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Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett | Legal Blog

Feb  23,  2017
By Mary Ann Bounacos
Come to the Weeki Wachee Florida Swamp Festival from March 3rd to March 5th and meet the attorneys and staff of our Spring Hill office. Betty Whitman and Matt Wheeley will be available for a free consultation and to answer any questions you may have regarding obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, Workers’ Compensation, and Personal injury. Susan Carrell and Ana Kneisler will also be available to assist you and to hand out some fun gifts.

 

Swamp Fest has grown from a small community fundraising festival to an annual event that draws thousands from all over. In 1994 Swamp Fest held its first annual festival in the parking lot at the Weeki Wachee Area Club, soon outgrowing the parking lot it moved around the corner to the Weeki Wachee Christian Camp. The festival remained there for a few years before moving even further down Shoal Line Boulevard to Linda Pederson Park. In 2013 Swamp Fest made the big move to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, where it will be held once again in 2017.

Swamp Fest is organized by the Weeki Wachee Crime Watch, The Weeki Wachee Area Club, and the Hernando Environmental Land Protectors (H.E.L.P.). All monies (after operating costs) are distributed among the three organizations and to many deserving local charities.

Some of the organizations that have received the donations in previous years are: 4-H, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Arc Nature Coast, Artificial Reef Development, Audubon Society, Boy Scout Troop #433, Chinsegut Hill, Civil Air Patrol, Coastal Spring Hill Education Center, Guardian Ad Litem, Hernando Beach Fire Department, Hernando Beach Marine Safety, Hernando Beach VFW, Hernando County Boys & Girls Club, Hernando County Recreation Dept. Youth Camps, Hernando County Sheriff, Hospice, Holy Ground (Pasco County), Jericho Road Ministries, People Helping People, Salvation Army, Save The Manatee Program, SHARP Crime Watch, Sierra Club (Gulf Coast), Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, The Dawn Center, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary 15-08, West Hernando Christian School.



 


Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, betty whitman, spring hill, swamp fest
Posted in Announcements|Community|Workers Compensation
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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 www.kidschancefl.org 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
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May  24,  2016
By Andrew D. Spence

The Florida Supreme Court recently made a decision concerning a problem that has plagued the injured workers’ ability to obtain all benefits owed under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, under Florida Statutes 440.01-440.60. This decision, as reported by attorney Andrew Spence, affects nearly all injured workers’ in the State of Florida, encouraging pursuit of benefits even when the value of the benefit at issue is minuscule. To do so, Florida’s Supreme Court struck down the irrebuttable fee schedule in Florida Statute 440.34. 

In 2009, the legislature amended the laws governing attorney’s fees in workers’ compensation cases, eliminating a single word, “reasonable,” when determining the attorney’s fee when successfully obtaining benefits for injured workers. For example, post 2009, if the injured worker was owed $100.00 for lost wages due to his or her work place injury, the Employee’s attorney would be entitled to an attorney’s fee of $20.00 if the benefit was successfully obtained, even if the issue litigated all the way through a trial, no matter the number of hours invested in the fight for the $100.00. In this example, if the Employee’s attorney invested 50 hours to prepare for and attend trial, the statutory rate of pay for the Employee’s attorney if successful would be $0.40 per hour. To add insult to injury, in a loser pay system, the Employee would owe the insurance company and/or Employer the cost of said trial if the Employee did not prevail at trial. So, you can see the obvious problem in weighing the risk versus the reward for successfully obtaining the $100.00. Accordingly, this problematic issue was examined by the Florida Supreme Court in Marvin Castellanos v. Next Door Company, et al., case no. SC 13-2082 (2016).

In Castellanos, the Employee’s attorney successfully obtained benefits for his client, defeating numerous defenses raised by the insurance company and Employer, and the attorney’s fee amounted to $1.53 per hour for the 107.2 hours performed to successfully obtain the benefits at issue. The Court found that the conclusive, irrebuttable statutory presumption regarding attorney’s fees in the 2009 statute was unconstitutional. In doing so, the Court reasoned that without the right to an attorney with a reasonable fee, the workers’ compensation law did not provide the intended self-executing delivery of benefits to injured workers. Additionally, Insurance companies were intrinsically encouraged to raise multiple defenses, causing injured workers difficulty hiring an attorney to pursue benefits on their behalf. 

Now, due to the decision in Castellanos, attorneys who successfully obtain benefits for an injured worker are again entitled to a reasonable attorney fee, encouraging attorneys to pursuit of benefits no matter what the value of the benefit is. Attorneys helping injured workers are no longer bound by the law that, at times, prevented pursuit of low value disputes. Further, insurance companies have more of an incentive to provide benefits when proper because the failure to do so results in a penalty of owing reasonable attorney’s fees, which at times far outweighs the benefits sought. We hope this change in the law will reduce the wrongful denial of benefit and insurance companies will be more likely provide benefits under the workers’ compensation laws.



Tags: carlson, meissner, hart, hayslett, castellanos, workers' compensation
Posted in Workers Compensation
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Feb  16,  2016
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Trusted Tampa Bay Attorneys Celebrate 45 Years of Success

Beginning in 1971, the prominent Tampa bay firm of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. began living their motto, “Fighting for the injured, defending the accused”. Attorneys at the firm agree that the personal relationships they build with clients and their reputation as leaders in the community is the driving force behind a client's motivation to trust the Carlson Meissner team

The firm’s long history of success is founded upon four key philosophies - based on the word CARE. The “C” is this acronym stands for community commitment. The next letter represents accessibility, a promise of a timely response to clients. “R” stands for responsible, reasonable and reliable service while the final letter, “E”, stands for extensive experience and the team approach. 

Since 1971, the firm has grown to five locations across the Tampa Bay area to better meet the community’s needs. Locations include Tampa, Clearwater, Spring Hill, Bradenton, and New Port Richey. A team of 16 highly skilled attorneys comprises the Carlson Meissner legal team, giving clients access to more than a century of legal experience through the firm’s team approach. The attorneys have a proven record of success in several areas of practice, including:

The founders of the law offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. celebrate being named one of Florida’s Top Ranked Law Firms based on AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Lawyers Ratings, pursuant to the Wall Street Journal. Attorney Edward D. Carlson, co-founder of the firm, remarks, “ Our long-lasting success was not without hard work. Attorneys with our firm go the extra mile for the clients we serve and it is evident as each case unfolds.” The firm’s other co-founder, Paul A. Meissner, adds, “Our values have guided our practice and our skilled group of attorneys have allowed our firm to be unique in the creation of innovative legal strategies.” 

 

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Posted in Announcements|Personal Injury|Criminal Defense|Community|News and Media|Workers Compensation|DUI|Family Law
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Oct  30,  2015
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The attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett's Spring Hill office have a strong reputation as dynamic and tenacious, representing comprehensive legal issues and delivering optimal results. For years, the practicing attorneys have followed a client-focused approach, allowing the firm to stand the test of time. Attorney Betty Whitman’s experience and devotion to service makes her an exceptional addition to the well-rounded group of attorneys.

As a Certified Continuing Education Instructor in the State of Florida, Betty is passionate about leading speaking engagements and presentations that provide legal guidance for industry leaders. Betty is also passionate about the environment and currently serves as Chairman of the Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Expo celebrating heritage, culture and community. In 2010, she was named a Florida “Super Lawyer” and in 2012 achieved the honor of being named “Boss of the Year” by the Marion County Legal Support Association.

Betty’s extensive legal experience began even before she started practicing law in 1987. Betty worked as secretary to her father, a general practitioner in Melbourne, Florida. She continued work as a legal secretary before obtaining her B.A. Degree and attending law school at the University of Florida. In 1987, after becoming a member of the Florida Bar, Betty began practicing law in Marion County. Her areas of specialty include Personal injury, Automobile Accidents, Slip and Fall Accidents, Products Liability, Workers’ Compensation and Wrongful Death.

Betty has achieved an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® for high ethical standards and professional ability, a testament her peers rate her at the highest level of achievement. Her high level of success ensures sound legal advice and innovative strategies for clients.

Betty Whitman has repeatedly proven her commitment to client-centered representation,” explained J. Larry Hart, Esq. “Her dedication to serving others in our practice and within the community is remarkable. We are thrilled to have her join our team.”

Betty will be joining the firm's Spring Hill location as lead attorney for personal injury and workers’ compensation. For more information or to set up a free consultation, Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. invite you to call 352-247-4400 or visit the firm’s website at CarlsonMeissnerSpringhill.com.

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