Photo of Litigation Blog Ian P. Singer isinger@smsm.com
954.765.1001
Ian Singer is an associate in the firm's Ft. Lauderdale office. His practice includes insurance defense, general liability, commercial real estate, municipal law and …

Showing 4 posts by Ian P. Singer.

Retro-Fitting Reservations: The Re-Opening of Restaurants Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis

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The restaurant business, a staple of American life. Eating out offers the opportunity to skip the cooking, be waited on and enjoy a variety of foods you would not otherwise prepare at home. Restaurants also provide the venue for those special occasions with friends and family - birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other memorable events. The establishments providing these services are known not just for their food, but for their ambiance, entertainment and social value. However, as the COVID-19 Coronavirus began impacting the United States, governments of the various states immediately took action to stem the spread of the virus. First and foremost, social distancing measures were implemented to ensure that individuals maintained a "safe and healthy distance" from one another - this required restaurants to immediately close their doors to the public. During the pandemic, restaurants began to adapt and allowed patrons to purchase food "to go", albeit via delivery or pick-up, but pick-up mostly required people to remain outside while employees, donned in surgical masks and gloves, brought the food to your car. Where does this leave us now? As the various states begin to "re-open," will restaurants return to what we consider "normal" or will the dynamic of the restaurant industry change in an effort to keep its employees and customers safe, and prevent liability for the unintentional transmission of COVID-19 or any other disease? After all, eating is one activity that cannot be accomplished whilst wearing a mask. More »

Florida's Religious Re-Opening: Guidance For Faith Based Institutions To Mitigate Liability In Epidemic/Pandemic Events

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The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the daily lives of Floridians in every capacity - from socialization to merely shopping for groceries. However, one of the most salient affects has been on the ability of Floridians to gather for religious purpose and prayer. Mass gatherings of any kind were limited or prohibited throughout Florida and the ability to physically gather for religious purposes was hindered dramatically. As Florida begins to systematically re-open places of gathering (i.e. parks, boat ramps, recreational facilities) on a piecemeal basis, religious institutions are beginning to plan for their re-openings as well. Part and parcel of this planning is the need to mitigate liability should a congregant, employee or other individual contract the virus whilst inside the premises of a religious institution. This note focuses on the standard of care utilized in Florida, and the methodologies a religious institution may utilize to meet and exceed that standard of care necessary in order to raise a viable defense to any claim alleging negligence or liability on the part of the religious institution. More »

Malpractice Mitigation: Utilizing Professional Standards as a Defense to Claims of Negligence in Epidemic/Pandemic Events

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been one constant--uncertainty. What we think we know is in a state of flux as we gain more and more first-hand knowledge of how the virus operates. This, understandably, leads to confusion in which our understanding of how to stay healthy and safe remains somewhat illusive, for both medical professionals and laypeople alike. There is a daily sea of information and sound bites provided by the media, elected officials, and local and national health professionals; information that is sometimes contradictory. Medical professionals must wade through information daily in order to improve upon the practice and treatment of their ill patients. This begs an important question: What does it mean to the medical professional providing critically-needed medical services when the typical best practice "rules," protocols and standards simply do not fully exist yet due to the "novel" nature of COVID-19?

            While the potential for liability exists for all physicians on a day-to-day basis, this potential increases exponentially with the onset of an epidemic, pandemic or the occurrence of a disaster, whether natural or manmade and even more so when that pandemic involves a new and novel pathogen. For the purposes of this article, the authors focus exclusively on the potential liability borne by physicians and other medical professionals during those times in which their patients are exposed to and/or infected by a disease due to an epidemic/pandemic event such as the present novel COVID-19 crisis. More »

Staying Afloat: Berthing a Liability Defense to COVID-19 Claims

Cruise lines are once again in the line of fire as another pathogen wreaks havoc around the globe. As the number of COVID-19 (otherwise known as the “Coronavirus”) infections accelerates globally, the cruise industry may be one of the virus’ largest victims. At present the Grand Princess, which has been on lockdown is set to dock in California, after which its passengers will be transported and quarantined at a military facility as a result of the positive Coronavirus findings onboard. Meanwhile, a second Princess cruise ship—the Caribbean Princess will remain anchored offshore of Fort Lauderdale until further notice while two crew members are tested for the Coronavirus. The Regal Princess was finally allowed to dock in Fort Lauderdale after two of its crew tested negative for the virus. More »

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