Attorney Todd Falzone of Kelley/Uustal has successfully secured a settlement of $1 million for
the surviving family of a postal worker who was killed in an accident
in Osceola County in 2007. The accident occurred as a result of a mix-up
with the placement of highway signs which would have prevented the death
if they had been present. The
wrongful death lawsuit was filed in 2009 by the victim’s widow.
Together with their attorneys, the family of Jhurel P. Villanueva argued
for six years that Reynolds, Smith, and Hills Inc., an engineering and
architectural firm based in Jacksonville, Florida, should be held responsible
for the mistake that cost Jhurel his life. This mistake, which reaches
back to 1999, stems from a contract with the county to expand Hickory
Tree Road in St. Cloud, which included a new left turn lane, a reduced
speed limit, and the placement of warning signs at the intersection of
Hickory Tree and North Bullis roads. The mistake occurred when an engineer
accidentally placed the warning signs several hundred feet away at the
“Nobody ever knew the difference,” reported Attorney Falzone,
who represented the victim’s family.
As Villanuava drove down this road years later and prepared to make a left
turn onto North Bullis Road, another vehicle attempted to pass him on
the left. The two trucks collided, ejecting and killing Villanueva. Falzone
argued that if a no-passing sign had been placed at the intersection,
the accident would never have happened.
A judgment was reached in favor of Reynolds Smith in 2013 after it was
determined that the county had reopened the plans and made changes unrelated
to the Bullis road signs mistake. Attorney Falzone knew this was not the
law, and the Fifth District Court of Appeals agreed to retry the case.
Falzone was surprised that his settlement offer of $1 million was accepted.
He originally chose that number because opposing counsel told him that
the defendant would not accept it. “Please don’t accept that.
I’d prefer to go to court and get a bigger verdict and make you
pay my fees,” he said. “I guess maybe I should use that as
a strategy in the future.”
Fore more information about the case
Daily Business Review (October 5 and
October 6) and the
Tireless Advocacy for Your Wrongful Death Case
The Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorneys at Kelley/Uustal have over
200 years of combined experience fighting for the rights of families who
have lost loved ones in preventable accidents. This most recent settlement
adds to the hundreds of millions of dollars we have won on behalf of clients.
Our caring and compassionate team makes your fight our fight. To see how
we may be able to help with your legal matter, please get in touch with
us today to receive a
free case evaluation: (954) 522-6601.