Paralysis Victim Uses Record Jury Award to Give Back

Published: July 24, 2007  |  Source: themiamiproject.org
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Family of Man Confined to a Wheelchair and Attorneys Donate $1 Million to The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A man left forever disabled after a medical misdiagnosis, his family and the attorneys who helped them find justice have teamed up to donate $1 million to an organization working to find a cure for paralysis.

Announcement of this gift to The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis was made today by the victim, Allan Navarro, his family, and the trial team of Steve Yerrid, Rich Gilbert and David Dickey.

Accepting the donation was Marc Buoniconti, whose father, NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti helped found both The Buoniconti Fund and The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after his son Marc was paralyzed during a college football game. “It’s the generosity of people like the Navarros and their attorneys who are helping to push the dream of finding a cure for paralysis a little closer to reality,” said Marc Buoniconti.

Of this $1 million donation, $600,000 comes from Mr. Navarro, and $200,000 from each of the law firms who represented him – The Yerrid Law Firm and the law firm of de la Parte & Gilbert.

Speaking from a statement composed by Allan Navarro, for whom saying even a few words aloud is exhausting, was his brother-in-law Ed Bilbao. “I, my wife and my family join today with those who contribute to The Buoniconti Fund and with doctors, scientists, clinicians and researchers in the Miami Project to provide hope for millions of people worldwide paralyzed by spinal cord injury,” Mr. Bilbao read.

Also among those present at the donation ceremony was Scott Carruthers, executive director of The Florida Justice Association (FJA), an organization dedicated to strengthening and upholding Florida’s civil justice system and protecting the rights of Florida’s citizens and consumers. “Bringing justice and hope to those who need it is the kind of thing FJA members like Steve Yerrid, Rich Gilbert and David Dickey fight for on a daily basis,” commented Carruthers. “This gift is a perfect example of how FJA members and their clients go beyond the courtroom to help others in their communities.”

A Florida jury last fall awarded nearly $217 million to Mr. Navarro, who was left brain-damaged and quadriplegic after an unlicensed physician’s assistant at Tampa’s University Community Hospital misdiagnosed a stroke as a common sinus infection.

The award was the largest of its kind in Florida history, and the third largest in U.S. history.

The Yerrid Law Firm is a specialty firm concentrating in civil trial practice. Consisting solely of trial lawyers, the firm represents individuals and their families in areas ranging from personal injury, wrongful death, medical negligence, product liability, premises liability and maritime to complex commercial litigation matters. Steve Yerrid has been chosen by Lawyers USA, Law Dragon, National Law Journal and various legal organizations as one of the best trial lawyers in the country. The law firm has become nationally known for obtaining significant verdicts in cases that have had lasting impacts on society.

de la Parte & Gilbert was founded in 1975 and is based in downtown Tampa. The law firm has been involved in shaping much of the law that affects Florida’s environmental, health, social services and governmental policies. The firm serves a diverse portfolio of state, national and international clients. While its lawyers practice in over 20 areas of law, the firm focuses primarily on Business Transactions, Environment, Government, Health Law, and Litigation.

The Buoniconti Fund: In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D. and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick’s son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. Today, The Miami Project is the world’s largest, most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center and is based at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Miami Project’s international team of over 200 scientists and clinicians take innovative approaches to the challenge of spinal cord injury. Committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again, the Buoniconti family established The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis in 1992, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting The Miami Project achieve its national and international goals. The Buoniconti Fund serves as the national fundraising arm of The Miami Project. It is designed to complement the scientific accomplishments of The Miami Project by generating funds and high levels of awareness.

Contacts

The Yerrid Law Firm, Tampa
Paul Abercrombie, 813-220-8216
or
The Buoniconti Fund
Scott Roy, 305-243-8939