Get to Know the Members of the Supreme Court of Florida

supreme court of florida

Supreme Court of Florida

When representing each of its clients aggressively, the attorneys at Wagner McLaughlin follow case law in Florida that has been interpreted and applied by the courts in the state. As the highest court in the state of Florida, the Florida Supreme Court is responsible for making final determinations as to what the state law is in Florida. You may never meet the justices in person – but their actions and interpretations of law affect many individuals who seek justice in the state court system.

The high court consists of seven justices, one of whom presides as the Chief Justice. Florida’s governor fills any vacancies on the high court by appointing an individual from a slate of names given to him by the Supreme Court judicial nominating commission. To be considered for the seat, one must be a Florida resident and registered voter and not older than 70 years of age. The term of a Justice lasts six years, after which each appointment must be confirmed by a retention vote of Florida’s voter during the general election.

The current Florida Supreme Court includes Justices Jorge Labarga, Charles Canady, Ricky Polston, C. Alan Lawson, Carlos G. Muñiz, John D. Couriel, and Jamie R. Grosshans.

Charles T. Canady is the current Chief Justice, serving for his third time in the position. Governor Crist appointed Charles Canady to the court in 2008. Born in Lakeland, Justice Canady was said to be one of the judges being considered by President Donald Trump as a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Justice Canady is a graduate of Haverford College and Yale Law School, where he earned his JD.

Former Governor Charlie Crist appointed Jorge Labarga to the court in 2009. Born in Havana, Cuba, Justice Labarga was retained in 2010 and 2016 and is credited with being the first Cuban-American to hold the post of Chief Justice in the state. Justice Labarga studied at the University of Florida and earned his J.D at the Levin College of Law in 1979. He has previously served as Chief Justice of Florida.

Ricky Polston was born in Alabama and raised in Graceville, Florida. Justice Polston was appointed by Governor Crist in 2008 and served as the Chief Justice from 2012 to 2014. Formerly a certified public accountant, Justice Polston was a judge on Florida’s First District Court of Appeal before joining the high court.

C. Alan Lawson was appointed to the court by Governor Rick Scott to replace the retiring Justice James E. C. Perry. He served as a judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal before his appointment to the Supreme Court. Justice Lawson, born and raised in Lakeland, studied at Tallahassee Community College and Clemson University before earning his J.D. at the Florida State University College of Law.

Carlos G. Muñiz is one of the more recently appointed justices. Muñiz has served as a private and federal government attorney and in various positions in the Florida state government. After his studies at both the University of Virginia and Yale Law School, he clerked for multiple judges.

Last summer, John D. Couriel was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court. Previous to his appointment, Couriel served in a number of positions across the country, including as clerk for Honorable JohnD. Bates and as a Southern District of Florida Assistant United States Attorney.

Jamie R. Grosshans studied law at the University of Mississippi, where she clerked for multiple U.S. and state departments. She then went on to serve as an Assistant State Attorney in Orange County before entering private practice, serving as an Orange County Court Judge and on the Fifth District Court of Appeal.. Last September, Grosshans was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court.

Wagner McLaughlin is a law firm based in the Tampa Bay area that specializes in personal injury cases. It is recognized as a “Best Law Firm” by Best Lawyers/U.S. News and World Report and handles cases involving personal injury, admiralty law, and medical and legal malpractice in Florida. One of the primary reasons for the success of the firm is its dedicated approach to serving the needs of each client.

wrong way sign

wrong way signWrong-way accidents happen in Florida more frequently than you may think. A Clay County resident lost his life just last month because he was going the wrong way. Fox News released a story about a teenager who lost his life in August because another driver was going the wrong way. Another person lost his life on a Florida highway in the same month for the same thing. Wrong-way accidents seem to be a common theme in the state. Therefore, all drivers should be extra careful, practice defensive driving, and keep handy the phone number of a Tampa wrong-way car accident attorney.

Whose Fault Is a Wrong-Way Incident?
A wrong-way incident usually falls on the person who is going the wrong way. Other drivers might try to dodge the crash, but oftentimes, they don’t have enough time to react. The law is usually on the side of the person who has the right of way in a case like that.

How to Prevent Wrong-Way Accidents
As a driver, you can play your part in preventing wrong-way accidents. First, you must do everything possible to stay alert while you’re driving. Get enough rest, drink caffeine before a long trip, and take stretch breaks to stay fresh and alert on the road. If you can, bring another person with you who can help to make sure you go the right way at all times. Try the best you can to shift your vehicle if someone comes at you in the wrong direction.

What to Do if You’re Involved in a Wrong-Way Collision
You should contact a Tampa car accident lawyer as quickly as possible after you receive your medical treatment and you speak to the authorities. An attorney can start assessing your case, filing a lawsuit if necessary, negotiating your case as soon as you give the green light for representation.

Contact an Attorney Today
Wagner McLaughlin has experience in wrong-way accidents and can help you seek the compensation you deserve if you get involved in such a situation. The law firm is staffed with Tampa wrong-way accident lawyers who have served clients who suffered personal injuries. You can schedule a consultation to find out more about your rights and potential for recovery today.

stolen car

stolen carAll car accidents can be complex, but a crash with a stolen car can be monstrous. You’re in for a complicated case, whether you were hit by someone who was driving a stolen car, or you were a passenger in the car with someone who was driving a stolen car. The chances are high that you’ll need to employ the help of Tampa Personal Injury Attorneys either way. Here’s some additional information.

Who’s at Fault in a Stolen Car Incident?

It’s necessary to establish fault in any car accident, but the stolen status of a car can make that difficult. Generally, the insurance company and the Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer would look at the driving habits and behavior of both parties. The insurance company would review police reports, witness statements, and other evidence to establish whether they’d need to pay a claim. When a vehicle is stolen, however, the stakes are much higher.

Consequences if the Car You Were in Was Stolen

Drivers of stolen cars can face criminal charges. The owner of the car may end up having high insurance premiums. Furthermore, there’s a chance that a passenger can be denied compensation if that person was in a stolen vehicle. In a case like this, you will need a Tampa car accident injury attorney to assist you.

Can You Still Get Help?

Personal injury cases are based highly on the principles of fault and negligence. It’s possible that you can get compensation if you were hurt by getting into a crash involving a stolen car. The driver of the stolen car could be held liable for your injuries. That person may have to pay you compensatory damages as well as possible punitive damages because the car was stolen. Your best bet is to arrange an appointment with a personal injury attorney to discuss your standing and your possible recovery options.

How You Can Get Help

You can schedule a consultation with Wagner McLaughlin today by calling and asking for a free consultation. An attorney will talk to you about your case and discuss with you the likelihood that you may receive money damages as a result of the accident.

multi-car crash

multi-car crashYou might be involved in a multi-car accident one day, and you’ll want to know what your options are if that’s the case. A multi-car incident is an accident that occurs between more than two vehicles. They happen all the time on major highways, and they often need Tampa multi-car accident attorney assistance to figure out who’s liable and who should receive compensation. The following is some additional information on such incidents so that you can determine whether the law entitles you to receive assistance.

What’s a Multi-car Accident?

Multi-car accidents occur when several cars crash as a result of a primary accident. An example is an incident where a driver on the highway brakes quickly to avoid hitting another car or an object. Two or more vehicles behind that car might end up crashing into each other because of the initial brake. The initial brake might have occurred because of something that the frontline driver did wrong. A Tampa multi-car accident attorney can bring clarity to a mess like that.

Who’s Liable for Serious Injuries?

It’s difficult to tell who’s liable for serious injuries in a multi-car accident because so many drivers are involved. A Tampa serious injury attorney would need to assess the accident, gather factual information from drivers, passengers, and witnesses, and review the documentation that surrounds it. Multiple parties might be at fault. Thus, numerous parties might have responsibility for paying compensation to the other parties.

What Factors Determine Fault in Multi-car Crashes?

Driving habits, manufacturer defects, and road and weather conditions are all factors that a Tampa car accident injury attorney will look at when he or she is trying to determine fault. In some cases, the fault can be split between several parties, and those parties might even include the injured persons.

You can speak to someone at Wagner McLaughlin about your case if you were involved in a multi-car crash. Schedule a consultation to discuss your options and to see if you are entitled to compensation from wrongdoers.

head-on collision

head-on collisionOne of the most dangerous types of accidents that you could have on the road is a head-on collision. The reason this type of accident is so dangerous is that the vehicles involved are more than likely traveling at normal highway speeds when they collide (unless, hopefully, one vehicle sees the other and slows down). The impact of the vehicles can result in multiple types of injuries including broken bones or paralysis — and, in some cases, death. After you (or a loved one) have been involved in a head-on collision, consider speaking with Tampa personal injury attorneys, who can help you file a claim against the other party and recover, if the accident was of no fault of your own.

There are a few things that you can do when you’re driving to try to prevent a head-on collision. Since many severe injuries occur because of the high rate of speed that you’re traveling on impact, try to slow down as much as possible if you see another driver swerving on the road or if you see another driver passing in your lane. If you see that an accident can’t be avoided, then try to look on either side of the road to determine if there is something else that you could hit instead of the oncoming car. A barrier, mailbox, or a ditch are examples of items or landscape on the side of the road that you may be able to veer into instead of colliding with the other car. When speaking with a Tampa car accident attorney, you will want to give details about the ways that you tried to prevent the accident and actions taken by the other driver on the road.

If you’re injured or if a passenger in your vehicle is injured, you can consult with Wagner McLaughlin, Tampa car accident injury attorneys, about seeking recovery for the lost wages you incurred, if you needed to miss work, as well as for the medical treatments related to your injuries. Your attorney can also handle communications with the other party and the insurance company on your behalf. Do not hesitate to give us a call today, at 813.225.4000.

statue of limitation

statute of limitationWhat does a statute of limitations mean?

A statute of limitations is basically the amount of time you have to file a case before you can no longer take legal action. Some types of cases do not have a statute of limitations, but most cases do. It’s important to know what the statute of limitations is for each potential case you are considering. And moreover, it’s important to consult with legal counsel as soon as you can, regardless of however long you might have to file a case.

Why does Florida have a statute of limitations?

Every state has statutes of limitations, and those statutes will vary by the type of case. The main reason statutes of limitations exist is so that cases can be built on reliable evidence for both sides. As time goes by, both the physical evidence and eyewitness memory relevant to the lawsuit can deteriorate, making it harder for a judge or jury to issue a verdict.

What is the statute of limitations in Florida for personal injury claims?

That will vary based on the type of case. Let’s look at each area of law right now to see the applicable statute of limitations.

Car Accident

You have four years to sue a negligent driver in Florida if you are injured in a car accident, and five years to sue your uninsured motorist. This does include Uber and Lyft drivers. You do not want to wait to take action, especially because insurance companies will do everything they can to deflect responsibility and draw out your claim—so contact a Tampa car accident attorney to discuss if taking your case to court is the best way to protect your interests.

Truck Accident

A negligent truck driver falls into the same category as a car accident. Shockingly, as recently as 2017, there were 30,000 collisions with heavy or medium trucks on Florida roadways. A crash with a truck can be deadly. If someone dies in the crash, you will need to file a wrongful death lawsuit instead, which has a 2 year statute of limitations. Speaking with a Tampa truck accident lawyer will help you determine if you should file an insurance claim, sue the trucking company, or both.

Motorcycle Accident

It’s a well known fact that motorcycles present more risks for injury and death than cars, and especially in Florida, where you are not required to wear a helmet. Motorcycle accidents are the same as car accidents in terms of a four year statute of limitations (and five for uninsured motorists). Again, keep in mind that a wrongful death claim has a two year statute of limitations, and that PIP claims may need to be filed even sooner to receive full compensation. Talk to a Tampa motorcycle accident attorney as soon as you can to determine the best course of action.

Bike Accident

Like cars, trucks, and motorcycles, the statute of limitations for a bike accident is four years (and five years to sue an uninsured motorist). The most common causes of bike accidents are not bad roads or reckless bicycling. Drivers turning into cyclists, changing lanes into a cyclist, pulling into an intersection and hitting a cyclist, and opening a door at a poorly timed moment are the leading causes of cycler death. Discuss your case with a Tampa bike accident lawyer to determine your options, including whether our own motor vehicle insurance policy will cover you in this instance.

Pedestrian Accident

Pedestrians injured in an accident have four years to bring a case against a negligent driver who injured them, but keep in mind that wrongful death claims have a two year statute of limitations. Most pedestrian deaths actually occur in urban settings and at night, so a Tampa pedestrian accident attorney can review the case with you and help assess if another party might have played a role in the accident—such as a negligent county or city that should have better maintained crosswalks, signage, and lighting.

Premises Liability – Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents can occur when an individual slips and gets injured on a hard surface that should have been marked as such—for example, after it’s been cleaned. In colder climates, it’s common for slip and fall accidents to happen on icy patches, but that is not so common in Florida (though it can happen). The statute of limitations for a slip and fall accident is four years, but don’t wait and speak to a Tampa attorney who specializes in premises liability cases; a Tampa slip and fall accident lawyer will review the case with you and determine the best course of action.

Dog Bite Injury

A bite from an animal is no laughing matter. Attacks from certain animals like pit bulls have resulted in death, and animal bite wounds can develop other complications. The statute of limitations for dog bite injuries is four years. However, you should speak with a Tampa dog bite injury lawyer right away. Emerging from your case with a successful verdict against the owner of a dangerous animal can also protect others in your neighborhood from the same fate.

Defective Products

Retailers have an obligation to their customers to provide safe products. Unfortunately, with the proliferation of unchecked eCommerce, there are more safety issues than ever. If you’ve fallen victim to injury because of a defective product, you will have four years to file a lawsuit. Speak with a Tampa defective products attorney as soon as you can to determine the best way to build your case.

Boating Accidents

Florida is home to a number of lakes, rivers, and coastal waterways. If your boating accident occurred in Florida waters, your statute of limitations is four years. If it occurs in federal waters, it will fall under Federal Maritime Law or Admiralty Law, and the statute drops down to three years. Speak to a Tampa boating accident lawyer to discuss your case and determine the best course of action.

Cruise Ship Accidents

Remember to read the fine print on the back of your ticket. In many cases, the statute of limitations can be as little as one year or six months. Despite the fact that today’s cruise ships seem like floating palaces, they are still ships—and sailing on a ship carries plenty of dangers, among them food poisoning, slips and falls, and mechanical accidents. The thought of bringing a lawsuit against a large cruising corporation can seem intimidating, so speak to a Tampa cruise ship accident attorney and discuss the best way to approach your case.

Railroad Accidents

Railroad accidents are truly frightening; a moving train may need as much as a mile in order to slow down. Oftentimes, a collision with a train or a stalled car at a railroad crossing hit by an oncoming train can mean certain death—the statute of limitations of which (in Florida) is two years. If death is not involved, the statutes of limitations can vary depending on who operates the train, a government employee or a private company. It’s important to speak to a Tampa railroad accident attorney as soon as you can to iron out the details and move forward.

Aviation Accidents

Airplanes are statistically more safe to travel in than cars, but airplane accidents do happen, and they can be catastrophic. Remember that wrongful death lawsuits have a two year statute of limitations, which incidentally is the same for international air travel. Sometimes a lawsuit can be brought against the federal government for negligence on the part of air traffic controllers, or for an an accident with an EMS helicopter or municipal airport. The statutes of limitations for each of these types of cases can be difficult to determine and may require analysis of the specific facts involved in your case. ecause of the complexity of aviation accidents and the many factors involved, it’s important to speak to a Tampa aviation accident lawyer to determine the best way forward.

For all of these various cases, individual facts or circumstances are important and can affect the application of the appropriate statute of limitations – which makes it all the more critical that you consult with an attorney about your possible case sooner rather than later. Our attorneys at Wagner McLaughlin would be honored to discuss your options with you. Call us today for a free consultation.

car accident a year ago

car accident a year agoMany people are injured in automobile accidents and do not realize how injured they actually are until later. This is especially true with issues like back injuries that have a way of hanging on throughout the remainder of the victim’s life in some situations. The truth is that many injuries do not manifest quickly, and those who did not file immediately may think they have no recourse after waiting or failing to seek medical treatment. While failing to consult a doctor within 14 days of your accident will affect coverage by your own insurancecompany, you may still be able to file a lawsuit and receive damages paid by the negligent party’s insurance company. There is an important deadline to remember, however. By law, under most circumstances, injured parties have four years to file an injury claim against a negligent actor. This stipulation applies to automobile accidents as well as other accident injury claims. So do not delay. As soon as your begin feeling your injuries, consult an experienced attorney like Wagner McLaughlin Tampa car accident lawyers. We can help you file your claim and maximize your recovery.


Starting the Clock

The statute of limitations in all states includes what is termed a “clock” that designates the time at which the limitations period begins. This normally begins at the time of the injury when an injury is realized immediately during the mishap or closely after the fact. However, there could be a determination of a delayed clock beginning when the injury is not recognized by the victim in a timely manner.


Limitations Altercations

There are also some cases where the statute of limitations clock can be “tolled,” which is stopping the clock due to the nature of certain physical conditions along the way to recovery. This can be confusing for the typical injured party, but an experienced attorney can often successfully argue the claim to the court in specific instances when an injury is not recovering as expected or when the claimant did not seek extensive medical treatment from the first point the injury was realized. Injuries can worsen over time; someclaims get filed late under certain circumstances.


Never assume it is too late to file an accident injury claim. Always call Wagner McLaughlin Tampa car accident lawyers for advice on pursuing damages. Your claim may still be valid and much more valuable than you think.

slip and fall in apartment building

slip and fall in apartment buildingAs a tenant living in an apartment building, it is reasonable to expect that the building and the area around it will be maintained for safety. Unfortunately, this is not always the case,and many tenants endure injuries. While proving the responsibility of the landlord is a major factor, it is important that tenants know that they are able to claim financial compensation if the landlord was negligent. Tampa FL slip and fall lawyers can walk through what this means and help determine if you are able to proceed with further legal action. When an attorney from Wagner McLaughlin works with you, they will ensure that you understand if you have a case and what you need to do next.


Landlord Negligence

When you have a slip and fall at an apartment building and wish to hold the landlord responsible, you have to prove that the landlord was negligent. Generally, a landlord is responsible for maintaining the property inside and outside. This means that issues in the apartment and on the outdoor grounds should be promptly corrected. While this is the job of the landlord, the tenant also has the role of reporting issues that are in the apartment. If the tenant has done so, and the landlord hasn’t fixed the problem, they may well be liable for damages. It will also be considered if the landlord should have reasonably known about the problem and failed to fix it.


As a victim of a fall in an apartment building, you will need Tampa FL slip and fall lawyers to represent you so that you can get the money you deserve for your injuries. Let us work for you to help with your claim for financial compensation.


Contact the office of Wagner McLaughlin so that we can schedule a consultation to answer your questions.

visiting a doctor after an accident

visiting a doctor after an accidentIf you have been in a car accident during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are facing a tough situation. While you may hesitate to visit a doctor out of fear of the coronavirus, you will also have injuries that need to be treated and documented. Should you fail to see a doctor in a timely manner, you are putting your health at risk as well as making it less likely that you will gain compensation for your injuries. Rather than let this happen, seek legal advice from Tampa FL car accident attorneys at Wagner McLaughlin.


Medical Documentation

While ensuring you will have your car accident injuries addressed promptly by doctors who can give you the treatment you need, visiting a doctor will also allow you to have your injuries immediately documented in your medical records. By doing so, an insurance company will have less chance of claiming you were not seriously injured in your accident, which could let the company deny you the compensation you deserve.


Gaining Compensation

When you are injured in a serious auto accident, through no fault of your own, there is little doubt you will need substantial compensation for your damages. If you were seriously injured, you will likely have medical bills arriving at your mailbox for months, all of which will need to be paid. Also, you will need compensation for the wages you have already lost as well as what you will lose until you can return to work. These damages, along with the pain and suffering you are enduring each day, make it even more critical you visit a doctor as soon as possible after your accident.


Since doctors and hospitals are taking extra precautions to protect non-COVID-19 patients, do not hesitate to seek medical treatment following your car accident. To gain further legal advice regarding your accident, schedule a consultation at once with Tampa FL car accident attorneys at Wagner McLaughlin.

injured while shopping

injured while shoppingEven while the COVID-19 pandemic plays out across the country, that does not mean you can avoid going to the grocery store for various essentials. Unfortunately, despite social distancing, you may be injured while shopping. Whether this involves a slip and fall accident in a store aisle, being struck by falling merchandise from store shelves, or other circumstances, never hesitate to seek advice regarding compensation for your injuries. To start the process, turn to personal injury attorneys in Tampa FL at Wagner McLaughlin.


Evidence of Your Injuries

When you are injured in a grocery store, it will be crucial you have as much evidence as possible supporting your case. In most cases, this will involve video footage from the store, eyewitness statements as to what happened, and photos of the accident scene. In addition, always allow yourself to receive medical treatment at the store and be taken to a hospital for additional treatment, since this will show insurance companies you were indeed seriously injured in your accident.


Say as Little as Possible about the Accident

When you are at the store following your accident, say as little as possible about what happened until you have spoken to personal injury attorneys in Tampa FL at Wagner McLaughlin. Unfortunately, if you say something as simple as “I’m sorry” to a store manager, they can try to use this against you to claim you caused the accident. Should this happen, you may lose out on the chance to be compensated for your injuries, lost wages, and other damages.


While you may think the grocery store and its insurance company will want to help you in these situations, it is typically in their best interest to try tomake you look as bad as possible. To have expert legal representation on your side, consult at once with personal injury attorneys in Tampa FL at Wagner McLaughlin.