Leesfield Scolaro Instrumental in Creating Law Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detector in Hotels
Ira H. Leesfield and Thomas Scolaro were instrumental in implementing the new Carbon Monoxide legislation to protect unsuspecting consumers and vacationers. Five months after a terrible ordeal which cost the life of 26-year-old Thomas Lueders due to carbon monoxide poisoning while vacationing at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort in Key West, Florida's Legislature adopted a bill requiring all new commercial construction with boiler rooms to have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
With this new legislation, Florida becomes the eighth (8th) State to mandate that commercial buildings be equipped with CO detectors. This was the first attempt at passing the new bill, but because of Lueders' death and the efforts of former Florida Justice Association (FJA) President Ira Leesfield, Senate Bill 1822 was adopted. Specifically, the bill requires any public lodging establishment with a boiler room in the same area as a sleeping room install one or more CO detectors. Construction permitted in 2008 must have a carbon monoxide alarm installed within 10 feet of each sleeping room.
Ira H. Leesfield fought for this critical new legislation after he took the cases of 25 people who suffered CO poisoning while vacationing at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort just a week before Lueders' death. After speaking with his clients, he quickly realized that everyone wanted to stop future cases of CO poisoning. Five months later, this new law is now a reality.
This tragedy is not the first one of its kind that Leesfield Scolaro has had to face across six decades of practice. Among the nation's leading trial lawyers, Ira H. Leesfield has successfully represented victims of toxic poisoning and gas leaks in hotels, motels and resorts for over thirty-five years. Because of the firm's office locations in Key West and South Beach, they are frequently presented with tragedies involving gas and toxic fume leaks in tropical settings. The firm has maintained its office in Key West's historic old town since 1986.
Thomas Scolaro took on a University when a visiting student spent the night in a college-owned off-campus house that was solely equipped with gas appliances, including a gas furnace. The next morning, our client was rushed to the hospital after she was found in bed completely lethargic and unresponsive. Her carboxyhemoglobin level reached 24.8% (normal range is 0-5%) which confirmed carbon monoxide poisoning. The Fire Department determined that the exhaust pipe for the gas furnace was not exhausting the carbon monoxide, and instead it led to a build up throughout the house. Thomas Scolaro discovered during this case that the university, to save a few bucks, had sent in-house employees to do maintenance work on the house days before the incident.
One of the most well known successes by the firm was the case of Barbee v. Old Island Fumigation Co., where an exterminator negligently allowed toxic fumes to seep into adjacent structures. The case became a landmark decision in Old Island Fumigation Co. v. Barbee, when Florida's Third District Court of Appeal upheld the firm's obtaining a summary judgment on behalf of the victims.
Leesfield Scolaro has obtained numerous other verdicts and settlements of this type. In Schulz v. ABC Resorts, newlyweds were honeymooning at a resort. While they slept, gas from lines in their villa seeped into the building. When they turned on a light, the villa exploded. Both of these young people were horribly burned. The wife died days later. A multi-million dollar confidential settlement was obtained by the firm on behalf of the surviving victim.