Category Archives: Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008)

Lyft Sued for Wrongful Death Over Miami Crash

On November 18 2015, a Miami widow of a car crash victim sued Lyft for wrongful death negligence. The widow is alleging that the ride-hailing company failed to properly train the driver that caused the fatal accident.

Poliana Perez, whose husband Loinier Perez was killed while riding his motorcycle on October 31.  Perez stated that Lyft Florida Inc. is liable for the crash caused by driver Pirooz Pakdel. Pakdel was carrying a pair of Lyft passengers when he allegedly made an improper left-hand turn and rammed into Loinier Perez.

Perez’s attorney, Ervin Gonzalez of Colson Hicks Eidson, stated that “Lyft, which isn’t even authorized to operate in Miami-Dade County, fell far short of its obligation to act in the best interests of public safety and an innocent life was taken.” The suit alleges that Lyft knew or should have known that Pakdel was not properly trained or suited for the job. The San Francisco-based Lyft allows passengers to use a smartphone app to hail rides from drivers in their personal cars.

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008)

Chiropractic Clinics Attempt to Defraud GEICO

On October 5, 2015, GEICO filed a lawsuit in federal court against Boston-based Big City Chiropractic & Sports Injury Clinic, according to a Law360 article. GEICO claims that Big City created a scheme to defraud the company out of, up to $1.1 million by overbilling for insurance payments and paying kickbacks to patients for cooperating with the scheme.

In the lawsuit, GEICO alleges that Dr. Brian Elias, Florida-based founder of Big City Chiropractic, and Karen Davis and Dr. Megan Bratton of Massachusetts were involved in the scheme to defraud GEICO. GEICO alleges that the trio earned substantial profits by using unskilled services and staff at their clinic while billing them as services performed by licensed staff. The lawsuit claims that that the trio overused chiropractic practices and submitted inflated demands for insurance payments based on false and deceptive bills and records.

GEICO states in the complaint, that it has already paid at least $110,000 of about $517,000 in submitted bills to Big City. The clinic has billed GEICO so far this year at an estimated annual rate of $600,000.

Big City Chiropractic & Sports Injury is the Massachusetts-based arm of an interstate network of chiropractic clinics operated by Elias.

GEICO is seeking damages including the money unfairly paid to Big City, the costs of handling the investigation, and treble damages under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and Massachusetts consumer protection law.

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008)

Eleventh Circuit Declines 7th GEICO Car Crash Trial

On Tuesday September 22, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit declined to allow a seventh trial in a GEICO General Insurance Co. coverage dispute, rejecting an argument by the estate of a car crash victim that the insurer wasn’t prejudiced by the exclusion of decisions reached after it denied coverage, according to a Law360 article.

The court refused to rehear the decision vacating a Florida federal court judgment in favor of Esperanza Garcia, who represents the estate of a women killed in a car accident with a GEICO-insured driver in a car rented by someone else. The court found that GEICO should have been able to tell the jury that the coverage decision preceding Garcia’s bad faith suit was overturned because of changes in Florida case law impacting whether the driver has the rental agency’s consent to drive the car.

The court stated that “the exclusion substantially prejudiced GEICO,” and “a jury would no doubt find it exceedingly relevant that Florida law on implied consent was in a state of flux, or that a panel of Florida’s First District Court of Appeal and a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida supported GEICO’s conclusion regarding implied consent.”

Garcia petitioned the court for a panel rehearing in early September, asking the Eleventh Circuit that GEICO could not have been hindered by the judge’s order excluding legal rulings reached after the company denied coverage, arguing that those rulings were based on previous, cumulative decisions, making their exclusion harmless.

The Eleventh Circuit rejected all of Garcia’s requests in an order on September 22, 2015.

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008)

Miami Residents Arrested for Conducting $200K in Illegal Insurance Transactions

On September 4, 2015, two Miami residents Alina Del Prado, 60, and Karla Patricia Figueroa, 40, were arrested for deceptively using unsuspecting licensed insurance representatives’ licenses to defraud Florida consumers and illegally conducting more than $200,000 in insurance transactions while operating Quality Insurance Agency (Quality) in Hialeah, Florida.

The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) and the Department’s Division of Insurance Agent and Agency Services (A & A) began an investigation in the beginning of January 2014, which uncovered that Alina Del Prado allegedly submitted an insurance agency license application for Quality using a licensed agent’s name and license number unbeknownst to the agent. A & A conducted an inspection of the agency, which discovered that Del Prado was allegedly using the agent’s name and license number to fraudulently transact insurance business in numerous instances.

The investigation revealed that Del Prado hired Karla Figueroa, who allegedly illegally sold automobile insurance policies as an unlicensed customer representative. Figueroa also utilized an unsuspecting insurance representative’s name and license number to illegally obtain automobile insurance policies.

DIF investigators located the unsuspecting insurance agent and representative whose information was used and confirmed the unauthorized use of their information by Del Prado and Figueroa.

Alina Del Prado and Karla Patricia Figueroa were arrested with a combined bond in excess of $1 million. Del Prado faces over 300 felony charges including money laundering, identify theft, grand theft, transacting insurance without an insurance license, and scheme to defraud. Figueroa faces charges including identity fraud, transacting without an insurance license, and scheme to defraud charges.

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008)

Broward Health Offers $69.5 Million to Settle Federal Fraud Probe

Broward Health offered to pay $69.5 million to settle a four-year old federal investigation regarding allegations of massive Medicare and Medicaid fraud. According to an August 21, 2015 post by the, the settlement was offered on August 20, 2015 after a unanimous vote by Broward Commissioners.  The Commissioners offered no public explanation for their decision or how the settlement offer will affect Broward Health’s operations.

The federal investigation into Broward Health began in May 2011, when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agents subpoenaed Broward Health records regarding a number of doctors, including medical directors associated with the company’s orthopedic, sports medicine and cardiology practices. However, details of the government’s case against Broward Health remain secret. The only known information regarding the case is that the investigation started based on a complaint brought by an unidentified whistleblower.

Broward Health’s settlement offer, if accepted by the government, would be the second largest settlement offered by a large Florida hospital system for a federal probe.

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008)

Uber Leases Office Headquarters in Miami

Uber has chosen to open its Miami headquarters at Brickell City Tower. According to the South Florida Business Journal, Uber has signed a 9,333-square-foot lease in the 33-story tower at 80 S.W. 8th Street, which is located near Mary Brickell Village.

The ride-sharing service is currently operating in Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has expressed support for Uber and has stated that it should be specifically addressed by county regulations that do not hinder the business. However, Uber has announced that it will halt service in Broward County on July 31st because it said new regulations there imposed great difficulties on its business.

Uber’s new Miami headquarters reveals the companies’ plans to remain a key player in the Miami market.

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008)

Tampa Chiropractor arrested on Insurance Fraud Charges

Douglas Price was arrested for insurance fraud and three counts of patient brokering, according to a June 15, 2015 news story by ABC Action News. Investigators stated that Price had been under investigation for 8 months under suspicion of insurance fraud and patient brokering. Investigators focused on Price’s South Tampa and Auburndale clinics.

Price is accused of paying patients to seek unnecessary treatments at his clinics. According to investigators, Price would pay patients up to $1,000 each to seek unnecessary medical treatment at both clinics.

Investigators also arrested, Sonya Rivera, an employee of Price who is accused of recruiting patients, and assisting in the fraud.

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Filed under Fla. Stat. 627.736 (2008)