Storied West Palm law firm wins $2.3 million legal battle against founding partner

A long-running legal battle pitting a storied and politically connected West Palm Beach law firm against one of its founding partners culminated Wednesday when an appeals court ruled the partner deserved a fraction of the $2.3 million he was slated to get.

Patrick Casey
Patrick Casey

Rejecting calculations made by former Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown, the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell owed former partner Patrick Casey only $511,200.

“Reverse, reverse, reverse,” managing partner Alan Ciklin said of the appeals court decision. “We’re pleased and we feel vindicated.”

Alan Ciklin, managing partner of the West Palm Beach law firm Ciklin Lubitz & O'Connell
Alan Ciklin, managing partner of the West Palm Beach law firm

Attorney Eric Hewko, who represented Casey, said he and his client were “very disappointed” in the three-page ruling. The $511,200 is the equity Casey had in the firm roughly 15 years ago which doesn’t reflect what it was worth when he stepped down in 2012, he said.

Hewko said he and Casey are deciding whether to ask the West Palm Beach-based appeals court to reconsider the decision or whether to appeal it to the Florida Supreme Court. Ciklin said he doubted an appeal would be successful.

“It’s been a long haul and certainly not something we wanted to happen,” he said.

The saga began two months after Casey, a founder of the 30-year-old firm, resigned. While the firm paid him what Ciklin described as “less than $100,000” that he was owed under the partnership agreement, Casey sued, claiming he was entitled to more.

After a five-day trial in 2014, Brown agreed. She wrote a scathing 12-page opinion, questioning the veracity of Ciklin’s testimony, blasting the firm for keeping at least two sets of books and awarding Casey $2.3 million.

In its far less detailed ruling, the appeals court said Brown misinterpreted the partnership agreement. For instance, it rejected Brown’s reasoning that as one of 10 partners Casey was entitled to 10 percent of the firm’s income. “This mechanical approach ignored the language of the applicable portion of the partnership agreement,” the three-judge panel wrote.

In what some legal observers called an unusual move, the case was heard by Judges Martha Warner, Melanie May and Burton Conner. However, it was decided by Warner, May and Judge Robert Gross.  The opinion notes that Gross didn’t hear oral arguments, but reviewed the record.

While acknowledging such switches are rare, Clerk of Court Lonn Weissblum said occasionally a judge discovers he has a conflict as the case progresses. Judges are not required to explain why they step down, he said.

Ciklin is the brother of Cory Ciklin, chief judge of the appeals court. Their brother, Blair Ciklin, is a longtime commissioner of the Port of Palm Beach.

The firm traces its roots to one of the county’s most prominent attorneys, Phillip O’Connell Sr. A former professional boxer, he served a quarter-century as Palm Beach County State Attorney while also maintaining a private law practice, according to the firm’s website. A bust of him graces the lobby of the state attorney’s office. His son, Phillip O’Connell Jr., and nephew, Brian O’Connell, are partners of the firm.

Roughly 10 years ago, one of its named partners – Bill Boose, considered the dean of local land use lawyers  – was sent to prison for 15 months after admitting he helped former Palm Beach County Commissioner Tony Masilotti hide profits from a secret land deal. The scandal, that also sent Masilotti to prison, rocked the county.

 

 

Dr. Phil files $250 million defamation suit against American Media

Saying he and his wife are sick and tired of relentless character assassination, the nation’s most famous psychologist is going after the nation’s most famous tabloid publisher in a $250 million lawsuit filed this month in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 07: Dr. Phil McGraw speaks during the taping of his television show, announcing "Little Kids Rock Across America" at Paramount Pictures Studios on December 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Dr. Phil McGraw (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

In the 42-page lawsuit, Phillip McGraw, better known to daytime TV audiences simply as “Dr. Phil,” claims the Boca Raton-based National Enquirer and its sister publications have fabricated “salacious and offensive” stories about him and his philanthropist wife, Robin, to shore up their sagging bottom lines.

Since 2003, American Media, the parent company of the Enquirer, Star Magazine and Radar Online, has published more than 85 articles – roughly six per year – accusing the couple of being frauds, according to the lawsuit filed by West Palm Beach attorney J. Grier Pressly III and Atlanta lawyer L. Lin Wood.

While the wealthy couple has built a reputation as tireless crusaders against domestic violence, in dozens of articles AMI has falsely claimed their home life is far from idyllic, the attorneys wrote. With no facts to support the allegations, they have published stories portraying Dr. Phil as an abuser and his wife as a pitiful victim.

“The National Enquirer falsely and maliciously defamed Mrs. McGraw by conveying to the average reader that she is a fraud and professional hypocrite suffering from the very same spousal abuse that she so fervently campaigns and advocates against,” the attorneys wrote, describing a series of what they called “sleazy tabloid practices.”

The motivation for the attacks is no mystery, they claim. Reporting $17 million more in liabilities than assets on its Dec. 31 quarterly report, AMI needs money, they said.

“Confronted with financial difficulties, declining circulation, and the need for cash flow, AMI has shamelessly and unlawfully sought to generate revenues by misappropriating and capitalizing on the McGraws’ names,” the attorneys wrote.

Officials at AMI didn’t return a phone call for comment. But it has shown no sign of backing down.

In articles published online this week, all three publications trumpeted a six-year-old story about a federal judge in California blasting Dr. Phil as a “charlatan” for inviting a couple on his show to brag about shoplifting more than $1 million. The judge made her comments during the couple’s sentencing hearing.

On Monday, the 2010 story was new again on the National Enquirer’s website. “Dr. Phil is a ‘charlatan’ and a ‘terrible, terrible man!’ A California judge branded him all that and more … and The National ENQUIRER has all the details,” it wrote.

In the lawsuit, attorneys representing the McGraws said such tactics are typical. The publications have repeatedly rehashed old stories and embellished them either by leaving out key facts or fabricating them entirely, the attorneys claim.

In February, they claim, AMI threatened to run a story that Dr. Phil, while a student at Texas Tech University, got into a drunken brawl at a bar and smashed a beer mug over a fellow patron’s head. However, the attorneys claim, the bar where the fight allegedly took place didn’t open until 1977 – six years after Dr. Phil attended the Texas school. Further, they claim, the bar didn’t get a liquor license until 2009 – 38 years after the doctor left.

“The utter, flagrant, demonstrable falsity of that story epitomizes AMI’s abuse of the First Amendment,” they wrote.

The recent stories AMI published also violate a 2012 agreement hashed out after the McGraws then threatened to file a defamation suit, the attorneys said. In exchange for dropping the suit, the company agreed not to publish any more articles about them. When the two-year agreement expired, the attorneys claim, AMI threatened to publish the story about the bar brawl.

Unlike their claims about AMI, the McGraws don’t need the money. Both have written best-selling books. In 2015, Forbes said Dr. Phil earned $70 million that year. It ranked him the 15th highest earning celebrity in the world.

Family of MMA fighter Jordan Parsons files suit in hit and run

MMA fighter Jordan Parsons
MMA fighter Jordan Parsons

The family of up-and-coming mixed martial arts fighter Jordan Parsons has sued the man accused of killing him in a May hit-and-run crash that severed the fighter’s leg before he died days later.

According to a lawsuit filed late Friday, Parsons’ parents are suing Dennis Wright, his mother, Patricia Fuller and the Buddha Sky Bar, the Delray Beach bar where Wright allegedly drank before causing the crash.

In the 19-page lawsuit, attorney Matthew Schwencke said Wright had a long history of driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving recklessly and driving while his license was suspended.

Dennis Wright, 28
Dennis Wright, 28

Schwencke said because of this, annd because his license was still suspended on April 30, Fuller should not have allowed him to drive the 2013 Range Rover Sport registered to her. Bartenders at the Buddha Sky Bar on that night, according to the complaint, violated a Florida Statute by “knowingly serving, selling and/or furnishing alcoholic beverages to the defendant, Dennis Wright, a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages, to the point where he was intoxicated and to the extent that his normal faculties were impaired.”

Parsons was crossing an intersection near Lindell Boulevard and U.S. 1 on May 1 when he was struck by a vehicle, which prosecutors say Wright was driving.

He was taken to Delray Medical Center, where he died of his injuries May 4.

Read the full story here.

 

 

Corey Jones’ family weighs in on recent police shootings

Clinton Jones Sr. speaks about his son, Corey Jones, during a press conference outside the Palm Beach County Courthouse on Thursday, October 22, 2015.
Clinton Jones Sr. speaks about his son, Corey Jones, during a press conference outside the Palm Beach County Courthouse on Thursday, October 22, 2015.

The shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in separate encounters with police on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively came just as Palm Beach Gardens police on Wednesday released 911 calls in former officer Nouman Raja’s October shooting of motorist Corey Jones.

Jones’ family on Wednesday also filed a wrongful death suit against both the city and Raja, who prosecutors last month charged with manslaughter by culpable negligence and attempted murder in Jones’ death.

Jones father, Clinton Jones, Sr. and his stepmother, Katie Jones, released the following letter Thursday to Castile’s mother Valerie, through their attorneys:

Valerie:
It is with broken hearts that we must reach out to you regarding the tragic shooting death of your dear son, Philando Castile. As we watched the news coverage today, we noticed an all too familiar resemblance to the October police shooting that took the life of our dear son, Corey Jones.

 

Philando Castile, killed Wednesday during a traffic stop with a police officer.
Philando Castile, killed Wednesday during a traffic stop with a police officer.

We believe it is our duty to reach out to you to let you know that we stand with and are praying for you during this most difficult time. While we are certain that all of us would have chosen a different path, God recognized our strength and chose us for this path. We want you to know that you do not have to walk this path alone. Although we may live several states away, and may only share the common thread of having lost a son due to the senseless killing by a police officer, we want to lend our support to you in whatever way you may see fit.
As we await the criminal trial of the officer who killed our son, we have gathered strength from the love and support of those who support our mission to hold law enforcement officials accountable for their actions. However, I am compelled to tell you that the road to justice is not easy. The pain you feel now is unimaginable and at times will feel intolerable, but through it all we must not, and we cannot lose hope.
Your son’s life mattered. Our son’s life mattered. We must demand that something change! We must demand justice!
Clinton Jones, Sr. and Kattie Jones
The Parents of Corey Lamar Jones

Clinton "C.J." Jones, Jr., walks into his brother Corey Jones' funeral at Payne A.M.E. Chapel on October 31, 2015.
Clinton “C.J.” Jones, Jr., walks into his brother Corey Jones’ funeral at Payne A.M.E. Chapel on October 31, 2015.

The parents’ letter comes hours after Clinton “C.J.” Jones, Jr., brother of Corey Jones took to social media and posted the message below to Sterling’s family:

TO THE FAMILY OF ‪#‎ALTONSTERLING‬

CJ Jones: THE BROTHER OF COREY JONES.

My family and I are extremely saddened to see another abuse-of-power murder by overly aggressive police officers who lack compassion and patience for those whose job it is to protect and serve: the community.

Sunlight, as they say, is the best sanitation; and the light should shine brightest from the top down. Nothing confuses and angers a community more than to be unable to distinguish the police from those the police are tasked to protect us from.

Our family knows the heartache the Sterling Family is experiencing and we will pray for their healing to start. However, we do not demand the diminishing of any anger you may feel for this crime – that too is justified.

Alton Sterling, killed in a confrontation with police in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday July 5, 2016.
Alton Sterling, killed in a confrontation with police in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday July 5, 2016.

We do ask that as the justifiable anger grows in our communities across the country and more specifically in Baton Rouge, that people think rationally before acting. Though we have suffered far too long from these SENSELESS acts of terror from American law enforcement, our actions will determine future acts of aggression towards us. So please be sensible.

Honest officers and honest people in influential positions can stop this if they’d only show the same degree of courage and commitment for those in their communities as they do for those in ours. They must simply value our lives as much as they do their own.

We cannot deny that the racial fractures in our society are mostly to blame for this police phenomenon. And though we as a nation have had 150 years to change these ways, it’s not people of color who are stagnant in this evolution. Police are behaving the same way they always have.

The video speaks for itself. The people speak for themselves. These officers’ actions speak for themselves.

At some point law enforcement and the justice system will listen. CHANGE WILL COME!

CJ Jones (R.I.H COREY JONES 10-18-2015)

PBSO agrees to pay for not turning over data in suit over Seth Adams’ death

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to pay $15,000 for not immediately turning over GPS data to show where various officers were when Loxahatchee Groves resident Seth Adams was shot dead by Sgt. Michael Custer four years ago.

Seth Adams, 24, in Loxahatchee Groves. Fatal. Photograph dated May 1, 2012. He was killed by a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputy outside his home on May 17, 2012.
Seth Adams, 24, was fatally shot by a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputy outside his home on May 17, 2012.

“I thought $15,000 was very reasonable,” said attorney Wallace McCall, who represents Adams’ family in a civil lawsuit against Custer and the sheriff’s office. “We spent a lot of time proving the GPS existed and trying to get them to turn it over.”

The failure of the agency to turn over the GPS data is one of several instances where the agency has failed to turn over key evidence, McCall said.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hurley is still deciding whether to sanction the agency for not preserving the cell phone Custer was using on May 17, 2012 when  he shot the unarmed 24-year-old as Adams was returning to his family’s garden center on A Road, where he also lived.

After a hearing in March, Hurley said he was torn between whether the agency acted in bad faith or was “extraordinarily negligent” when it lost the phone, knowing it had to be preserved. He said he needed time to do additional research.

While the agency also destroyed Custer’s laptop, Hurley ruled that it was not done intentionally. Rather, he said, it was destroyed because the officer was in line for a new computer. Old laptops are routinely thrown out, sheriff’s officials testified.

Hurley said McCall was clearly entitled to the GPS data to show the locations of other officers who were working with Custer the night Adams was shot. After McCall argued that the agency had repeatedly denied the records existed when it was clear they did, Hurley agreed McCall should be paid for the extra time he spent trying to get them.

In court papers, the sheriff’s office and McCall agreed to the $15,000 payment.

 

 

Widow of underwater photographer Wes Skiles to seek $25 million in his death

The widow of world-renown underwater photographer Wes Skiles, who drowned in 2010 while shooting goliath grouper off Boynton Beach for National Geographic, will ask a Palm Beach County jury to award her at least $25 million in damages from a diving equipment company that she claims is responsible for her husband’s death.

MT-B1 WES SKILES.JPG
Wes Skiles

In opening statements on Monday, attorney Dustin Herman, who is representing Terri Skiles, claimed the company that produced the equipment Wes Skiles was using when he drowned never did appropriate tests to determine if it was safe.

“This is about failing to do safety testing on a piece of life safety equipment,” Herman said of the death of the 53-year-old North Florida resident. “If a corporation doesn’t do this type of testing, divers will die.”

An attorney representing Broward County resident Mark Derrrick, who was in a joint venture with Dive Rite Express to produce the rebreathing device Skiles was using, countered that Skiles was responsible for his own death.

While an accomplished scuba diver, he wasn’t certified to use the special underwater breathing device and was taking Ambien, which is used to treat insomnia, and the narcotic pain-killer hyrdocodone when he lost consciousness during an ascent from 83 feet, attorney David Concannon told the seven jurors. Skiles lost his mouthpiece and drowned.

“We’re going to ask you to find that it’s more likely than not that Mr. Skiles caused his own death,” Concannon said.

The key evidence during the two-week trial will be a roughly 45-minute video of the July 2010 dive, both sides said. Herman said it will show that the equipment malfunctioned. Concannon countered that it will show Skiles made many mistakes. It will further show, he claimed, that the warning systems on the rebreathing device were working, but Skiles ignored them.

“It’s up to you to determine why he’s doing that,” Concannon said of evidence that Skiles turned off the oxygen. “Is it because he’s impaired? Is it because he’s inexperienced?”

Skiles, who began diving when he was 13, performed over 7,000 dives and specialized in cave diving, Herman said. Just days after he died, the cover of National Geographic magazine featured one of his last dives – the blue holes of the Bahamas. After his death, National Geographic named him “Explorer of the Year.” Florida’s Peacock Springs Park  near Live Oak was renamed Wesley Skiles Peacock Springs Park.

 

Delray developer wants damages from estate of Subway founder

Pugliese
Pugliese

Apparently the expression “never speak ill of the dead” poses no problem for Anthony Pugliese.

Fresh off a jail sentence stemming from charges he swindled late Subway founder Fred DeLuca out of $1 million, the Delray Beach developer is now seeking $20 billion from DeLuca’s estate with claims DeLuca was the one who stole his idea for an eco-friendly development in Central Florida and used his “multi-billionaire” status to defraud him with “shady dealings.”

The motion to amend his request for damages filed Wednesday comes years after the $5 billion Pugliese demanded from DeLuca in 2009, when the two traded lawsuits over the failed 41,000 acre residential development project called Destiny.

A press release on the filing claims Pugliese is demanding $20 billion, but nothing in the complaint lists that amount.

“The Pugliese press release is a false publicity stunt. Anthony Pugliese is not entitled to any money,” DeLuca’s attorney Rick Hutchison said. “I can also say that the Court recently granted Fred DeLuca’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that Pugliese stole from and defrauded Fred DeLuca.”

DeLuca
DeLuca

It was a deposition in the 2009 lawsuits that ultimately landed Pugliese in jail after he admitted that he created phony companies and fake invoices to get more than $1 million from DeLuca.

At the time, Pugliese said he was doing it to create a contingency fund in case  DeLuca shut him out of the deal. Investigators called it fraud and arrested him for it in 2012.

He served four months of a six month sentence before he was released last month.

Pugliese’s amended lawsuit was filed Wednesday by his civil attorney, famed litigator Willie Gary.

“Today, we have taken additional steps to help right the wrongs committed by Fred DeLuca, and Subway in their partnership with our client,”  Gary said in a press release.

 

 

 

VERDICT: Disfigured woman awarded $7 million in suit against Bethesda

A Palm Beach County jury has awarded more than $7 million to a Connecticut woman and her husband, who sued Bethesda Memorial Hospital for pain and disfigurement she endured when she was treated there a decade ago for a botched plastic surgery.

Jurors returned the verdict in favor of Cheryl Volenec after nearly eight hours of deliberation in the case beginning Thursday afternoon.

During a two-week trial that concluded Thursday, a Palm Beach County jury saw graphic photos of horrific scars Volenec carries as a result of a 2006 plastic surgery that went horribly awry.

Cheryl and Randolph Volenec leave the courtroom at the Palm Beach County Courthouse on April 18, 2016. The couple is suing Bethesda Medical Center for their actions following botched plastic surgery that was performed by Dr. Mark Schreiber ten years ago. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
Cheryl and Randolph Volenec outside a Palm Beach County courtroom last week. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

The jurors heard arguments about how Bethesda Memorial Hospital should pay the 70-year-old Connecticut woman $5 million because it didn’t spare her from both the agony she endured and the disfigurement that turned both her back and belly into a mass of scar tissue.

But, it didn’t hear that Dr. Mark Schreiber, who performed the 7 1/2-hour surgery in his Boynton Beach office, later in 2006 lost his medical license. They weren’t told he served roughly two years in prison for botching other surgeries and is now in the Broward County jail awaiting trial on criminal charges for practicing medicine without a license and leaving a Miami man severely deformed.

Circuit Judge Cheryl Caracuzzo ruled that such evidence was so damning it would unfairly prejudice jurors.

Still, the jury concluded that Schriber was 60 percent responsible for Volenec’s injuries, pain and suffering – making the hospital liable for 40 percent of the damages they awarded.

In all, the awarded her nearly $6.7 million for past, present and future damages. They awarded her husband, Randolph another $1 million for his suffering, and for having to be responsible for her treatment and care.

In closing arguments, attorney Barbara Sonneborn insisted Bethesda nurses and doctors did nothing wrong after Volenec arrived in the emergency room near death. She had lost half of the blood she needed to keep her organs operating properly.

“Dr. Schreiber is responsible for the injury to Mrs. Volenec,” she said. “If she hadn’t come to Bethesda, she would have died from blood loss.”

Attorney Raul Garcia countered that Schreiber did nothing wrong when he tightened sagging skin left from a “full body liposuction” he had performed on Volenec a year earlier. Had hospital administrators called a plastic surgeon to treat incisions on Volenec’s back, stomach, legs and buttocks, the skin wouldn’t have died, he said.

“She needed to be seen and cared for by a plastic surgeon,” he said. “Everyone from the nursing staff, to the treating physician, to the risk manager, to the CEO of the hospital knew Cheryl Volenec needed a plastic surgeon’s care and they did nothing to provide that care.

“This is a case of inaction,” he continued. “This is a case of people not doing what they knew was right. While they were waiting, these massive surgical flaps started dying.”

But, Sonneborn countered, Volenec’s wounds were already beyond hope. “There is nothing a plastic surgeon would or could have done at Bethesda that would have made a difference in the outcome,” she said. “All of the damage occurred before she arrived at Bethesda.”

Schreiber, she said, should be held responsible.

When Schreiber didn’t respond to the lawsuit, Volenec technically got a judgment against him. But, court officials have said he has no money. While the jurors could hold him responsible for Volenec’s injuries, she couldn’t recover any money.

Volenec’s husband, Randolph, is also seeking damages for emotional pain. He was working as an architect in Miami when his wife had the surgery at Schreiber’s office.

 

Ohio couple sues PBC addiction treatment center over son’s suicide

An Ohio couple is suing a Palm Beach County drug and alcohol treatment center for negligence in the 2015 suicide death of their 17-year-old son.

IMG_0001In the lawsuit filed this month in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Steven and Susan Ashford say they entrusted Singer Island Recovery Center with their troubled son, Isaac, only to have the agency violate that trust.

Roughly two weeks after Isaac was enrolled in the treatment program, the Cincinnati youth disappeared during a field trip, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by West Palm Beach attorney Scott Sweigart. The center, with offices near 45th Street and Congress Avenue, failed to report Isaac missing for at least two hours and then weren’t forthcoming about where he was when he disappeared.

Two days later after his disappearance, Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies found the high school senior’s body in Royal Palm Beach. The medical examiner, who found drugs in his system, ruled the death a suicide, according to the lawsuit.

Officials at the center “should have known there was a high risk Isaac would attempt suicide” if not monitored closely, Sweigart wrote.

Officials from the center weren’t immediately available for comment.

Disgraced Boynton plastic surgeon key to PBC trial on horrific injuries suffered by Connecticut woman

One of Palm Beach County’s most notorious plastic surgeons is back on trial this week in a civil lawsuit that turns on whether he or Bethesda Memorial Hospital are responsible for horrific – and life-threatening –  injuries suffered by a Connecticut woman who merely wanted to turn back the clock on her appearance.

Mark Schreiber (Broward jail mugshot)
Mark Schreiber (Broward jail mugshot)

Dr. Mark Schreiber, who lost his medical license in 2006 and spent two years in prison after botching several surgeries at his long-shuttered Boynton Beach office, won’t attend the trial that began Monday. He was arrested in Broward County last year on a Miami-Dade County warrant that charges him with practicing medicine without a license in a warehouse in Hialeah, leaving a trail of deformed patients, including a man who claims he now has a one-inch long penis.

Although he won’t be in the courtroom, Schreiber, who refused to respond to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Cheryl Volenec in 2008, will loom large during the trial in which she is expected to seek hundreds of thousands – if not millions – from the hospital.

During opening statements, attorney Barbara Sonneborn, who represents Bethesda, said hospital physicians performed heroically when the then-60-year-old Volenec arrived at the hospital in January 2006 after a 7 1/2-hour operation at Schreiber’s office went horribly awry.

“The most important issue was to save her life and that’s what the hospital did,” Sonneborn told the jury of four men and four women. When Volenec arrived after having surgery to tighten sagging skin that was left after she had a “full body liposuction” a year earlier, she had lost at least 50 percent and as much as two-thirds of all the blood in her body, she said.

While doctors knew that incisions Schreiber made on her back, stomach, legs and buttocks would eventually need treatment, they first had to make sure Volenec survived, she said. That’s what they did.

Attorney Raul Garcia, who represents Volenec, described the hospital’s treatment of his client far differently. Nurses didn’t drain the wounds properly, he said. Despite numerous requests that she be seen by a plastic surgeon, none was called and no effort was made to transfer her to another hospital where one was available.

As a result, the skin surrounding the incisions died, he said, displaying a series of photos that showed large areas of black skin that eventually had to be cut away from Volenec’s body. Volenec spent three weeks in Bethesda Hospital before being transferred to Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah where she spent three months, getting the reconstructive surgery she needed.

Volenec never lived in Palm Beach County. She came to South Florida when her husband, Randolph, was hired as an architect on the Adrienne Arsht Center, a performing arts hall in Miami, Garcia said.

The jurors won’t be told of all that has happened to Schreiber since he operated on Volenec, Garcia said. They will be told that Schreiber lost his license to practice medicine in August 2006, after a patient died after a nine-hour surgery he performed in his office. After that death, rules were changed prohibiting such massive surgeries to be performed at outpatient clinics.

But the jury won’t be told that Schreiber was released from prison in 2010 after serving a two-year sentence on charges of engaging in the unlicensed practice of medicine. They also won’t be told the 60-year-old is now being held in the Broward County jail on drug charges and is also charged in Miami-Dade County for continuing to perform plastic surgery without a license.