FL: "Exonerated stand-your-ground defendant faces wrongful death suit"

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by Mr. Blandings, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Mr. Blandings

    Mr. Blandings

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    http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts...efendant-faces-wrongful-death-suit-in/1071783

    Exonerated stand-your-ground defendant faces wrongful death suit in Hillsborough County (Tampa, FL)
    By Dan Sullivan, Times Staff Writer
    Posted: Feb 08, 2010 08:55 PM

    TAMPA — The mother of a man whose death was ruled justified under Florida's "stand-your-ground" law filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday against the man who shot her son.

    A civil complaint in Hillsborough Circuit Court alleges that Charles Podany, 49, acted "with reckless disregard" when he shot 24-year-old Casey Landes on Feb. 29, 2008 in a neighborhood dispute.

    Landes's mother, Ruby Landes, seeks damages in excess of $15,000 from Podany as well as the condo association of Bay Hills Village in Thontosassa, where the incident took place, and its managing authority, The Vanguard Management Group, Inc.

    A judge tossed out a manslaughter charge against Podany last September, siding with his attorneys, who argued that Podany fired in self defense and therefore was immune from prosecution under the law.

    Podany had been bicycling through the neighborhood near his Bay Hills Circle home on the night of the incident when he asked a man in a fast-driving pickup truck to slow down, according to sheriff's and court records. After Podany and the driver spoke with each other, Landes, who was a passenger in the truck, approached and began beating Podany.

    Podany fell to the ground. Landes jumped on top of him. That's when Podany retrieved his .40-caliber Glock and shot Landes in the head, killing him, according to records.

    A toxicology report later showed Landes had a blood alcohol level of 0.28 at the time of his death. Florida law presumes driver is impaired with a level higher than 0.08.

    "I was really a victim in this whole thing," Podany said in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times Monday. He expressed dismay that the incident was being portrayed as a "wrongful death.''

    Podany added that he was unaware the suit had been filed, and declined to discuss the details of the fatal encounter until he had a chance to review the civil complaint.

    The complaint alleges that Podany was known to never leave his home without a firearm, and had previously brandished the weapon in a threatening manner. It also alleges that Podany posed a danger to the general public and that Bay Hills failed to prevent or eliminate the danger.

    Ruby Landes could not be reached for comment. A message left with her attorney Monday was not returned.

    Times researcher John Martin contributed to this story.

    [Last modified: Feb 08, 2010 08:55 PM]
     
  2. BobbyT

    BobbyT

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    "Your Honor, there was nothing 'accidental' about his death. I quite purposefully shot the drunk when he went from reckless driving to attacking me, and I'm very glad I leave the house with my pistol every day instead of only occasionally."
     

  3. onadraw

    onadraw

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    I'm surprised the Judge didn't make this go to trial for possible excessive force.
     
  4. Nords

    Nords

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    :upeyes:

    Just looking for money from anyone she thinks will give her some.
     
  5. NAS T MAG

    NAS T MAG

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    This is exactly why, if you carry, you have an umbrella policy. If you don't have one and have any material assets, you are at risk.

    I'm surprised the suit was $15,000, not $1,500,000.

    Don't be stupid, get insurance. Just defending himself is going to cost a lot of money.
     
  6. hatidua

    hatidua

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    I suspect there was a long line of lawyers at her door begging to be the one to go after anything they could get.
     
  7. 4TS&W

    4TS&W 2A RKBA 4EVER

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    He should countersue her for not keeping that son of a witch of her's on a leash. :) $15,001 sounds about right.

    Also.. make it a rightful death suit.. I thought stand your ground protected you civilly as well as criminally??? Shouldn't this get tossed?
     
  8. HandyMan Hugh

    HandyMan Hugh NRA Life Member

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    How to begin? Florida does have a "Stand Your Ground" law. Under that law, a defender can't be sued by his assailant, or his dead assailant's family, if the authorities determine that it was a righteous shooting.

    Further, IF an action is filed against the defender anyhow, and the judge determines that the filing is contrary to the law, the defandant (defender) will have all of his legal costs reimbursed.

    Here's a link to the law in english, not legalese.



    http://www.cfif.org/htdocs/freedomline/current/in_our_opinion/florida-self-defense-law.htm
     
  9. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

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    the reason the suit is 15K is so someone will give her 5K for a payoff instead of paying their lawyer 10K to fight it.

    the reason it's ONLY 15K is no lawyer in his right mind wants the case.
     
  10. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford mmhmm

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    He was driving? That's not how I read it. Stupid facts.. always in the way.
     
  11. TACC GLOCK

    TACC GLOCK SEMPER FIDELIS

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    How is this excessive force? He is in the process of getting his $$$ beat so he pulls his weapon & fires, regardless of where it hits the assailant , he wants to stop the threat, and he did.
     
  12. onadraw

    onadraw

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    I'm not saying that I think its excessive force. I said I'm surprised that the Judge didn't make it go to trial to see if a jury would find that this was excessive force.

    The Officer on the scene felt it was excessive force and the Prosecutor apparently agreed.

    I have a very cynical view of our legal system in that sometimes legislation seems to come from the courts of liberal minded Judges.
     
  13. LongGoneDays

    LongGoneDays Misanthropical

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    Oh lord sue that bastard for all he's got!


    With what, snipers?
     
  14. c5367

    c5367 Esq.

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    Given the very clear statutory grounds for dismissal AND the fee shifting clause in that same statute, this case has 0 settlement value. The mother's lawyer is an idiot.
     
  15. HandyMan Hugh

    HandyMan Hugh NRA Life Member

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    The judge apparently disagreed with the officer on the scene and the prosecutor, and declared it to be a justifiable shooting. Perhaps (speculation on my part here) the judge reasoned that a jury would acquit Mr. Podany and the state would then have to pay ALL of his legal expenses. So why take up valuable court time, and probably lose a jury trial, and pay Mr. Podany's lawyers. It was probably a JUDGEment call!

    IIRC both Florida and Washington have that provision in their law. If the state loses, the state pays. Too bad there aren't more (as in all) states with that provision.
     
  16. kensteele

    kensteele

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    Ouch, I thought that particular law prevented the civil lawsuit, not simply provide a remedy. That sucks but I'm not supposed to know, not my state and I'm not lawyer.
     
  17. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    I hope this guy wins, puts that woman in debt for the rest of her life to cover his legal fees, and immediately moves to start seizing any assets to satisfy her debt to him.

    The Lawyer that filed it should be just as culpable as the client, if you ask me.

    IGF
     
  18. High Altitude

    High Altitude

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    Only 15k.............. talk about a fishing expedition to get some quick, easy money.

    Most likely this settles out of court and her lawyer is going to end up with the lions share.
     
  19. Bado

    Bado

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    He should get a team of very expensive lawyers to defend him.
     
  20. Moonfish

    Moonfish CLM

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    The pickup driver, also the attacker's best friend, will not make a good witness for Mom.


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stand-your-ground defense clears Thonotosassa bicyclist in fatal shooting
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/stand-your-ground-defense-clears-thonotosassa-bicyclist-in-fatal-shooting/1032920

    By Kevin Graham, Times Staff Writer
    In Print: Wednesday, September 2, 2009

    TAMPA — Charles Podany wanted to protect his neighborhood from speeders.

    On Feb. 29, 2008, he bicycled through Thonotosassa's Bay Hills Circle community and asked a fast-driving man in a pickup truck to slow down.

    The encounter turned deadly after the driver's drunken friend began beating Podany, 49. As Casey Landes, 24, landed on top of Podany and readied his fist to strike again, Podany shot him in the head with a .40-caliber Glock.

    Hillsborough Circuit Judge Robert Foster agreed Tuesday to toss out Podany's manslaughter charge after his attorneys argued Podany fired in self-defense under Florida's "stand-your-ground" law and deserved immunity from prosecution. The law allows people to meet force with force when they feel threatened.

    Defense attorney Stephen Romine said Podany's case met the stand-your-ground test: Podany wasn't engaged in unlawful activity; he had a right to be there; and if he hadn't acted, he may have been seriously injured or killed.

    Foster heard testimony on the defense motion two weeks ago, including from Evin Aguayo, the pickup driver and Landes' best friend.

    Aguayo, 21, told investigators that Landes was the aggressor in the confrontation and that Podany never hit back.

    "You never saw (Mr. Podany) take a swing at him?" a sheriff's detective asked Aguayo.

    "Never," Aguayo responded, adding, "Not one time. Not one single swing."

    Romine included those excerpts of Aguayo's statements to detectives in his motion to dismiss.

    Before the deadly altercation, Aguayo said Podany approached him about speeding through the neighborhood.

    "I said, 'Well, I'm sorry sir. We won't do it again. Forgive me,' " Aguayo told detectives.

    As Podany peddled away on his bike, Landes appeared and began yelling at him. Aguayo said he tried to stop his friend. "Man forget about it," he told him.

    "It wasn't even a fight, it was one-sided," Aguayo said.

    Podany is 5 feet 8 and weighs 180 pounds. Landes was 6 feet 1 and weighed 192 pounds.

    "He's outsized, outmuscled," Romine said. "It's not going to be a fair fight in any capacity and the guy is just relentless trying to beat him."

    Aguayo told deputies his friend thought it was "cool to beat up an old man."

    A medical examiner's toxicology report determined that Landes' blood alcohol level was 0.28. State law presumes a person is impaired if his blood alcohol level is above 0.08. The toxicology report also revealed diazepam, or Valium, and hydrocodone in Landes' system.

    Landes had a conviction of aggravated battery in 2006 and was sentenced to a year and a day in state prison. He also had arrests for theft, battery and marijuana possession.

    Podany was charged with misdemeanor battery in 1994 and felony aggravated assault with a weapon in 1999. He pleaded no contest to the assault charge and adjudication was withheld, records show.

    He had a concealed weapons permit for his firearm.

    "The guy was scared, man," Aguayo said. "If he's got a license to carry the gun then … his right as an American is to carry that … gun. … He probably felt in fear for his life, man."

    The stand-your-ground law amended Florida's existing "Castle Doctrine," which allowed people to use deadly force to defend themselves and others in their homes against the threat of death or great bodily harm. The measure extended the right to public spaces, including the street or a business, and removed a duty to retreat before using deadly force.

    Cases that have been argued under the new law have met with mixed results. Foster, for example, refused in May to dismiss a murder charge against a Tampa tow company owner who shot a man accelerating toward him as the victim tried to reclaim his car.

    In that case, Foster decided that the threat of imminent danger had passed when Donald Montanez fired his .40-caliber pistol into the car, killing the driver. Montanez said he had seconds to jump to safety and feared for his life and an employee's life.

    His attorneys have filed an appeal.

    Times researcher John Martin contributed to this story. Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.
    [Last modified: Sep 01, 2009 10:43 PM]