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Spencer Aronfeld
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Spencer Aronfeld is an internationally recognized lawyer, author, and civil rights activist, who blogs frequently for the Huffington Post.

He writes about the issues that he is passionate about: protecting the legal rights and safety of everyday people who are harmed by corporate giants such as cruise lines and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Aronfeld was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1991.

Upon graduation, he founded his own law firm Aronfeld Trial Lawyers located a few blocks from the University of Miami's campus.

In 1995, shortly after graduating law school, he earned international recognition by winning his first jury trial, a personal injury clam against Walt Disney World. That Orlando, Florida jury verdict remains one of the largest in history against Walt Disney and his legal battle was recounted in the best seller Disney, the Mouse Betrayed.

Aronfeld also attended and graduated from the Trial Lawyer College, a non‐profit institution founded by legendary lawyer, Gerry Spence.

Aronfeld frequently serves as a legal commentator and has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Primer Impacto, Dateline NBC, America’s Most Wanted and Headline News Network with Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Aronfeld has authored two books, “Make It Your Own Law Firm” and “Sara Rose, Kid Lawyer.”

Following the earthquake in Haiti, Aronfeld co-founded Lawyers to the Rescue, a not- for-profit humanitarian initiative that provides free legal services to the homeless and financial aid to those in need around the world.

Aronfeld is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by both the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Entries by Spencer Aronfeld

Bienvenido a Miami, Capital del Fraude en los Estados Unidos de América

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 11:51 AM

El Departamento de Justicia tuvo un año récord en la recuperación de casi 6 mil millones de dólares en dinero que se obtuvo por individuos y corporaciones que defraudaron al gobierno.

2015 ha comenzado con la condena de 3 residentes de Miami, Florida, que dirigían un régimen de devolución de...

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Tecnología para rescatar pasajeros que se han caído de un crucero

(1) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 10:26 AM

Quizás el temor más grande que los pasajeros de cruceros tienen es caer o ser empujados por el borde de la nave. Aunque la preocupación es real, una caída o que alguien salte de un crucero no es muy frecuente.

De hecho, en lo que va del año 2015, sólo ha habido tres casos documentados de caídas de pasajeros en el mar. Tal vez el más notable se produjo en enero, cuando un pasajero se cayó de un barco de cruceros Royal Caribbean, cerca de la costa de México y más tarde fue descubierto y rescatado por un barco de cruceros de Disney.

Como abogado de lesiones de pasajeros, he investigado miles de accidentes de cruceros en todo el mundo. Con frecuencia me preguntan por qué los pasajeros caen al agua y cómo se pueden acelerar sus rescates.

Desafortunadamente, muchas veces, cuando no se recuperó al pasajero, somos incapaces de entender lo que causó esa caída en particular. Muchas veces, el alcohol, el juego sucio, y el suicidio, son razones.

El Presidente Obama promulgó requisitos de seguridad importantes en ''Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010''. La Ley exige, entre otras cosas, que todas las líneas de cruceros utilicen alta tecnología a bordo de la nave que ayude a recuperar pasajeros que han caído al mar. Sin embargo, la ley sólo exige que la tecnología --que consiste en el radar, el sonar, y otros tipos de sistemas de alerta--, sean instalados en las naves que han sido construidas a partir del 2010. Desafortunadamente, la mayoría de las líneas de cruceros no han podido instalar estas medidas para salvar las vidas de pasajeros.

Marine & Remote Sensing Solutions SAM, a FLIR Systems, Inc. ha desarrollado un sistema de dos patas capaz de capturar a cualquier humano que entre por la borda de un barco o de un crucero con un 99% de precisión. En cuanto se detecta la caída, drones marinos se disparan inmediatamente y son conducidos a la ubicación precisa del pasajero caído. Realmente pueden rescatar a los pasajeros y traerlos de nuevo a bordo del barco.

Es mi deseo, que la industria de los cruceros instale inmediatamente estos nuevos sistemas en todas las naves antes de que otro pasajero se pierde en el...

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Man Overboard! Cruise Ship Passengers Lost at Sea

(61) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 12:16 PM

Every cruise ship passenger's worst nightmare is the fear of falling or being pushed overboard. While the cruise industry likes to downplay the frequency of these events -- as well as their ability to prevent them, they seem to be happening far more often.

So far in the first two months of 2015 there have already been 3 reported cruise ship passengers who have gone overboard. In January 2015, a 22 year old male passenger on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, fell overboard just off the coast of Mexico. The Oasis of the Seas, one of the world's biggest cruise ships, has the capacity to transport over 6,000 people. Miraculously, passengers and crew aboard Disney Cruise Lines Magic were able to identify and rescue the man.

A passenger apparently dove off the 13th deck of Princess Cruise's Sapphire Princess off the 13th; but was found after the ship's captain issued a "Man Overboard Alert."

In February, Carol Tremblay, a 66 year old Canadian went overboard from Celebrity Cruise Line's Constellation. Celebrity is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean. Mr. Tremblay's fall was captured by the ship's CCTV. The footage apparently showed him going overboard from the 11th deck (110 feet) at about 3:00 AM, 23 miles off Summerland Key -- near the Port of Key West.

Why do people fall off of cruise ships and can it be prevented? Alcohol, foul play or suicide are the most frequent causes; but often it is simply impossible to discover the truth -- because rarely are bodies recovered. Fortunately, technology exists to sound alerts when a passenger goes overboard. These systems called MOB Detection Devices, include motion sensors, thermal detection systems and drones that are designed to alert the ship's bridge; to stop the ship and immediately deploy search and rescue protocols.

Tragically, most major cruise lines, with the exception of Disney, refuse to employ these devices -- even though the 2010 ''Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010" or CVSSA -- requires them. Probably because the CVSSA enacted by President Obama, only requires cruise ships built after 2010 to integrate MOB technology as well as minimum height requirements for cabin safety railing. Under the CVSSA the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) have established model training standards for crime prevention, detection, evidence preservation as well as the reporting of criminal activities aboard cruise ships.

According to CruiseJunkie.com, a website that tracks man overboard cases, there have been 243 cases since 1995. Over the last 15 years Carnival Cruise lines which includes their other brands, (Costa, Cunard, P&O, Princess and Holland America) have totaled 50 of MOB cases; that is more than any other cruise line. Perhaps Carnival's high MOB incident rate may be explained by the sheer number of vessels in its fleet as well their limited use of modern MOB detection systems.

If you are aboard a cruise ship and see a passenger or what looks to be a passenger go overboard- immediately notify the ship's security or bridge. As a lawyer who investigates cruise ship passenger accidents, It is my hope that all cruise lines will soon utilize technology to help detect and prevent another passenger overboard...

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Passenger Raped and Nearly Killed on a Cruise Ship

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 4:19 PM

A former crew member aboard Holland America's MS Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship was sentenced by a Broward County Florida Federal Judge to 30 years in a federal prison this week for raping and then attempting to kill a female passenger.

Ketut Pujayasa, 29 admitted to choking, beating and raping the passenger -- before attempting to throw her overboard from her cabin's balcony while the ship was in open sea. His victim survived and faced him in Federal Court in Broward County, Florida just a few miles from Port Everglades where the cruise departed from.

Mr. Pujayasa gained access to the victim's cabin by using a master key. He then waited for her on her balcony. As a result of the attack, the woman suffered serious injuries including fractures to her spine, skull and face. Thankfully, the attack was interrupted by fellow passengers. Mr. Pujayasa escaped from the cabin by jumping from the balcony and subsequently confessed the crimes to the FBI.

Passenger rapes continue to plague cruise ships. In response, in 2010 Congress enacted the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act -- mandating that cruise lines initiate policies to prevent and protect passengers from rape. The bill mandates that all serious crimes involving U.S. citizens be reported to the FBI as well as the publication of crime statistics on a website available to the public.

Surprisingly, the law requires only crimes "that are no longer under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation" be publicized. Some studies show that the FBI only investigates about 10 percent of reported cruise ship crime. As a cruise ship passenger lawyer, I find these results to be very misleading. To see the latest cruise ship crime statistics click here.

It is important to protect yourself and your family on your next cruise. According to FBI Special Agent David Hearn: "Watch what you are doing and keep your wits about you. It seems like an enclosed environment. That gives people a false sense of security. You should have fun, but act responsibly and know what your kids are doing at all times. And if you see suspicious activity or a crime has occurred, contact the ship's personnel...

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Holiday Cruises-Put Passenger Safety First

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 11:45 AM

The holidays are right around the corner and thousands will be taking vacations cruises this year. Most cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Celebrity deck the halls of their ships literally with holiday decorations and Christmas trees in their lobbies, restaurants and have massive gingerbread houses.

While...

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Suing Cruise Ship Doctors for Medical Malpractice

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 11:44 AM

Modern mega cruise ships now have urgent care centers on board that are staffed with doctors and nurses who can treat passengers suffering from a wide range of illnesses and injuries ranging from sea sickness, broken bones, and in some instances, even life threatening medical conditions.

However, holding cruise ship doctors and nurses accountable for medical mistakes has been nearly impossible for injured passengers because for decades cruise lines have been insulated from legal liability when passengers receive inadequate or negligent medical care from the ship's doctors and nurses. This week a United States Appellate Court has made it far easier for injured passengers to sue cruise lines for medical malpractice in a ruling that involves an elderly cruise ship passenger who fell during a cruise-- while docked in Bermuda.

After falling, the passenger, Pasquale Vaglio, returned to the ship and sought medical treatment in the ship's hospital. Unfortunately, the care was allegedly so negligent that he fell into a coma and died a week later. His daughter filed a wrongful death case against RCCL and alleged that the ship's health care providers failed to timely diagnose Mr. Vaglio's cranial trauma.

She filed the lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, located in Miami, Florida. The trial judge, the Hon. Joan A. Lenard dismissed her complaint by applying the longstanding maritime legal concept that provides immunity to cruise lines like RCCL when a crew member renders negligent medical care to passengers.

In a 63-page opinion appellate court Judge Marcus juxtaposed maritime law with legal theories of medical malpractice, personal injury, and agency law. The court found that maritime law supports holding Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., as vicariously liable for the medical negligence of its on board nurses and doctors. To read the Court's opinion, click here. This law sends a clear message to the cruise industry by holding it responsible to provide injured passengers a higher standard of medical...

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Cruise Ships and Ebola

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 9:56 AM

Concern about the Ebola virus is spreading across the cruise industry and amongst future passengers after a lab technician who came into contact with fluid specimens taken from Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan prior to his death at a Texas hospital was permitted to board Carnival Magic, a cruise ship...

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Does Florida Really Hate Gay Marriage?

(16) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 1:01 PM

For just one brief and shining moment, gay people in Florida were treated equally when a courageous judge in Monroe County -- Luis Garcia, the Chief Circuit Court Judge -- decided that two men (Aaron Huntsman, 44, and William Lee Jones, 43) should be able to marry whomever...

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Woman Sues Employer for Premature Birth

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 5:57 PM

A significant shift in the law has just made it more difficult for the injured to get justice in Florida. The change occurred quietly when Florida's Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal of the personal injury case of Maria Franco Perez, a 26-year-old Miami woman who brought suit...

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Does Florida's Stand Your Ground Law Stand Up In a Personal Injury Case?

(1) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 12:27 PM

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is probably one of the most controversial and volatile pieces of
legislation I have seen in my 25 years of legal experience as a practicing attorney
in Florida.

This law creates an "immunity" from criminal prosecution for those who use...

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Crime On Cruise Ships

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 5:17 PM

A cruise on the Disney Cruise Line's Dream turned into a nightmare for a 13-year-old female passenger who was allegedly molested while on board the ship by a crew member. The crew member, Ahmed Sofyan, a resident of Jakarta, Indonesia, was arrested this week in Florida at the...

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Florida's Supreme Court Finally Takes a Stand for Victims of Medical Malpractice

(2) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 11:20 AM

The Florida Supreme, after more than a decade of challenges, has declared that caps on medical malpractice damages are unconstitutional. Their decision was based upon the case of Michelle McCall, who died after she bled to death following a caesarean section during the birth of her a son...

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Will Carnival's Passengers Triumph in Court?

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 4:16 PM

Dozens of the passengers who were aboard Carnival Cruise Line's Triumph last year when a fire left the ship disabled and adrift in the Gulf of Mexico without electricity and toilets have sued Carnival and spent the last several weeks in Miami's Federal Courthouse testifying in front of...

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Conducir bajo efectos de la marihuana

(1) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 12:33 PM

La marihuana es la droga ilegal más consumida en el mundo, y su uso es técnicamente ilegal en los Estados Unidos bajo la Ley Federal. Sin embargo, cada vez se vuelve más difícil decir que es ilegal, sobre todo desde que el presidente Obama anunció públicamente que no hará cumplir...

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The "Blunt" Truth: Driving While High

(5) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 10:10 AM

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world, and its use is technically illegal in the United States under Federal Law. However, it's getting harder to tell that it is illegal, especially since President Obama publicly announced he will not enforce the Federal...

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Riesgos en el uso de anabolizantes: La Testosterona

(0) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 12:57 PM

Una serie de debates respecto a los hombres estadounidenses y la testosterona --o la falta de ella-- han sido discutidos últimamente en los medios de comunicación y las publicaciones médicas. La testosterona es la hormona del hombre producida en los testículos, regulada por las glándulas de nuestras cabezas y la...

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Cruise Ship Carnage

(2) Comments | Posted September 29, 2013 | 2:38 PM

As an environmental lawyer who sues cruise lines on behalf of injured passengers, I often compare modern cruise ships to floating cities. And like many of the world's cities, these leviathans continue to grow both in size and in the number of people they unleash every day on...

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Hombre de la Florida demanda a policía por golpearlo mientras estaba en la cárcel

(0) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 6:39 PM

Esta semana, un tribunal de apelaciones confirmó el veredicto del jurado en el juicio de un hombre de la Florida que demandó a la ciudad de Boynton Beach después de haber sido atacado violentamente por agentes de la policía de esa ciudad, mientras estaba en su custodia después de su...

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Florida Man Sues Police Over Jailhouse Beating

(1) Comments | Posted September 10, 2013 | 11:17 AM

This week an appellate court upheld a jury verdict in the trial of a Florida man who sued the City of Boynton Beach after he was violently attacked by City police officers while in their custody following his arrest for DUI.  Adam Weiss was at home late one...

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Se necesitan más abogados afroamericanos para que el sueño de MLK se haga realidad

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2013 | 5:19 PM

Celebramos el 50 aniversario de "La Marcha" de Washington por el Trabajo y la Libertad. El 28 de agosto de 1963, más de 200,000 personas se reunieron en el National Mall, junto con millones de personas que escucharon por televisión a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pronunciar "Yo tengo un...

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