June 4, 2024

Justice for Kids Achieves Three Top 50 Florida Verdicts

Fort Lauderdale, FLJustice for Kids, a division of Kelley Kronenberg, is pleased to announce the division and several of its attorneys have been recognized on Top Verdict’s list of the top 50 plaintiff’s jury verdicts obtained in Florida in 2023. These include:

  • $15 million verdict on behalf of a brain-damaged 8-year-old child in a damages case against DCF for negligent investigation
  • $13.5 million verdict in a negligent adoption case against Jewish Family and Community Services, Inc.
  • $4.5 million in damages in a wrongful death case involving the Broward Sheriff’s Office

Justice for Kids is a unique law practice dedicated to providing legal services to protect abused, disabled, and injured children in foster care and other child welfare settings in personal injury and negligence cases. The team also represents children who have been sexually abused as well as victims of sex trafficking.

Top Verdict is an online journal dedicated to compiling and publishing annual lists of the most significant financial recoveries obtained by U.S.-based attorneys/law firms on behalf of their clients nationwide. The list of the top 50 plaintiff jury verdicts comprises various case types that were tried in state or federal courts in Florida. View the complete list here.

Case Summaries

Justice for Kids Lead Partner Stacie Schmerling and Practice Group Partner Lisa Hoffman represented a young girl through her permanent guardian to obtain a $15 million verdict against the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) for negligently investigating abuse reports that her mother had abused drugs, endangering the child. The eight-year-old girl was tortured and suffered permanent traumatic brain injury and quadriplegia from repeated episodes of abusive head trauma and is now completely dependent on others for all aspects of her daily life.

Lead Partner Justin Grosz and Associate Jillian Tate represented the adoptive parents of a young boy with special needs who were awarded $13.5 million in damages against Jewish Family and Community Services, Inc. (JFCS) for negligently misrepresenting and failing to disclose material facts related to his history during the adoption process. The jury found that JFCS acted with wanton and willful disregard for the human rights and safety of the family and adoptive child.

Grosz and Schmerling represented the father and grandmother of Makenzie Nevarez, a 6-month-old baby girl who suffered catastrophic injuries and passed away from blunt force trauma, to secure a jury verdict of $4.5 million in damages in a wrongful death case involving the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). The case alleged that the child protection investigator, under the auspices of BSO at the time, could have done more to investigate previous injuries further and keep Makenzie safe while in the care of her mother and her mother’s roommate. BSO was determined to be 58% responsible for the negligence, resulting in a judgment against them for $2.61 million.