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 LetoLaw.com 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 info@letolaw.com.

Florida Attorneys Challenging Medical Malpractice Law

In late 2012, the Florida Supreme Court issued its ruling in Hasan v. Garvin.  You can read our blog on that decision here (http://letolaw.wpengine.com/blog/miami-medical-malpractice-lawyer-florida-supreme-court-doctor-patient-confidentialit/).  In its decision, the Florida Supreme Court took steps to protect patients from intrusive efforts by defense lawyers and insurance companies to investigate private medical information of a patient that decides to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.


In response, the Florida Legislature passed a new law during the recent legislative session which, in essence, reverses the Florida Supreme Court and provides defendants access to private and confidential health information of victims of medical malpractice.  Even further, defense lawyers and insurance companies can now speak directly to the victim’s doctors, a practice that is seemingly in violation of federal privacy laws.


These laws went into effect on July 1, 2013 but lawyers for medical malpractice victims are seeking injunctions from the state and federal courts, arguing that these laws directly violate HIPAA and other healthcare privacy laws.  Separate from the fact that the law is in direct violation of HIPAA, these laws will serve to discourage people from pursuing a medical malpractice claim for fear of having their privacy violated.


These laws, as well many other complex and complicated laws that are specific only to medical malpractice claims require considerable legal knowledge and experience. At the Leto Law Firm, our Miami Medical Malpractice Lawyers have many years of experience handling the most complex medical malpractice cases. To set up a consultation regarding a medical malpractice claim,  please call us at (305) 577-8448 or email info@letolaw.com.

Drug Errors and Missed Diagnoses Making Up Most Primary Care Malpractice Claims


Most people believe that the leading cases of medical malpractice are brought from injuries caused in a hospital environment or from the treatment of a doctor. While medical malpractice committed by hospital based doctors, surgeons and hospitals is a serious area of concern in the legal and medical communities, a considerable percentage of claims every year are from missed diagnoses and prescription drug errors that lead to serious and oftentimes catastrophic injuries. These cases are usually the result of negligence of a primary care or family doctor in their own private practices. Today, primary care physicians are being named as defendants in malpractice suits at an accelerating rate, and the trend is prominent not just in the U.S, but also in the U.K. and Australia.


Published data in BMJ Open, an online forum dedicated to publishing medical research, indicates that the majority of malpractice claims brought against doctors are from missed diagnoses- particularly of cancer, heart attack, and meningitis- as well as drug errors. In the United States, studies indicate that malpractice claims brought against primary care doctors accounted for between 7.6% and 16%, the majority of which were on account of missed diagnoses. In the UK, the suits are increasing at the fastest rate, while in Australia, the claims against general practitioners accounts for the both the highest number and highest rate of increase. The most common result of these medical errors was the patient’s death and most of the deaths reported from these missed diagnosis were preventable if the proper care was instituted. Similarly, the second most-common sources of malpractice claims were drug errors, the proportion of which ranged 5.6% to 20% across all studies.


Despite the number of malpractice cases brought against primary care physicians, a substantial proportion of claims were unsuccessful, with only a third of U.S. claims ending up in a pay-out to the victim, either through verdict or settlement. At the Leto Law Firm, we specialize in Medical Malpractice-among other areas- and have extensive experience handling such cases for victims and their families. To contact one of our expert Miami medical malpractice lawyers, call 305-577-8448, or visit LetoLaw.com.

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.

Miami-Dade County police shooting case profiled by the Daily Business Review

Posted by Justin C. Leto


Back in February, I wrote a blog discussing the case of Antonio Andrew’s death at the hands of the Miami-Dade County Special Response Team and Street Terror Offender Program.  You can read that blog posting here.


In today’s Daily Business Review, journalist John Pacenti wrote an article detailing the same case as well as a recently filed case on behalf of another man killed in the same raid, Jorge Lemus.  The Daily Business Review article can be read by clicking here.  The Lemus case, like the Andrew case, was filed by The Leto Law Firm and Dean-Kluger Sibley Law


The case involves the shooting deaths of 4 men during a raid set up and instituted by the Miami-Dade County Police Department.  Prior to the raid, the police were able to infiltrate a group of men that were robbing drug dealers in Miami-Dade County.  The police “turned” one of the men into an informant and utilized that informant to set up a raid that should have been designed to apprehend and arrest the men.  The police told the informant to send the men to a house in South Miami’s Redlands area and to inform the group that there were drugs and potentially armed drug dealers at the house.  Expecting a confrontation, the men went armed to the house.  When they arrived, the police rushed the area in unmarked cars and proceeded to jump out of the unmarked cars in pursuit of the men.  The police were not dressed in police uniforms and did not announce themselves as police.  Instead, the officers proceeded to shoot and kill all 4 men, including the informant.  We have filed suit on behalf of two families of the men, claiming that their constitutional rights were violated by a “shoot first and ask questions later” approach to the raid.


The Leto Law Firm is a civil trial law firm that specializes in Miami catastrophic injuries, Florida traumatic brain injury, Miami wrongful death cases, and civil rights violations.


Tragedy at Shuckers in Miami–Who’s at fault?

Shuckers Waterfront Grill has been a popular bar and grill in North Bay Village for years.  On Thursday night, during the first quarter of the Miami Heat finals game against the San Antonio Spurs, something went terribly wrong and the entire back porch of the Shutters’ restaurant came crashing into Biscayne Bay.  As many as 100 people were injured with several of the patrons suffering serious injuries.


Questions will most certainly arise following this tragedy as to who and what is responsible for the collapse of the deck.  The reports from the scene describe a restaurant that was so crowded that people who could not find a seat inside the packed bar and restaurant had to go outside to the deck to watch the game.  Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida have codes that limit the amount of people that can be inside an establishment such as Shuckers.  Further, the State and County have maintain building codes which govern the construction and maintenance of decks such as the one at Shuckers.  While there are no reports at this time as to what the official maximum capacity of the back patio is or what the condition was of the deck at the time of the collapse, certainly an investigation will be conducted to figure out what went wrong and whether the restaurant is to blame for this tragedy.


For more information on the Shuckers tragedy, you can click here, here, and here.


The Leto Law Firm represents victims of premises liability, medical malpractice, and other catastrophic injuries.

Justin C. Leto’s weekly appearance on America Now with Andy Dean




Click here to listen to Justin C. Leto on America Now with Andy Dean


Written by Justin C. Leto


Each week, I appear on syndicated radio talk show America Now with Andy Dean.  Andy and I discuss and debate a wide array of legal and political topics.


This week, our focus was on the landmark Supreme Court decision regarding the collection of DNA from anyone that is arrested for any type of crime, whether it be misdemeanor, felony, petty or violent.  The case centered around a Maryland law that allows police to take a DNA swab from the cheek of anyone that is arrested for a “serious” crime.  “Serious” is typically defined as a violent felony.


The United States Supreme Court was asked to decide whether this Maryland law was a violation of the 4th Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure since the DNA swabbing is performed when someone is arrested rather than upon conviction.  In an unusual divide, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of the law being constitutional.  It was an unusual decision because typically the conservative justice (Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Thomas) align together while the more liberal justices (Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsberg, and Breyer) vote together.  Justice Kennedy is usually the “swing vote.”  In this case, Justice Kennedy remained in his role as swing vote but he was joined by Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Breyer. On the dissenting side was Sotomayor, Ginsberg, Breyer and Scalia.


Justice Scalia argued, in his dissenting opinion, that the use of DNA swabs on all citizens that are arrested is an expansion of the police power that was not envisioned by the framers of the United States Constitution.  I agreed with Justice Scalia in my debate with Andy Dean, arguing that allowing such an intrusion into the lives of our citizens is no different than tying someone down on a gurney and forcing them to give you a blood sample.  By allowing this invasive police practice when someone is simply arrested will allow the police and the government as whole to utilize an arrest, even an improper and unlawful arrest, as an excuse to gather DNA evidence.  This is a dangerous and unnerving expansion of the power of our law enforcement.


Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, likened the DNA swab to that of fingerprinting an arrested individual.  He and the rest of the majority determined that DNA is the modern day fingerprint and there is nothing so intrusive about taking DNA that allows the protection of the 4th Amendment to override the need to gather information about an arrestee.  Andy agreed with Justice Kennedy and the rest of the majority, citing the age old fallacy that those that have not done anything wrong should have nothing to be concerned about.  This argument misses the entire point.  Just as we do not want the police entering our home without a warrant (whether we have done something wrong or not), we likewise do not and should not want police entering our bodies to gather evidence without a warrant.


With this decision by the Supreme Court, we have entered a new dawn in the power of police.  Maryland wanted to sample DNA from people arrested for “serious crimes.”  However, the decision by the Supreme Court does not limit the practice to serious crimes.  Instead, as it is written, we can expect the states to now take DNA samples from every single person they arrest, whether it be for a criminal traffic infraction or a violent crime.


The Leto Law Firm specializes in civil litigation, representing victims of medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, traumatic brain injury, and auto relates injuries.  We also specialize in appellate work in the state and federal courts as well as commercial litigation.

The Florida Supreme Court decision on NICA and how it may affect the anticipated ruling on medical malpractice caps


Written by Justin C. Leto


Medical Malpratice lawyers, hospitals, doctors and insurers are eagerly awaiting the Florida Supreme Court decision in the case of McCall v. United States.  In that case, the Court has been asked to decide whether Florida’s caps on pain and suffering damages are unconstitutional.  Presently, Florida Statute section 768.118 sets forth the maximum amount of money an injured plaintiff and their family may receive for pain and suffering following a medical malpractice incident.  In McCall, the Court has been asked to review the statute to determine whether it is constitutional or whether Florida’s caps on damages should be eliminated.


The Court has not yet issued its opinion, but a recent opinion from the Court may signify how the Court will ultimately decide the issue.  The case is Samples v. Florida Birth Related Neurological Injury Compensation AssociationAs a brief background, Florida has established a system to compensate children who suffer neurological injuries during the birthing process.  If a child suffers a brain injury or other neurological injury during birth, the child and their family cannot sue the doctor or hospital.  Instead, the family is limited to recovery under the Neurological Injury Compensation Association, known as NICA.  NICA is a state run association that provides compensation to victims of birth related injuries regardless of whether the doctor or hospital is at fault for the injuries.  In establishing NICA, the Florida Legislature decided that it was best to provide a no-fault system of compensation for injured babies instead of allowing the children and their families to utilize the civil justice system to seek compensation.


Under NICA, the child is provided money over time for care and treatment of the birth relates injury.  Further, NICA provides the parents with $100,000 as a maximum compensation for their pain and suffering.  The statute provides that the award of $100,000 is a maximum, regardless of whether there is one or two parents.


In the Samples v NICA case, the parents of a brain injured child challenged the constitutionality of the statute because it provides unfair and unequal compensation to families with two parents versus families with only one parent.  Under the sensible analysis set forth by the Samples, if there is a one-parent home, that one parent recieves $100,000 for their pain and suffering.  However, if there are two parents, and the parents are divorced, each parent is limited to $50,000 (or whatever apportionment the Administrative Law Judge deems appropriate).  This, in the Samples view, is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.


In analyzing this case, the Florida Supreme Court reviewed the reasoning of the 5th District Court of Appeals in holding that the statute was constitutional.  The Florida Supreme Court identified all of the reasons why the 5th District found the NICA statute constitutional, as follows:


“The Fifth District then denied each of the Samples’ constitutional claims, holding that the parental award provision: (1) does not cause disparate treatment among similarly situated persons and—even assuming discrimination did exist—is rationally related to the State’s legitimate interest in maintaining the actuarial soundness of the Plan, id. at 25-26; (2) “is sufficiently clear in its intent to provide no-fault economic compensation to parents” and thus allows for an award to be split—if at all—”based on articulable economic reasons supported by detailed factual findings,” id. at 28; and (3) “provides both a reasonable alternative remedy and a commensurate benefit” to the Samples’ right of access to courts and is the only method of meeting the overpowering public necessity of ending the medical malpractice crisis.”


Ultimately, after a lengthy analysis, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the 5th District and held that the monetary limitation for parental pain and suffering is constitutional.  But, it is the reasoning behind this holding that may give us a preview of how the medical malpractice caps on damages will be decided in the McCall case.


In Samples, the Court was certain to distinguish the NICA cases from other types of medical malpractice cases because of two factors: (1) NICA is a state run compensation association that relies on acturial soundness in order to successfully compensate children injured at birth, and (2) NICA is a no fault system, meaning there is never a determination that malpractice has occurred.  Instead, if you are injured at birth and qualify under all other NICA factors, NICA applies regardless of fault.


The key issue for the Court to decide was whether the limitations in NICA were rationally related to a state interest.  In the past, whenever the Courts have held that a malpractice limitation on damages was constitutional, the “rational basis” has been the existence of a “medical malpractice crisis” which needed to be fixed.  Although the studies all conclude that there is no “malpractice crisis” in Florida, this remains the key basis cited by Florida courts in holding that caps on damages are rationally related to a state interest. That is what makes the Samples case so intriguing.


As is shown in the quote above, the lower appellate court found the “malpractice crisis” to be a rational basis to find NICA’s caps constitutional.  But the Florida Supreme Court never addressed this basis.  Instead, the Florida Supreme Court held that NICA’s damage caps were rationally related to the legitimate state interest of providing an actuarial sound system for compensating neurologically injured children.  The fact that the Court was completely silent as to whether there is a “malpractice crisis” leads me to believe the Court rejects this reasoning.  In fact, one of the major points of contention in the oral argument in the McCall case was whether such a “malpractice crisis” even existed at all.  Proponents of the caps (insurance companies, doctors and hospitals) all argued that the “malpractice crisis” is prevalent and detrimental to Florida.  However, challengers of the caps (victims of medical negligence, advocacy groups, the Florida Justice Association) all presented actual data which showed that no such “malpractice crisis” existed and that it was all a farse created to deprive injured people from fair compensation.


While there is no way to predict with any certainty what the Florida Supreme Court will do with the medical malpractice caps, their silence on the medical malpractice crisis gives me hope that they will ultimately hold that caps on medical malpractice damages are unconstitutional.

Justin C. Leto’s weekly appearance on America Now with Andy Dean–How the media is destroying our justice system


Click here to listen to Justin Leto’s weekly appearance on American Now with Andy Dean

written by Justin C. Leto


Justin Leto appears weekly on Nationally Syndicated radio talk show, America Now with Andy Dean.  Each Wednesday, Justin and Andy discuss the legal stories of the week and debate the political aspects of the legal stories. 


This past week, Andy and I spent the majority of the time discussing the abduction of two girls in Cleveland, Ohio as well as the verdict in the Jodi Arias case.  Andy and I both agreed that the coverage of the Jodi Arias verdict bordered on ridiculous.    There is something to be said in favor of having an open courtroom where the media is free to cover and broadcast trials to the general public.  One of the great things about our justice system is that it is supposed to be transparent.  People who are accused of crimes or are sued civilly should have the right to defend themselves and have an open forum for their defense.  The problems arise when the media and the viewers transform our open and transparent justice system into a soap opera media circus.


The tabloid media descended upon the Jodi Arias trial just as it did with the Casey Anthony trial and proceeded to completely pervert the purpose for our open system of justice.  This is not what American justice should look like to the outside world.  We are far better than tabloid media that obsesses over phone sex tapes, nude pictures and foul language, all in an attempt to generate ad revenue dollars.  Our justice system strives to provide fair and equal treatment to all defendants while also sympathizing with victims of such horrific crimes as the murder committed by Jodi Arias or the murder of Caylee Anthony.  But when the media gets too deeply entrenched into these matters, they lose objective focus and stray off into the fanatical storylines that will make them the most money.  And that is a shame to our system of justice.  The saddest part of the entire ordeal is that most of these media folks are former prosecutors and practicing lawyers that have lost their way and forgotten what the justice system is built on.  Things like “innocent until proven guilty” and “trial by a jury of your peers” have seemingly gone out the window.


Although the jurors are instructed not to watch television or listen to news accounts of the case when they leave the courthouse, it is nearly impossible to avoid the soap opera storylines generated about these high profile cases.  And then, when the jury decides in a way that does not please the media (i.e., Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson), the media chastizes the jurors for their decisions, and by doing so, they insult and denigrate the entire judicial system.


It is time that these soap opera style trials get left off the television docket. Or, if the trials are going to be publicized on TV, the networks need to consider reforming the coverage to present these cases in an unbiased manner.  The media owes it to teh viewers and to the American legal system to do a better job at presenting these cases.  If we continue to treat serious trials the way we treat reality television, our system will suffer in a way that cannot be repaired.


The Leto Law Firm is a boutique litigation firm that specializes in personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, traumatic brain injury and business litigation.

Justin C. Leto’s weekly appearance on nationally syndicated radio talk show, America Now with Andy Dean


Click here to listen to Justin C. Leto’s appearance on America Now with Andy Dean, April 3, 2013



Every Wednesday night, Justin Leto appears on nationally syndicated talk show, America Now with Andy Dean.  Andy and Justin discuss an array of legal topics and oftentimes debate hot button legal issues.  On this week’s show, Andy and Justin discussed proposed legislation that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance.


New York lawmakers look to pass bill to require gun owners to carry liability insurance.  Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives are pushing legislation that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance in the event of negligence leading to injury or death from the use of a gun.  Andy, being the uber conservative supporter of the 2nd Amendment, believes that this bill is unconstitutional as an infringement on citizen’s right to bear arms.  As I explain to Andy, the Constitution allows bills such as this to go through a procedure which, if passed, would deem it undoubtedly constitutional. In order to pass a bill such as this, it must originate in the House of Representatives, pass the House by majority vote, then pass the Senate and evetually receive the signature of the President.  If this were to occur, a law requiring insurance on guns would be absolutely constitutional.


Andy, and many others who are resistant to any restriction on gun use or ownership, argue that this is a punitive tax which should be deemed unconstitutional.  However, this argument is misplaced.  The bill is not seeking to restrict gun ownership, but instead seeks to provide a level of protection to those that are injured by the negligent use of a firearm.  Under such a law, pruposeful acts of violence would not be covered by insurance.  Instead, negligent acts, such as a negligent discharge of a firearm or a negligent entrustment of a firearm, would be covered.


Such a law would protect those people that are innocent victims of firearms that are used in a negligent manner.  Several prime examples of where such an insurance policy would be applicable would be to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut or the murder of the District Attorney in Texas.  Even though the people that fired the guns acted with malice and purpose, the people that owned or bought the guns acted negligently.  In Newtown, the owner of the gun was the shooter’s mother.  A strong argument can be made that she was negligent in providing access to her guns to her son, who she knew was mentally unstable.  If she was insured, all of the victims’ families could pursue wrongful death lawsuits against the insurance company that provided such insurance.  In Texas, the shooter was provided the gun by a woman that negligently bought the gun for a known parolee.  Again, the families of the victims of this crime could pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner’s insurer.


This becomes even more important when someone is injured by negligent gun use.  Certainly, a gunshot wound costs many thousands of dollars in medical care.  Instead of the victim or their health insurance company (or even more importantly, the goverment) paying for the medical bills, the insurance carrier for the negligent gun owner would be responsible for paying for the victims’ personal injury lawsuits.


Such a law makes complete sense and would provide a recovery avenue for those that are harmed from the negligence of gun owners.


The Leto Law Firm specializes in Florida medical malpractice lawsuits, Florida wrongful death lawsuits and traumatic brain injury cases.