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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

Passenger Raped and Nearly Killed on a Cruise Ship

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 5:19 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 | 12:45 PM

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 | 12:44 PM

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 | 10:56 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 | 2:01 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 | 6:57 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 | 1:27 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 | 6:17 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 | 12:20 PM

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 | 5:16 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 | 1:33 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 | 11:10 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 | 1:57 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 | 3:38 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 | 7:39 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 | 12:17 PM

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 | 6:19 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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Why His Dream Has Not Come True

(3) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 6:10 PM

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. On August 28, 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered on the National Mall, along with the millions more who watched on television, to hear the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his "I Have a...

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Florida Finally Bans Texting and Driving

(5) Comments | Posted August 19, 2013 | 5:33 PM

Florida will finally ban texting and driving -- but why has it taken so long, and how does the new law really work? According to Florida's Department of Transportation's website, distracted driving is a "pressing concern" for traffic safety professionals since 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways,...

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Finalmente, Florida prohíbe el envío de mensajes de texto y manejar

(1) Comments | Posted August 19, 2013 | 4:48 PM

Finalmente, el estado de Florida prohíbe enviar mensajes de texto y conducir - pero ¿por qué se ha tardado tanto tiempo, y cómo realmente funciona la nueva ley? Según el sitio web del Departamento de Transporte de Florida, el conducir distraído es una "preocupación urgente" para los profesionales...

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