Christopher S. StrattonPartner/ West Palm Beach
Email Christopher at CStratton@hightowerlaw.net
“A man’s accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail”.
-John Foster Dulles
Chris Stratton was born and raised in northwestern New Jersey and relocated to the Sunshine State to attend Florida State University in Tallahassee. He obtained a degree in Media Communications and was employed by various media outlets. Chris also worked for the Florida state legislature.
Chris attended the University of Miami School of Law where he was named to the Dean’s List and earned academic honors in his “Litigation Skills” course, among others. He graduated cum laude in the top 20% of his class and was a member of two scholarly publications – the University of Miami Entertainment & Sports Law Review and the University of Miami Business Law Review.
Christopher has been aggressively litigating cases throughout Florida for over 15 years. He has been with the firm for over 13 of those years. From Jacksonville to Key West…from the Panhandle to Palm Beach, Chris effectively defends major corporations and insured individuals in various types of civil cases including: automobile negligence, construction defect, false imprisonment/malicious prosecution, industrial accidents, libel/slander/defamation, negligent security, premises liability, products liability, professional negligence, property damage, subrogation and insurance coverage issues, toxic torts, and wrongful death.
Chris is admitted to the Florida Bar, the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. He is a past committee member of the Torts & Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association. He was named to Florida Super Lawyer’s “Rising Stars” list six years in a row.
Chris resides in Wellington, Florida. Away from work, he likes to spend time with his family, follow college sports, play the guitar, listen to music and enjoy the wonderful Florida outdoors.
Malicious Prosecution & False Imprisonment // Prosecutor stopped for shoplifting
In Feb. 2005, the Plaintiff, a prosecutor with the U.S Attorney’s Office was stopped in a Publix Supermarket by the Defendant’s loss prevention personnel under suspicion of shoplifting. He allegedly took Astroglide and other items placing them in his blazer. After being questioned by store personnel the Plaintiff left the store before the police arrived. The Defendant’s loss prevention officer gave statements to the police and cooperated in the prosecution of the Plaintiff for retail theft and resisting a merchant. As a result of the allegations the plaintiff claimed he lost more than $2.4 Million in wages, benefits and retirement, plus additional damage to his reputation in the community. The plaintiff denied ever handling the products and explained he had found the empty boxes and discarded them on the floor. The criminal Judge found him “not innocent, but not guilty”.
The Plaintiff then filed this civil suit against U.S. Security Associates, Inc. claiming that the loss prevention officer lied about seeing a theft and lied to the police and the criminal court. He claimed to be intimidated and imprisoned when being questioned by store personnel. He also asserted a civil RICO claim alleging that Publix, Wackenhut and U.S. Security had a practice of extorting money from suspected shoplifters by using a “civil recovery” process to levy civil fines. The Defense won Summary Judgment on the civil RICO claims and proceeded to trial on the malicious prosecution and false imprisonment claims. The Defense highlighted the Plaintiff’s illogical and suspicious story, and further asserted that it had probable cause at all times to believe that a theft had occurred.
TRIAL RESULT: DEFENSE VERDICT.
ESTATE OF JOHN DOE vs. Publix
Tractor trailer pedestrian death on Interstate highway (Charlotte County)
In the darkness of an early Florida morning, the Decedent, a 35 year-old sales representative, was attempting to cross the southbound lanes of an Interstate highway on foot in rural Charlotte County, Florida. As he ran across the roadway, he was struck by a loaded tractor trailer traveling 65 MPH on its route to make deliveries. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the Decedent’s parents seeking loss of support from their son, emotional pain and suffering due to his death, and funeral expenses. The Decedent had a close bond with his parents and lived in their home as a caretaker for a mentally disabled relative. Insurance policy limits were demanded to settle the case.
The Defendant aggressively defended against the Plaintiff’s claims. Evidence was uncovered that the Decedent had been drinking alcohol prior to the accident. The Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and argued that there was no legal duty for the tractor trailer driver to avoid the accident under the circumstances since it was completely unexpected that the Decedent would run across an Interstate highway in complete darkness. The Defendant argued the collision was unavoidable and all reasonable evasive actions were taken.
TRIAL RESULT: Summary Judgment for the Defendant was granted! The Plaintiffs appealed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal claiming the issue of negligence should be a jury question, and whether the Defendant took appropriate evasive action. The appellate court affirmed the Summary Judgment in favor of the Defendant!
Estate of K.W. vs. Waste Collection Corporation – Settlement
The Deceased engineering technician perished from exposure to toxic landfill gases which were unexpectedly released at one of the largest landfills in the country . The Estate and surviving son demanded $10 Million, which included at least $1.4 Million in economic losses. Settled for $350,000 from our client.
M.V. vs. Italian Restaurant Franchise – Settlement
The Plaintiff slipped and fell on water near the bar of this restaurant suffering a cervical herniated disc with spinal cord compression which required a fusion surgery. She incurred in excess of $150,000 in past and future medical bills, and demanded $2.5 Million to settle. The case settled for $175,000.
Gail Warren vs. AVIS Rent A Car – Trial
The Plaintiff allegedly suffered a severe cervical disc herniation with spinal cord impingement requiring fusion surgery, in a motor vehicle accident for which our insured driver admitted negligence. The Plaintiff demanded $2.2 Million to settle. The jury returned a DEFENSE VERDICT, finding the subject accident did not cause her injuries.
R.S. v. Food Distribution Company, et al. – Settlement
The Plaintiff suffered a severe tear of his esophagus allegedly due to a metal foreign object in chicken distributed by the Defendant. He underwent multiple surgeries including a thoracotomy and repair of the esophagus. Complications occurred, including a bacterial infection, sepsis, pneumonia and renal failure, nearly causing the death of the Plaintiff. He incurred in excess of $330,000 in past medical bills and was hospitalized for two months on a ventilator and feeding tube. The Plaintiff demanded $1.875 Million to settle. Our client settled for $50,000.
Doreen Leonard vs. GMH Associates – Trial
The Plaintiff tripped and fell due to a faulty expansion joint in the concrete flooring of our client’s parking garage. She shattered her knee cap, underwent three surgeries, became inflicted with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), and incurred in excess of $120,000 in past medical bills. The Plaintiff demanded $1.75 Million. Settled for $105,000 on the third day of trial.
T.F. vs. Family Grocery Store – Settlement
The elderly Plaintiff tripped and fell allegedly due to an exposed pipe on the floor of this supermarket. He suffered a severe ulnar fracture, underwent multiple surgeries and developed complications and infections bearing in excess of $185,000 in past medical bills. Possible amputation of the limb was contemplated. He demanded $1.45 Million to settle the case. Settled at mediation for $150,000.
H.M. vs. National Steakhouse Franchise – Settlement
The elderly Claimant allegedly tripped and fell on debris in the parking lot at night, suffering hip and shoulder fractures requiring multiple surgeries including an eventual hip replacement. His medical bills exceeded $345,000 and he demanded $1 Million to settle. Settled for $35,000.
Joan Krogmann vs. Taco Bell – Trial
The Plaintiff tripped and fell on exposed rebar in the parking lot allegedly suffering fractured ribs and internal derangement of the knee requiring surgery. The Defendant admitted negligence. The Plaintiff’s past and future medical bills totaled approximately $100,000 and she demanded $300,000 to settle. The jury returned a verdict of $7,000, finding only minimal scrapes and bruises were actually caused by this accident.
NADIA MESSINA VS. WASTE MANAGEMENT – DISMISSED
The Plaintiff allegedly suffered a cervical disc herniation requiring two fusion surgeries due to a collision with a garbage truck. She demanded $250,000 to settle. After filing a Motion to Dismiss for Fraud based upon Plaintiff’s concealment of prior injuries to her neck, the case was ultimately DISMISSED in the Defendant’s favor.
Tiphanie Nicole Parra vs. Tutor Time Learning Center – Adjudicated
The four year old Plaintiff suffered a hand injury including permanent vascular damage from having her hand slammed in the day care bathroom door by another student. The Plaintiff claimed inadequate supervision by the Defendant day care and demanded $100,000. A DEFENSE JUDGMENT was obtained via Motion for Summary Judgment. The Plaintiff appealed the judgment to the 4th DCA and lost.