Jennifer A. Burns

Florida drivers know that buckling up is the law. Yet fatal crashes continue to increase, as violators fail to put on their seatbelt when driving or riding in a vehicle. While statistics show that drivers and passengers have been buckling up more consistently during daytime hours, evening and night time fatal crashes between the hours of 6 pm and 5:59 am have continued to increase.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has instituted a national seatbelt enforcement mobilization period beginning May 23rd and ending June 5th, 2016. The mobilization was created to enforce seat belt laws 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Local law enforcement agencies will be joining forces and patrolling “Coast to Coast” on major interstates including I-10, I-40, I-70, and I-80. The objective of the patrol is to remind citizens that law enforcement’s priority is safety.

The Click It or Ticket campaign highlights key issues in traffic safety. Research conducted by the NHTSA showed, while 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants buckled up in 2015, almost 50 percent of occupants of fatal crashes nationwide are not restrained. Even more tragic, in some states the rate is as high as 70 percent unrestrained in fatal crashes. These startling statistics are the key reason the enforcement mobilization period was formed.

“Buckling up is one of the easiest ways to put your life out of danger’s way,” remarked attorney Jennifer Burns, “No one regrets putting on their seatbelt.” Jennifer Burns is one of Tampa Bay’s foremost personal injury attorneys, handling car accident claims with tenacity and compassion.

Law enforcement agencies will issue citations to all seatbelt law violators pulled over during the Click it or Ticket time period. Local police are maintaining a zero-tolerance policy for those without seatbelts. For more information on the NHTSA’s Click It or Ticket campaign please visit

Tampa Bay’s leading personal injury attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. are available 24/7 to address questions and concerns you may have regarding legal issues. The firm handles all types of legal matters, including personal injury, family law, DUI defense, Social Security, criminal defense, immigration, and workers' compensation. 

Tags: carlson meissner, jennifer burns, tampa accident attorneys, florida seatbelt laws,
Posted in Announcements|Personal Injury|Community|Drivers License
Jun  02,  2016
By Casey Carlson
Our Workers’ Compensation  Division would like to announce that the workers' compensation claims professionals working in the state of Florida need your help. New to our state this year is an outstanding organization called Kids’ Chance. Our mission is to provide educational scholarships to children who have a parent seriously injured or killed on the job. We have just recently opened our application process, and are seeking qualified applicants who need help with college or trade school tuition. We will award funds this year, before school starts in the fall. Do you know a student interested in scholarship opportunities, whose parent has suffered a serious workers’ compensation injury? Encourage the student to visit and learn more about available scholarship opportunities. It is gratifying to see deserving kids have the chance to succeed. Please have them to go to for more information, and to apply. We thank you in advance for your help in finding deserving and qualified students!

Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, casey carlson, workers' compensation,
Posted in Announcements|Community|Workers Compensation
May  31,  2016
By Paul Meissner

May is motorcycle awareness month and the perfect time to review precautionary driving measures. As the weather warms up, more and more motorcycle enthusiasts will fill the roads across the U.S.

Motorcycle awareness month was created to stop the decline of helmet usage, and decrease the number of motorcycle crashes and injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association focuses on equipping motorists with the tools necessary to anticipate and respond to motorcyclists on the road. By gaining a better understanding of a motorcyclist’s visibility and weaving techniques, motorists will have a better plan of action when sharing the road.

Tips for motorists approved by the NHTSA include:

Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.

If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Ensure the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.

Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.

Always allow increased follow distance when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:

Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.

Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.

Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.

Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.

Ride in the middle of the lane for maximum visibility to drivers.

Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, motorcycle safety, helmets
Posted in Personal Injury|News and Media
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