Month: June 2016

My Daughter Was Sexually Assaulted At College, What Can I Do?

If your daughter is sexually assaulted at college, there are things you can do to protect her and hold her assaulter liable for his crimes.

1) Ensure Her Safety and Health

If someone assaulted your daughter, your first thought may be to go after the person who did it. We will assist you with holding that person liable; however, as difficult as it may be, you first need to focus on ensuring your daughter’s safety and getting her the care she needs after such a traumatic event. This care may involve:

Talk to Police

Ask your daughter to report the assault to the police. If you are within driving distance, consider taking your daughter to the police station so she has support.

Your daughter should provide as much information as she can about the assailant and the assault. Make sure she knows to share everything, even if she thinks it is unimportant.

The attack will likely be difficult for your daughter to discuss, especially in front of one or both of her parents. While you likely want to stay with her every second to ensure her protection, you might consider leaving the room so she feels more comfortable discussing the attack and what led to it. Any details she gives the police can help convict her attacker and hold him liable.

Seek Immediate Medical Treatment

Make sure that your daughter goes to the emergency room or your family doctor. If your daughter is up to it, have her ask the doctor to perform a rape kit. This will involve a full workup from a medical professional that specializes in sexual assault examinations. The doctor will collect various samples (e.g., blood, bodily fluids, skin cells) for DNA testing.

Ask your daughter to avoid showering or changing clothes before going to the hospital to avoid destroying any evidence. Medical records and test results can be the evidence we need to hold the perpetrator liable for the assault.

Note: Your daughter can, and should, request both pregnancy and STD tests. However, she may have to wait a few weeks for infections or pregnancy to show up on a test.

Give Your Daughter the Support She Needs

A sexual assault is a terrifying experience. Make sure you support your daughter as much as possible. Make yourself available whenever she needs help and look for warning signs of substance abuse or self-harm.

Note: Remind her that it is not her fault. This is true regardless of what she was wearing or doing at the time, as well as who her attacker was and whether they had previously been intimate.

Seek Therapy

Sexual assault can have a serious impact on the victim and the victim’s family for years to come. Many victims suffer from depression, anxiety, insomnia, eating disorders, and other physical and emotional difficulties after the assault.

The victim’s family may also experience sadness, frustration, and guilt as a result of the attack. Therapy and psychological treatment can be the best way to handle some of these issues. The victim and victim’s family can also use these therapy sessions to work on their relationships and family unity.

2) Help Us Hold Your Daughter’s Attacker Responsible

When a young woman is the victim of a sexual assault, she has the option of filing a lawsuit against the perpetrator in civil court.

Civil court allows victims to recover financially from their assailant, regardless of whether the attacker faced a day in criminal court. It also allows family members to go after the attacker in a safe way.

When we file a civil lawsuit against your daughter’s attacker, we will prove his guilt by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that we must show that it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the crime. If your suit is successful, you and your daughter may recover damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and many other costs.

While we will handle the legal aspects of the case for you, if you have any evidence you think would be helpful, feel free to discuss it with us. Any photos or videos of the attack as well as any text messages between your daughter and her attacker can be vital to proving our case.

Note: Depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack, we might also be able to hold a third party, such as the school, liable.

Trust Your Case to Our Team

Sending your daughter off to college can be an exciting and emotional time. However, if someone assaulted your daughter, this experience can become a nightmare. Edwards Pottinger LLC understands that young victims of sexual assault are vulnerable and need as much support as possible.

By filing a lawsuit against the person responsible for this devastating act, your family can ensure the attacker pays for his crime and focus on your daughter’s recovery. Call 954-524-2820 to speak to a qualified attorney about your case.

Supreme Court’s Ruling in Spokeo Case Not Red Light for Consumer Class Claims

Spokeo-OfficesClass action practitioners and consumer rights watchdogs were anxiously anticipating last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins case. The court’s 6-2 vote to vacate the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and remand the case to determine whether plaintiff Thomas Robins indeed met the legal threshold for actual injury not surprisingly elicited strong reactions on whether the decision will have a chilling effect on future consumer class cases.

There is no doubt that the Spokeo ruling is a significant one that impacts many consumer class cases. In the majority opinion, the Supreme Court raised the bar for establishing injury. Robins brought the class action against Spokeo in 2010, alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). He claimed that Spokeo violated the FCRA by failing to “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of “information about his education history, current employment, wealth level and marital status published on the Spokeo website.  In addition, he alleged that the publication of this inaccurate information violated the FCRA which entitled him to recover statutory damages.

The majority of the Supreme Court ruled that constitutional standing requires a “concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation”.  In other words, a claimant does not have standing – court access — to pursue a procedural violation of a statute that does not cause a concrete injury.  The Supreme Court found that the appellate court’s analysis was not complete.  Accordingly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will now review the case to determine if Robins’ claims are concrete and may go forward.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, attorneys and claimants will likely exercise scrutiny in determining whether claims satisfy the standing requirements articulated by Spokeo. But the ruling is not a red light for consumer class actions. Several post-Spokeo rulings have found that plaintiffs’ claims sufficiently alleged concrete injury, satisfied standing requirements and may go forward.  Accordingly, we expect consumers to have continued access to the courts, to pursue claims under a host of federal consumer protection statutes like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and the FCRA.

EP partner Seth Lehrman litigates class actions in state and federal courts in Florida, California and across the United States. He represents consumers and businesses in class action and whistleblower cases to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable. He can be reached at [email protected] or at (954) 524-2820 during business hours on Eastern Standard Time.