Known by his team mates as “Nino”, Jose Fernandez loved every minute of his time playing baseball for the Miami Marlins. The team has shown deep support and solidarity after his death in a tragic boating accident in September. Now new reports suggest that Fernandez was driving the boat when it crashed and alcohol may have been a factor. However, the Marlins president, David Samson, maintains that the team will still continue to honor Fernandez’s legacy on the field.
“No matter what the report has concluded, nothing will ever diminish Jose’s everlasting positive connection with Miami and the Miami Marlins. Nor can it lessen the lover and passion he felt for his family, friends, teammates, and all of his fans in South Florida and around the world.”
As investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission continued to search clues in the crash, they eventually determined that Fernandez was likely traveling at speeds topping 65 miles per hour when the boat hit a jetty at Miami Beach. Blood tests revealed that Fernandez had traces of cocaine in his system and a blood-alcohol level of .147.
The report stated that Fernandez was directly responsible for the accident. “Fernandez operated the vessel with his normal faculties impaired, in a reckless manner, in the darkness of night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as the rock jetties and channel markers. Fernandez’s impairment and manner of operation caused the accident, which resulted in his death and the death of his occupants, Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Macias.”
The FFWC report went on to say that Fernandez would have likely been charged with manslaughter had he survived the crash. The families of both Rivero and Macias have filed wrongful death lawsuits against Fernandez’s estate. The families are seeking $2 million in damages. The estimated value of the Fernandez estate is only reportedly worth $2-3 million, which is currently being divided between his mother and girlfriend. Fernandez was expecting a child at the time of his death and his girlfriend recently gave birth to a daughter.
Despite the terrible details that continue to emerge about the accident, the Marlins have continued to celebrate Fernandez and honored him by wearing his number “16” on their jerseys throughout this season.
Fernandez’s attorney and longtime friend, Ralph Fernandez, condemned officials for releasing toxicology reports since there was no active criminal investigation on the case. HE also argued that there was evidence that Fernandez might not have been driving since he was on the phone at the moment of impact and the person he was talking to remembers him directing the driver to go left away from the shore.
“There are still many unanswered questions in this tragedy,” said Tampa wrongful death attorney Christopher Ligori. “Hopefully the families of the victims can reach some sort of settlement without spending months in court reliving the horror of the accident again and again. Ultimately, no one benefits from long and drawn out court cases.”
When people make an appointment with a doctor, they expect to receive trustworthy, responsible care. Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens. According to a new report in the Washington Post, medical mistakes have reached an all-time high, ranking as the third leading cause of death in the nation. The report came after careful research from prestigious medical establishments including the John Hopkins School of Medicine. So just how often do people die from medical errors? It’s probably way more often than you think. There are 700 deaths every day from medical malpractice.
Professor Martin Makary form Johns Hopkins said the high incidence of medical mistakes comes from both “bad doctors” and from a breakdown in communications between medical establishments as patients are transferred from one place to another. “It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care.”
It’s a terrible phenomenon that is leaving people afraid to visit the doctor. When you’re more likely to die from the care you receive than from the illness you are facing, our healthcare system has descended to an all-time low. Negligence in hospitals has become an epidemic. Between understaffed facilities and undertrained staff, it’s a recipe for disaster at many healthcare institutions across America.
Despite the prevalence of medical malpractice, it’s a subject that doesn’t get much attention from the national media. There are not enough safeguards in place to prevent patient harm and the laws to protect people are severely lacking in many states. For instance, Florida laws prevent medical malpractice lawsuits in cases where a patient is single and doesn’t have any children. This means a parent can watch an adult child die from blatant medical neglect or errors and there is nothing they can legally do to seek justice or to stop the same hospitals or doctors from hurting future patients.
Medical malpractice is a contentious subject among lawmakers, with lobbyists from pharmaceutical companies and insurance agencies muddying the waters and preventing any real and effective reform to the healthcare system. Doctors paint medical malpractice lawsuits as frivolous and the media continues to ignore the growing problem with bad hospitals and bad doctors. Research also shows that it’s increasingly difficult to find an attorney who will handle medical malpractice claims. In fact, nine out of ten patients who become victims of medical negligence or mistakes are unable to find an attorney to represent them, making it nearly impossible to file a lawsuit.
This leaves Americans struggling with huge medical debts and growing health problems. It’s a problem of epidemic proportions that will not change until lawmakers take action and really hold healthcare providers accountable for their mistakes.
“Medical malpractice cases are always complicated and difficult,” said Tampa attorney Christopher Ligori. “However, attorneys have a real duty to look at what’s happening in the healthcare industry and become advocates for innocent patients who are being harmed by medical professionals who are making senseless mistakes.”
When CBS News visited Pinellas County Jail, they never expected inmate Anton Stragaj to be quite so outspoken. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and your typical prison-issue sneakers, Stragaj was more than happy to answer questions about his alleged crime. “I made a few mistakes,” he admitted. “But I never killed a man.”
Stragaj has been charged with first-degree murder. He is accused of killing a 74-year-old physician, Dr. Steven Patlin Schwartz. The doctor was discovered dead in his home in 2014. Prior to the death, Stragaj was working as a handyman on the property. Police believe he shot and stabbed the doctor. When reporters questioned the man about the doctor’s death, he gave a clear and direct answer. He told reporters that the doctor’s own wife, Rebecca Schwartz, was responsible for the murder.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that Mrs. Schwartz has been mentioned as a potential suspect. According to investigators, she came home on the night of the murder and went straight to her bedroom. She noticed several drawers open and called 911. She reported missing cash and jewelry. The dispatcher instructed her to wait outside until help arrived. Police dogs located her husband’s body at the bottom of the stairs near the garage. Investigators said he had been stabbed multiple times and shot twice through the back of his head.
Stragaj was arrested for the murder eleven months later, but he believes he was set up. He remembers Mrs. Schwartz having a fight with her husband that day. He said he entered the home from the garage and saw the doctor’s body. He checked to see if he was alive and realized the man was already dead. He did not call police because he was afraid he would get in trouble because he was still working on getting a green card.
Stragej said he saw the knife in Mrs. Schwartz’s bag and even confronted her about it. “I hope the truth will come out,” he said. “I wish there was someone who could see through me right now and bring the truth out. I’m not guilty of murder. I’m guilty for not calling the cops.”
Other family members have also faulted Mrs. Schwartz for the doctor’s death. In fact, James Schwartz, the doctor’s brother, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the widow on behalf of the doctor’s three children. The lawsuit claims that Mrs. Schwartz and Stragaj were working together, conspiring to murder the doctor in order to gain control of his $10 million estate.
“There are still so many unanswered questions in this case,” said Tampa wrongful death attorney Christopher Ligori. “Throughout Mr. Stragaj’s trial and the wrongful death lawsuit, more details will undoubtedly immerge and give us a much clearer view of what happened on that fateful day.”
For now, Mrs. Schwartz is still maintaining her complete innocence in the crime, despite the accusations of Stragej and suspicion from family members. More details on this case will be available as the case moves towards trial.
Homeowners that suffer the painstaking process of foreclosure have to go though financial hell for well a year before they can attempt to firmly stand on their feet again. First, they suffer from loss of their home and relocation as a result of it. Next they struggle to crack the case of reestablishing their credit because it’s been diminished. And lastly, as they struggle with the former. Something arrives in the mail in the form of a 1099C or 1099A that’s issued by the creditor for cancellation of debt. As they let out a sigh of relief for their salvation. They realize the tax issue they need to resolve is just another one hurdle they need to jump in order to get to where they once were.
Just like a curse masked as a blessing
At these moments we really need to stop and ask ourselves what debt forgiveness truly is. To understand it, we must first know what the meaning of the letter issued with “1099” truly is. Well it just happens to be that some lenders have to give you a 1099 after a short sale or foreclosure. This means that they were unable pay the full debt, and it’s on you to pay the differences. That is the reason you’re receiving a 1099 market “A” or “C” which you are obligated to report to the IRS. This 1099 informs you that your debts have been forgiven. But at the cost of reporting it as income so that it can be taxed appropriately.
On the other hand, Bankruptcy can present itself as an alternative for homeowners who lost their investment property. It’s designed in a way to help the consumer with the various issues he might encounter along the way of financial struggle. But be careful, because even though you filed for bankruptcy, 1099 may not be an option. This is influenced by the amount of time you waited before filing for bankruptcy. And how quickly you acted after the foreclosure took place.
But don’t jump the gun just yet, because bankruptcy may not be the perfect solution for everyone’s situation. The lender may focus only on their gain. And loss and they might not be reporting the dollar amount as precisely. Have an open mind and know what your options are in order to restore your legal right by acting against the creditors. Bankruptcy works in a way where if the debt is discharged, you’re not suppose receive a 1099. More often than not they will choose to ignore that part of the bargain, which cause real problems for you. Get legal help in order to address this issue adequately.
Upon receiving of a 1099, it’s important that you see help from a tax professional. There’s a possibility that there are law that enforce homeowner protection from the taxation of this phantom income. But it’s not a rare case that the lender has up to five years to go after a home owner for deficiency. This gives them a time frame of five years to decide if they’re going to sue. You for the amount they failed to collect while execution the short sale.