Attorney Justin C. Leto reaches settlement with Broward County for $300,000

Watch NBC 6 investigative report featuring Justin C. Leto

Justin C. Leto of Leto | Bassuk has been featured in an NBC 6 investigative report about the problems in the Broward County paratransit system.  The investigation stems from an incident involving Leto | Bassuk client, Miguel Colareta.  Miguel was a disabled resident of Broward County in 2012 and utilized the TOPS paratransit program to get to and from work.  On April 16, 2012 he was backing his electric wheelchair out of a van owned and operated by private contractor Allied Medical Transport when the van’s wheelchair lift failed, causing Miguel to fall to the ground.  The fall caused a break in his spine and a bleed in his brain.  The end result was that this man that had worked so hard to overcome his disabilities was left a quadriplegic, relegated to a nursing home and in need of 24 hour care.

Leto | Bassuk (known at the time as The Leto Law Firm) filed a lawsuit against Allied Medical Transport and the manufacturer of the lift.  After resolving the matter with the lift manufacturer, the case proceeded against Allied Medical Transport.  A judgment was eventually entered against Allied Medical Transport for $10 million, which you can read about here.

Next, a lawsuit was filed against Broward County alleging a complete mismanagement of the paratransit system.  Recently, Broward County agreed to settle the case for the maximum allowable under statutory caps, $300,000.

Tony Pipitone of NBC 6 has been following this story and other stories involving the problems surrounding the paratransit programs in both Miami-Dade and Broward County, and following this settlement with Broward County, NBC 6 interviewed Aida Colareta and Justin Leto about the case, the result, and what it will mean for the Colareta family.

Leto | Bassuk proudly represents victims in catastrophic injury cases, traumatic brain injury cases, and wrongful death cases.  Whether the injury or wrongful death is caused by medical malpractice, trucking negligence, auto negligence, construction defect, or product defect, Leto | Bassuk has the experience necessary to pursue the case with success.

Featured on NBC 6–$10 million judgment for man injured in Broward County paratransit vehicle

Justin C. Leto recently obtained a $10 million judgment for a man who was catastrophically injured when he fell from the wheelchair lift affixed to a Broward County TOPS van, which was owned and operated by Allied Medical Transport, Inc.  NBC interviewed the victim, his family and Justin C. Leto regarding the ordeal and the long path to justice.  You can read the article and watch the video here.


Miguel Colareta suffered from a chronic condition which rendered him unable to walk.  Despite his disability, he raised three daughters with his wife, Aida, and continued to go to work every day at Goodwill Industries in Ft. Lauderdale.  Since he could not drive or take the county bus, Miguel used the paratransit system provided by Broward County.  A van equipped with a wheelchair lift would pick him up from home each morning, drive him to work, and pick him up to take him home when the work day was over.


On April 15, 2012, Miguel arrived at work on one of the paratransit vans.  While he was backing his wheelchair up onto the wheelchair lift, the lift failed and Miguel fell to the ground.  The result was a severe brain and spinal cord injury which rendered him a quadriplegic.  A man who battled disability with success his entire life was now relegated to a nursing home, unable to move his hands or even lift his head.


Our firm investigated the case and found out that Allied Medical Transport had performed absolutely no preventative maintenance on the wheelchair lifts, despite the manufacturer requiring routine and specific maintenance.  Shockingly, the wheelchair lift that failed and caused Miguel’s fall had been open and closed nearly 9,000 times without any preventative maintenance.  The manufacturer required preventative maintenance every 750 times the lift was used.  This gross negligence was not isolated to the one van but appeared to be the norm for the entire operation.  Some vans had lifts which had received no maintenance after 15,000 cycles.


To make matters worse, the wheelchair lift that caused Miguel’s fall was the subject of a recall only one month prior to the incident and even though Allied Medical Transport knew of the recall, the vans were permitted to continue operating throughout Broward County.


After many months of litigation, our firm secured a $10 million judgment against Allied Medical Transport and is now suing Allied Medical Transport’s insurance company, Sparta Insurance, alleging that Sparta acted in bad faith when it failed to settle the case for it’s insurance policy limits when it should have done so.



Justin C. Leto featured in NBC6 report on Redland Police Shooting

In February 2013, we published our first blog posting about the killing of Antonio Andrew by Miami-Dade police in a botched police SWAT operation. You can read that blog posting here. A second blog posting was added after the Daily Business Review investigated the shooting death of Antonio Andrew by police. You can read that blog posting here.


Our firm settled the cases involving these police shootings for $600,000 after filing suit in federal court. Since that time, NBC6 investigative journalist Tony Pipitone has done a series of stories about this shooting and the need for police to wear cameras on their uniforms for their protection and for the protection of the public.  See links here, and here


As part of a story run on NBC6 in January 2015, Justin C. Leto was interviewed about the shooting deaths of Antonio Andrew, Jorge Lemus and Roger Gonzalez, Sr. A link to that story is here.


Other news outlets have also covered this story including The Miami Herald (link to story here), The Miami New Times (link to story here), and CBS (link to story here).


At Leto | Bassuk, we represent victims of wrongful death, civil rights violations, medical malpractice, nursing home malpractice, product liability, auto accident, and other types of personal injury.

The Leto Law Firm files suit against Florida Hospital Orlando

The Leto Law Firm Files Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against Florida Hospital Orlando.


A central Florida resident passed away at Florida Hospital Orlando on March 8, 2013. His wife hired The Leto Law Firm to investigate the case to see if medical malpractice caused the man’s death. After conducting an investigation and hiring medical experts, The Leto Law Firm determined that the death was the result of medical malpractice and filed suit against Florida Hospital Orlando.


The lawsuit alleges the following set of facts:


The man went to Florida Hospital Orlando for a cardiac catheterization.  The result of the cardiac catheterization revealed that a bypass was necessary.  His heart surgery was more complicated than the average bypass procedure because he had a history of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.  This is, in essence, an allergy to heparin, which is the most commonly used anti-coagulant (blood thinner) for bypass patients.  The doctors knew that he had a history of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia so he was prescribed a special drug to counteract any allergic reactions he may have had as a result of the use of heparin during the bypass.  This drug (methylprednisone a/k/a Solumedrol), prescribed by the surgeon, was supposed to be given every 8 hours beginning the day before the surgery.  The medication was given by the nursing staff at 4pm and midnight the day prior to surgery, but the dose that was set to be given at 8am on the morning of the surgery was not given by the nursing staff.  Instead, the nurse responsible for following the doctor’s orders neglected to give the required medication.  Furthermore, the nurse failed to inform the surgeon that the medication was not given.  As a result, he went to surgery and received a large dose of heparin without the prescribed dose of medication specifically prescribed to counter the potentially harmful effects of heparin.


The surgery was a success but shortly after return to the recovery room, a rash formed all throughout his body.  He was covered in welts and his blood pressure dropped dramatically.  A code blue was called and he was rushed back to emergency surgery. Sadly, the doctors were unable to revive him and he died in the operating room.


A medical malpractice lawsuit claiming that the hospital and it’s nurses failed to provide proper care and treatment has been filed.
The Leto Law Firm represents victims of Florida medical malpractice, wrongful death, and all other personal injury matters throughout the State of Florida.  The firm is honored to be able to represent this family in this sad and tragic case.  Medical errors are all too common in this country and we fight for the victims of those medical errors.


To see a prior media appearance by Justin Leto on issues related to medical malpractice experts testifying at trial, take a look at this link from Headline News.

Florida Medical Malpractice Consent Rule Preempted By Federal Law, Says Judge

Medical malpractice law in Florida reached a significant turning point last week when a federal judge struck down a key part of a state law that required a patient to allow a defending physician’s attorney to informally discuss the case with the patient’s other health care providers – even in the absence of patient or their legal representative.

According to U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, who presided over the case, the state law violates the patient consent provisions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The law would have required a patient seeking to pursue a medical malpractice claim to submit a broad medical authorization allowing the defendant doctor and their lawyers to access the patient’s medical records and discuss the patient’s medical history without the presence of the patient or their attorney.

But Judge Hinkle found that those limitations are so broad that they don’t ensure the privacy of the patient’s medical condition, especially with no one being there to enforce the limitation. This conflicted with two HIPPA provisions that deal with patient consent and patient privacy rights, with the law found to be mandating patients to accept this arrangement rather than freely agreeing to it.

However, his ruling did preserve another important part of the law, which required an expert medical witness testifying against a physician to be engaged in the same specialty as the defendant doctor. Previously the expert witness could be in the same or similar specialty as the defendant, with the courts having broad authority to decide the criteria.

You can read The Leto Law Firm’s previous discussions about this law and how it came to be enacted in our blogs from August 13, 2013, entitled “Florida Attorneys Challenging Medical Malpractice Law” and our blog from January 21, 2013 entitled “Florida Supreme Court protects doctor-patient confidentiality”.

It remains to be seen whether this law will be appealed or whether Florida lawmakers will find a way to work around it. Regardless, Justin Leto and his team remain on top of all the latest legal developments to ensure you’ll receive only the most effective assistance. If you’re looking for only the most professional Miami Personal Injury Lawyer or medical malpractice expert, call 305-577-8448.

Obamacare’s Impact on Medical Malpractice

Although Obamacare, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act, will be phased-in gradually after January 2014, there’s already much preparation being made for how it will alter the healthcare landscape – especially with regards to medical malpractice law.

Doctors, insurance providers, and legal experts all over the country have already made some predictions about what to expect in this regard, albeit with differing conclusions.

Many believe that medical malpractice claims will increase due to the influx of newly insured people. As tens of millions Americans seek medical care they couldn’t previously afford, the rate of medical mistakes – and subsequent malpractice claims – will likely increase proportionately. Even if it didn’t, the sheer number of patients may raise the occurrence of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Others feel that the number of malpractice claims will remain unchanged, because there won’t be an increase in patients after all. Whereas many uninsured people now utilize hospital emergency rooms for primary care, they will now shift to private practitioners. This shift may not have any impact at all on claims, but may impact who the claims will impact.

A third possibility is that medical malpractice claims will actually decrease because Obamacare not only provides health insurance to the uninsured, but eliminates the co-pays and deductibles for essential healthcare benefits. As a result, people will be receiving more preventative care, will be less likely to develop long-term problems, and will make it easier for health care providers to address medical conditions before they become serious.

Of course, since the act is still being implemented – and there’s no telling if or how it will change along the way – we can’t be sure which outcome will result. Whatever the circumstances, one thing is for sure: the Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyers of the Leto Law Firm will be here to help. Justin Leto has consistently been recognized as one of South Florida’s most effective attorneys, so you can rest assured that his professional and experienced team will be prepared to handle your case effectively.

Ohio transplant case shows the limits placed on medical malpractice recovery



University of Toledo Medical Center, a hospital situated in Toledo, Ohio, is denying a family’s allegations of medical negligence after a hospital nurse accidentally threw out a viable kidney donated to a Toledo woman by her younger brother in August 2012. The botched kidney transplant was originally scheduled for August 10, 2012, before the temperature-controlled slush containing the kidney was mistakenly tossed out. The hospital found another kidney for Sarah Fudacz and paid for her transportation to Colorado to receive surgery November 13, 2012. However, Sarah Fudacz, and her family-consisting of eight members- are suing the hospital for additional damages of about $25,000 each, citing medical negligence and loss of consortium.


A complaint by the siblings and their family alleged the facility was negligent , causing physical and emotional suffering for the patients and emotional distress for the parents. “Sarah seeks damages she has suffered and will continue to suffer due to the loss of Paul Jr.’s [her brother], perfect kidney. Paul Jr. seeks damages he has suffered and will continue to suffer for having to undergo a painful and risky surgery, and for having to live the rest of his life with one kidney, all in vain,” the suit reads. The hospital, in documents filed Tuesday, sought dismissal of the case, specifically requesting to dismiss the counts involving the relatives’ alleged losses. It argued that Ohio law “doesn’t provide for parents and siblings of an affected adult to recover damages for such losses.” There is no word on how much the family has been compensated thus far.


One of the main issues raised by this sad case is the issue of who is permitted to recover for a loss when someone is the victim of medical malpractice. In Florida, the laws are tailored to limit the recovery of family members affected by a loved one’s medical malpractice injuries. This is especially true when medical malpractice leads to wrongful death. Whereas in a car accident, if the victim is an unmarried adult at the time of death, the victim’s lineal descendants can pursue a claim. This means that the parents of an unmarried adult with no children can pursue the claim for that victim’s wrongful death. However, when someone is the victim of medical malpractice and dies as a result, the only people that can recover for that wrongful death are (a) the person’s spouse or (b) the person’s children under the age of 25 years old. If the victim of medical malpractice is over 25 years of age, is unmarried and has no children under the age of 25, no one can seek to pursue a claim for that victim’s wrongful death.


While the case in Ohio does not involve death, it still speaks to the limitations that many states place on medical malpractice claims. This is an effort by most state legislatures to limit the medical malpractice claims filed against hospitals and doctors. The excuse for these unfair and likely unconstitutional laws is that there is a healthcare crisis and the only way to stop it is to end medical malpractice claims. Unfortunately, many of the people that attempt to bring claims for the losses of their loved ones and find out the laws prevent their claims voted for the very laws that now restrict their access to the courts.


The Leto Law Firm, founded by Justin Leto, specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, commercial litigation, traumatic brain injury cases, appeals and auto accidents. Visit our website at to learn about the our vast list of practice areas, access legal resources, and see the results of prior court cases undertaken by the firm. For more information on Personal Injury Miami, send an email to

Jonathan M. Hixon of The Leto Law Firm Associate Admitted to Practice in Southern and Middle District of Florida

The Leto Law Firm is proud to congratulate associate, Jonathan M. Hixon, who has recently been admitted to practice in the Southern District of Florida and Middle District of Florida federal courts. Mr. Hixon’s admission to these two federal courts allow for him to expand his practice to more complex federal matter in addition to his State Court work. Since being admitted to the Southern and Middle District, Mr. Hixon has worked on federal cases involving Civil RICO, federal maritime, judicial review of federal agency determinations, federal credit union foreclosure, insurance coverage disputes, and diversity actions.

Jonathan M. Hixon has been with our firm since August 2012, and specializes in commercial litigation, personal injury, wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, product liability, medical malpractice, maritime litigation, insurance coverage disputes, and appellate advocacy. Mr. Hixon first started with The Leto Law Firm as a law clerk during his final year of law school. He received his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law, where he achieved “Honors” in the Litigation Skills Program and taught classes on law and government to students at Miami Senior High School as the Hunton & Williams Fellow for the Miami Street Law Program. Mr. Hixon also boasts experience clerking for notable criminal defense and appellate firm Hirschhorn & Bieber, P.A. and the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office. Born in Boston, Massachussetts, Mr. Hixon moved to Washington, D.C. to attend The George Washington University and received his bachelor’s degree in 2008.

Visit our website at to learn about the our vast list of practice areas, access legal resources, and see the results of prior court cases undertaken by the firm. Get in contact with Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Justin Leto by calling 305-577-8448, or send an email to

Justin Leto Named to Florida’s Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine for Fifth Consecutive Year

We are proud to announce that The Leto Law Firm’s managing partner, Justin C. Leto, has been named to Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite for 2013. This is the fifth consecutive year that Justin has been named to this prestigious list of Florida’s top attorneys. Each year, Florida Trend sends a survey to lawyers throughout the State and lawyers are asked to name top practitioners throughout the State of Florida. The list is comprised of 175 attorneys under the age of 40 who are considered top of their field.

The Leto Law Firm was founded by Justin C. Leto, who remains the president and managing partner. Justin Leto, a cum laude graduate of the University Of Miami School Of Law, is a Personal Injury Lawyer in Miami who handles many areas of practice, including wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, medical malpractice, commercial litigation and appellate advocacy. The firm also handles products liability cases on behalf of individuals and families, and represents business owners in major business disputes that require a trial lawyer.

Mr. Leto has an active legal career, as a member of the Florida Justice Association, American Bar Association, Florida Bar Association, the National Trial Lawyers Association and the Miami-Dade County Bar Association, where he served on the Board of Directors for the Young Lawyers Section. Additionally, Justin Leto has received numerous awards and recognitions by Superlawyers Magazine, South Florida Legal Guide, and Florida Legal Elite. Mr. Leto is also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an invite-only group that comprises lawyers who achieved results for their clients in excess of $1 million.

Visit our website at to learn about the our vast list of practice areas, view the website’s blog for updates and relevant news, access legal resources, and see the results of prior cases handled by the firm. Get in contact with us by calling 305-577-8448, or send an email to

The media’s perversion of our justice system–all in the name of ratings


posted by Justin C. Leto


At what point does the media’s coverage of our courtrooms become so fanatical and outrageous that is endangers our entire system of justice?  The answer is now, today, as we speak.


The recent trials of Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias and George Zimmerman have turned our news outlets into something that even the daytime soap opera writers would scoff at.  Instead of covering the trials and providing us, the viewers, with sound legal analysis and perspective, the media and its so-called legal experts have lowered itself and themselves and become an outlet to create juror bias and witness intimidation.  Never has this been more apparent than the George Zimmerman trial and its aftermath.


Realize, I am not offering any comment or opinion on the outcome of the trial.  That is for each person to analyze personally and that is not the reason for this blog.  Instead, my commentary and concern is the way in which the media has invaded the personal lives of unwilling trial particpants in order to turn a profit.


Case in point, number one, is the treatment of Rachel Jeantel.  As a lawyer, I just assumed that everyone watching this trial, including the media and its lawyer talking heads, would understand that Rachel Jenteal was not in that courtroom because she wanted to be there.  Instead, she was forced to be there as the State of Florida’s star witness against George Zimmerman.  As a matter of bad luck, Ms. Jeantel happened to be talking to her friend, Trayvon, when he was shot and killed.  And as a result of being the last person to talk to her friend before he died, she was thrust into the spotlight without any way to protect herself from the vultures that were coming to peck away at her character and attempt to destroy her life.


This girl is a teenager.  She is, for all intents and purposes, a kid.  Yet, the media has taken every opportunity to label her as stupid, unpolished, uneducated, and homophobic.  For example, a recent headline of Drudge Report reads “JEANTEL WARNED ZIMMERMAN COULD BE GAY RAPIST–TRAYVON: NOT THAT KIND OF WAY ”  The article goes on to insinuate that this teenage girl is some type of homophobe that believes that strange men are out to rape children.  First of all, that is not what she said.  And second of all, why is Matt Drudge so insistent on tearing this girl to shreds?  What do he, and others that have railed on her, have to gain from trying to destroy this girl’s life?  Is it for ratings?  Is it because Matt Drudge and Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are so aligned with the plight of Geroge Zimmerman that they feel the need to take this otherwise private citizen and excoriate her in the national headlines?  Whatever the reason, I see no justification for it.  In fact, my fear, as a lawyer, is that actions like this by the media will act to infiltrate the very core of our justice system and encourage important witnesses to stay quiet.  Why would anyone that has important information in a legal case come forward if they know there is a chance they could be torn down in such an evil and hate-filled way?  Even Piers Morgan, who I expected to be a bit more sensitive to Rachel Jenteal, asked her in front of a live studio audience how she felt about being called uneducated and stupid.  Rachel looked like she was holding back tears when that was asked and I found it despicable.  For the treatment of Rachel Jenteal, shame on the media.


Next, there is Don West’s daughter, another teenager that is being unnecesarily assaulted in the media.  Why?  Because she posted a picture of her and her Dad (George Zimmerman’s lawyer) having ice cream after a day of trial  (for those of you unfamiliar, Don West is George Zimmerman’s lawyer that looks a bit like Walter White from Breaking Bad; compare here and here).  And because she was proud of her Dad, she wrote that her Dad was “killing it” in trial under her caption.  Sure, that is not the best choice of words during a murder trial, but she is not part of the trial.  That was her personal facebook or instagram account and the media has no right to invade the privacy of a lawyer’s family (especially their children) just because that lawyer has the courage to defend someone in an incredibly public trial.  This is another kid that the media saw fit to excoriate all in the name of upping their ratings.  Just as the treatment of Rachel Jeantel may discourage other important witnesses from coming forward in the future, the treatment of Don West’s daughter may make a lawyer in a future high profile case to think twice before representing a client due to fear of how the media will attack that lawyer’s family.  For the treatment of Don West’s CHILD, shame on the media.


And lastly, there are the media talking heads that are lawyers by day and television personalities by night.  At one point, I made appearances on Fox News and HLN and CNN.  However, my publicist starting telling me that the networks wanted me to take a position that was contrary to my belief system.  There were times when I was told I could only appear on TV if I would advocate for a position that I did not truly believe in.  I never bowed to that pressure from the producers and, as a result, I stopped making television appearances.  Now, I watch these folks on TV and it just infuriates me.  They do not even try and hide their bias for one side of the case.  It is as if the TV camera in their face has hyponotized them and made them lose touch with the realities that exist in our great system of justice.  And I am talking about the guests, not the hosts.  When you listen to the hosts, the level of disgust just goes up higher.  Between Vinnie Politan, Jane Velez Mitchell, Sonny Hostings and Nancy Grace, you have the very worst kind of legal soap opera.  Each of them is so much more interested in outdoing the other in high dramatics that they have completely forgotten about the fairness of a trial, innocent until proven guilty, and the rights of the accused.  And their behavior has gotten so out of hand that I worry they are infecting our future jurors.  People who watch these folks and listen to their mantras may actually believe that what they are saying has validity when, in truth, there is virtually nothing valid that comes out of their mouths.  They do a great disservice to our system of justice by making unbridled attempts to influence our juries and intimidate our witnesses.  Throughout the entire Casey Anthony trial (where the jury was not sequestered) it was as if these hosts were just praying that some jurors would violate their oath and listen to HLN so Vinnie, Jane, Sonny and Nancy could act as a side-show prosecution and influence a guilty verdict.


Overall, this blog (which has digressed into a rant) is from a lawyer that truly respects this profession.  I do not practice in the criminal arena but I think the actions of the media reach far outside just the criminal justice system.  They affect the way every day people view a trial and a courtroom and a judge and a lawyer.  Their actions will have a profound effect on our system of justice and, at this point, the only way to stop it is to stop watching.  I admit, I tune in.  But I must stop because the only way to prevent the continuing perversion of our justice system is to just turn these talking heads off.