Friday, October 19, 2012

Miami Parking Garage Collapse: One Week Later Bodies Still Continue to Turn Up

Miami Parking Garage Collapse: One Week Later Bodies Still Continue to Turn Up
By: Brandon Stein, Esq.

As a South Florida lawyer that helps those injured from construction site accidents, it is shocking and appalling that the number of fatalities continue to rise one week after the parking garage collapse at Miami-Dade College West.  Seven days have passed since this horrific parking garage accident in Miami, and authorities are still clearing the rubble and pulling out bodies.  Just yesterday, a fourth body was found, but unable to be removed for several days due to the instability of the accident location.  Naturally, families of the victims are outraged because of the significant amount of time it has been taking authorities to clear the area and retrieve all victims from the remains of the once standing parking garage.  Still, the cause of this collapse remains a question and investigators and Miami lawyers are searching for answers.

However, this question may not need to be answered had certain tactics been in place to prevent a catastrophic accident such as this Miami parking garage collapse.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) is in place to ensure compliance with safety standards while performing work-related and other dangerous activities.  Clearly, the construction of a multi-level parking garage for a local college in Miami constitutes a dangerous working condition requiring compliance with OSHA regulations.  Yet, intervention by OSHA could have prevented injury and saved the lives of those who fell victim to this accident in Miami – and perhaps could have even prevented the collapse. 

While there are many examples of OSHA intervention in the past that prevented injury, one case that occurred back in April 2011 is eerily similar to the incident that occurred on October 10, 2012 in Miami.  The intervention investigation conducted by OSHA in 2011 involved workers performing construction within a 5? foot deep trench without the proper precautions in place to protect the employees from injury.

Upon arrival at the trench construction site, OSHA compliance officers noticed immediately that the construction workers were not protected from cave-ins.  Thus, the entire project was shut down and everyone was ordered off of the site until the OSHA investigation had been completed.  Shortly after all workers were removed from the construction area, the trench collapsed.  Thankfully, no one was hurt, but injuries, and possibly deaths, were prevented because of the preventative investigation and inspection conducted by OSHA. 

At this point, it is too early to speculate whether early OSHA intervention could have prevented injury or the parking garage collapse.  However, here in South Florida, construction and repairs to facilities or roadways remains constant – thus requiring the intervention and assistance from OSHA, as well as lawyers to help those injured.  Although, what cannot be forgotten is that the construction company has the responsibility to ensure compliance with state and federal guidelines and standards.  Because when an accident such as the Miami-Dade College West parking garage collapse occurs, the first party that needs to answer questions regarding the accident is the construction company or entity charged with overseeing the safe completion of the project. 

Stay linked to Construction Site Injury News for more information on this story and others related to construction related accidents.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Criminology – The 21st Century Criminologist

Criminology – The 21st Century Criminologist 
BY: Ronald F. Worst – Criminologist (Security Expert & Fraud Examiner)
We are often reminded of the sudden impact of financial crimes, safety and security, and the U.S. Justice System has on our internal psyche. The majority of us are concerned about becoming victims of frauds and scams, assaults and batteries, or having our homes burglarized. We’re also intrigued and fascinated by the news media, social media, and newspapers covering these crimes involving celebrity figures and highly publicized cases of all types. In addition, we are also disgusted and outraged by law enforcement misconduct and negligence upon U.S. citizens.

Decades ago, criminology was about the examination and analytical assessment of crime patterns, typologies, and theories which were a base of all criminologists to teach, learn, and explore. Now, with an increased demand for private practice criminologists to expand even further on crime patterns and analytical assessments, the NEW 21st Century Criminologists are establishing a solid impact in the legal profession to contribute in litigation support and expert witness testimony to educate lawyers and the jury on the reasonable and realistic assessments on our safety, the security of our assets, and protecting our money.

Compared to most of us, I too have a fascination with financial crimes, our safety and security, and the judicial system. As an educator in my areas of expertise, I’ve been able to establish my interests into a career. My goal with this article is to generate even more interest with entrepreneurs, professionals of all types, and college students who are intrigued and willing to expand their knowledge that has been my career of choice so that private practice criminologists can continue to strengthen to assist in reducing our society’s crime rate. Distinguishing that our Justice System has two divisions: Civil Justice System & Criminal Justice System and that both systems are not the same with language which applies in its own unique way. For Example: Homicide/Murder would apply in the criminal justice system, and wrongful death would apply in the civil justice system.
The 21st Century Criminologist wears numerous hats of multi-disciplinary areas of expertise in which I would like to discuss in this article one area of study: Behavioral Psychology as it applies to Passive Aggressive Communication skills.

Behavioral Psychology: Passive aggressive communication skills are a unique technique when obtaining useful information from defendants, witnesses, and third party citizens by an in-direct approach when engaging in interviews and conversations. There are several aggressive interviewing techniques that try to force people to talk or force some level of a confession, but I do not support most of those techniques due to an increase probability of obtaining false or misleading information. In my opinion, people have some level of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as it relates to Love, Likeness, Hate, Aggression, Anger, Shy, etc. With that concept, when engaging in your interviews, certain words and phrases can be useful in gathering factual information to assist in your theories or supporting facts during your investigations. This technique demands full attention by the interviewer by listening and hearing the words that come out of people’s mouths than it is by interpreting body language. My technique allows listening and hearing skills to be the majority proactive approach and body language, when applied, as the secondary discretionary contributor during interviews. For Example: people who assess and communicate with specific descriptive words about a person or thing may support the probability of that information as being factual. But on the other hand, people who communicate in ways by applying pronouns, conjunctions, and vague scenarios when responding to your questions may support the probability of those answers as deceptive.

Another unique assessment is your ability to examine and distinguish the differences in one’s characteristic traits (inner self) and reputation traits (society’s views). During interviews, people’s character is far more important to protect than one’s reputation. People’s character needs only one mistake to permanently label that person for life. A person’s reputation can be built up and shot down numerous times throughout that person’s lifetime. In private practice, we interview these people, but we do not interrogate them thus establishing a passive aggressive communication skill. For Example: Bernie Madoff established a respectable reputation (society’s view) as a successful and wealthy business man, but behind closed doors, his true characteristic traits of power and control, deception, and greed ultimately exposed his “inner self” personality which ultimately landed him in club Fed.
Private practice criminology has continued to evolve for more than two hundred years. Today, the new 21st Century Criminologist has established a multitude of combined interdisciplinary fields of expertise that contribute in reducing our society’s crime rate.

About the Author:
Ronald F. Worst – Criminologist (Security Expert & Fraud Examiner) has over 17 years of private practice specializing in safety, security, and financial fraud protection.
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Thursday, September 13, 2012


By Ronald F. Worst – Criminologist (Security Expert & Fraud Examiner) 
Generally speaking, the dictionary defines it as a form of self-regulation in which you monitor your own adherence to legal, ethical, or safety standards instead of utilizing a government entity to monitor and enforce those standards. As you read this definition, what stands out as the single most important approach in reducing our society’s crime rate? My answer would be the proactive deterrent approach. Why? Because the skills of safety and security professionals requires three disciplines: 1) people’s safety 2) security of assets, and 3) protecting people’s money, thus your safety and security skills in addition to your financial fraud prevention knowledge are the key disciplines in the fight to reduce our society’s crime rate.

Now that you have basic knowledge of the phrase "Self-Policing" let’s add another discipline to the mix to continue to create a stronger proactive deterrent approach to criminal events: Behavioral Psychology! In general, there are two basic common bonds that the traditional criminal thinks about the most: 1) criminals do not want to be seen and/or identified and 2) criminals do not want to attract people’s attention to them while they are committing their criminal behavior. Infusing behavioral psychology techniques into your self-policing standard on your premises creates a majority approach in deterring crimes thus you’re contributing in reducing our society’s crime rate.

There are two types of deterrence’s that needs to be identified to allow behavioral psychology techniques to work within your self-policing proactive approach: 1) Visible deterrences, and 2) Physical deterrences. The key is to identify and apply these two types of deterrences in ways that the potential criminal second guesses his or her criminal behavior. For example: Posted signs that utilize creative words that force the potential criminal to think…… "Attention! This area is Continuously under Video Surveillance" or "Trespass at your own Risk!" In these two examples the words, Attention and Risk, are the creative words that attract people’s attention when they read those signs. The goal is to establish a proactive approach utilizing behavioral psychology to your advantage to deter criminal behavior. Another example relating to financial fraud deterrence is to verbally announce or draft memos stating a financial fraud audit will be conducted on a certain date and time. Now you have the option of either not taking action on the audit or conducting the audit. Another way is by conducting audits without any form of an announcement. The key is to create a psychological game of cat and mouse by forcing the potential criminal to second guess their actions on committing a financial crime upon your premises.

In conclusion, learning how to think "outside the box" by creating specific types of proactive deterrent approaches to people’s safety, the security of assets, and protecting peoples money, is the key in reducing society’s crime rates. Brainstorming and creating proactive visible and physical deterrences to potential criminal behavior can provide a reasonable and realistic approach in reducing our society’s crime rates.

Authored by:

Ronald F. Worst – Criminologist (Security Expert & Fraud Examiner)

Mr. Worst provides over 17 years of private practice experience as a criminologist specializing in financial fraud and security consulting services. In addition, he is a noted speaker, educator, author, and expert witness.

**Follow Me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook Group: Ronald F. Worst – Criminologist**

**Communicate with Me on SKYPE**

Friday, May 25, 2012

White Collar Crime

 White Collar Crime by Domenick Lazzara

“On April 21, 2012, the New York Times reported that in September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an e-mail from a former executive at the company’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico, describing how Wal-Mart de Mexico had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance.  In a rush to build stores, the company had allegedly paid bribes to obtain permits across the country. Upon information, Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City. Within days, the investigators uncovered evidence of widespread bribery, including a paper trail of hundreds of suspected payments in excess of $24 million in total.  In addition, investigators found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives knew about the payments and had taken steps to conceal such payments from company headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Wal-Mart’s lead investigator summed up his findings, saying “[t]here is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated. ” He further recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation, advice not heeded by executives. It was not until the New York Times began their own examination that it was uncovered that Wal-Mart, instead of proceeding with an investigation, shut it down altogether. Worse, American and Mexican law enforcement officials were never notified and none of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s executives were disciplined. On the contrary, the person alleged to have spear-headed the bribery campaign and subsequent cover up, Eduardo Castro-Wright, was promoted to vice chairman of Wal-Mart in 2008.”  Read More

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Attorney Breakfast Club Dade Chapter April Meeting

Attorney Breakfast Club Dade Chapter Member Appellate Attorney, Elliot Kula and the Attorney Breakfast Club Vice President of Business Development, Don Wilson discuss the benefits of joining and participating in the Attorney Breakfast Club meetings  

Monday, April 30, 2012


Copyright 101” (Part 1) for Artists
(And Those Who Love Them)  

By Barry Chase, Esq., ChaseLawyers Entertainment Attorneys

This is the first of a series of posts about how the United States Copyright Act impacts your life and work as a musical, visual, literary or any other kind of artist, whether you want it to or not.

Before getting into the actual nitty-gritty of the law, we must warn you that every general principle of Copyright Law has one or more exceptions; and there are sometimes even exceptions to the exceptions.

This is the natural result of millions of cases, some of which just don’t fit neatly into fact situations which the writers of Copyright Law have been able to imagine beforehand.  So judges had to improvise. (More in a future column about the hot, though bogus, political issue of whether judges are required just to “interpret” the law or actually “make” law.) What’s important for you to realize, though, is that despite the popular culture’s fascination with the exceptions, they are very rare statistically…about as rare as anyone you know personally winning Lotto this week. So we’re going to simplify the law; otherwise this column would belong in a boring law review article.

First, a few basic points:
?    The Copyright Act is a federal law, and it generally overrules (“pre-empts” in legalese) any state or local law that governs the same category of human transactions.  So there is NO “Florida Copyright Law” or “California Copyright Law” to worry about. The Copyright Act under which we are all now living and working was enacted by Congress in 1976 and became effective on January 1, 1978.  So any creative “work” created after January 1978 is automatically covered (more on what a “work” is later in this column).
?    It is the United States Constitution that gave Congress authority to “promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” (Quaint 18th-Century capitalization is in the original; and note that among the capitalized words are “Arts,” “Authors,” and “Writings.”) The first actual Copyright Act was enacted by Congress in 1790, and we’ve had one ever since.
?    A “contract” between two willing parties, including a contract about copyright, is like a “private treaty.” You generally do not need any “official” blessing to enter into a contract with anyone else over eighteen years of age. The only time the government (in the form of a judge) gets involved is if one of the private parties thinks that the other is not living up to the promises that he/she made.
?    As much as the mere word “contract” may put you to sleep from boredom, the fact is that, without the enforcement of contracts, no civilized commercial culture could long endure, because we couldn’t do business with one another confidently without the threat of a judge’s coercive power (i.e., you could go to jail for contempt if you’re ordered to comply and ignore the judge’s order).
?    Contrary to popular opinion, a contract does NOT necessarily need to be written in order to be valid – but, if it is about Copyright, then most often it MUST BE IN WRITING TO BE ENFORCEABLE.

Now, on to some of what we usually tell clients at ChaseLawyers in our “Initial Consultation” (currently $350 for them, free to you):

First, the copyright in a “work” belongs to the creator of that work; and it does so instantaneously upon (a) the creation of that work and (b) its being “fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed.”  One major exception: If an artist is working “full-time” for another person or company, then anything that the artist creates that is “within the scope” of his/her employment responsibilities belongs not to the artist but to the “full-time” employer. What, you reasonably ask, does “full-time” mean in this context? Well, if taxes are being withheld and FICA (a social security contribution) is being paid by the employer, then you are most likely a full-time employee for copyright purposes.

So what is a “work?” There is a list of categories in the Copyright Act, which includes (1) “literary works,” (2) “musical works, including any accompanying words,” (3) “dramatic works,” (4) “pantomimes and choreographic works,” (5) “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works,” (6) “motion pictures and other audiovisual works,” (7) “sound recordings” and (8) “architectural works.”

What does “fixed in any tangible medium of expression” mean?  Well, what we always say to clients is that if you’re just singing your great new song in the shower, you haven’t created any new intellectual property yet.  It becomes your “property” only after you write it down or record it on tape so that someone else can “perceive” it.

Second, the copyright is created the moment the “work” is created and “fixed.”  There is no requirement that you file anything with the government for you to own this copyright, although there are a LOT of legal advantages to doing do as soon as possible, and it generally costs only $35 to register the work online at  A non-registered copyright is known as a “common-law” copyright, meaning that it is protected by thousands of judge-made decisions during the last 800 years or so of Anglo-American jurisprudence.

Third, and maybe most important to a lot of artists who have lost control – or think they have lost control -- of their creations: ALL TRANSFERS OF OWNERSHIP (including “exclusive” licenses) MUST BE IN WRITING. This rule in Section 204 of the Copyright Act is very strictly enforced by the courts. If you are being told that you “sold” or “released” the ownership rights in your work, but you never actually signed a paper saying so, then you almost surely have not transferred the work and you still own it – even if the would-be new owner has paid you a million, jillion dollars.  For the business person dealing in copyrighted material (the word, by the way, is “copyrighted,” never “copywritten,” because it is the “right” to copy that we are talking about), this principle is crucial.  If such a business person thinks that he or she owns the rights in a work just because he or she has paid for it, he’s mistaken. He/she must obtain a “work-for-hire” agreement or some other written document signed by the creator/owner. Otherwise, there has been no legal transfer of the work.

More later….

Saturday, February 11, 2012


After prosecuting DUI’s in Dade County, back in 1987, for the State Attorney’s Office, I have been defending them for over 20 years now. Historically the State Attorneys office has wanted to get “drunk drivers” off the streets and show a high conviction rate …that meant vigorous prosecution with little mercy for first time offenders!

Suddenly, within the last 4 or so months, the  Dade County.State Attorney’s Office has taken an about face. Now, first time offenders of misdemeanor DUI's, where there is no accident and no children involved, are eligible for a program that will result in no DUI conviction..

HOWEVER, the CAVEAT is that people who may have a very legitimate defense that could result in the total dismissal of their charges, may forgo hiring a lawyer and just take the program. The program still leaves people with a reckless driving conviction, DUI school, and loads of fines and costs that amount to thousands of dollars!

Every person charged with DUI should sit down with an experienced DUI attorney and evaluate their case before making any decisions… for a free consultation, please feel free to call me. Scott Kotler, Office :305-461-3627. or go to my web site….