Self Defense

[ Photo provided / Tampa Police Department ]

Three days after a jury found Tampa rapper Billy Bennett Adams III not guilty on a double-murder charge, a woman connected to him was murdered in her driveway.

After changing his story multiple times, Adams now says he committed the murder in self-defense. Will Adams be able to successfully claim self-defense in another murder charge?

Adams Claim Self-Defense & Acquitted on Two Counts of First-Degree Murder

On November 19, 2020, Tampa rapper Billy Bennett Adams III, known as Ace NH, was at a music studio in Lutz, Florida. With him in the small studio was the owner, Joseph Meeks and two other men who were there for a recording session. Two of the men wouldn’t make it out of the studio alive.

Adams admits to killing Trevon Albury and Daniel Thompson. He said he did it in self-defense.

Adams was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. During the trial, he took the stand and calmly explained what he believed happened that night, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

Adams said he could hear Albury and Thompson talking to each other about how they were going to rob Meeks. Adams said Albury pulled out a gun and pointed it at the back of Meeks’ head. Adams said he then pulled out his gun and shot Albury once in the back of the head. Thompson reached for Adams’ gun so he fired two shots and killed him.

Adam told a compelling story of self-defense on the stand of his trial — and the jury believed him.

On January 27, 2023, a jury found Adams not guilty. The jury believed Adams killed the two men in self-defense.

Just three days later, another person close to Adams was found dead.

Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

Adams Lies About Whereabouts on the Night of Another Murder

Alana Sims, a 22-year-old pregnant mother, was found dead lying next to her SUV in her driveway on January 30, 2023. She had been shot in the head. Her toddler was asleep and unharmed in the vehicle next to her.

An unidentified witness said Sims was planning to attend a party the night of her murder. She was invited to celebrate her boyfriend’s recent acquittal on murder charges. The alleged boyfriend was Adams.

In initial questioning, Adams told police he knew Sims but didn’t know she was dead. He claimed he hadn’t seen or spoken to her in weeks. He also said he had been home the night of January 30.

But footage from Sims’ subdivisions proved otherwise.

According to reporting by the Tampa Bay Times, surveillance videos from Sims’ subdivision show a black Chevrolet Malibu, with a license tag registered to Adams’ father, entering the subdivision at 7:22 p.m. on January 30. Footage shows Sims’ vehicle entering the subdivision at 7:36 p.m. and Adams’ vehicle leaving at 8:21 p.m.

Footage from Adams’ gated community shows the same vehicle leaving at 7:10 p.m. and returning at 8:32 p.m. Upon searching the Chevrolet Malibu, police found two live 9mm bullets.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

Adams Changes His Story

After being confronted with the evidence, Adams changed his story.

He said he’d been out with friends the night of Sims’ murder and showed police a video he said he had taken that night.

Later, police would determine that the video had been recorded at a different time and day.

They would also find text messages that show Adams talking to another woman about his disappointment over Sims’ pregnancy. Texts said, “Tomorrow dis s— done” and “I meant wat I said. We finna have OUR life. … And it don’t include ha a–.”

Adams was arrested and charged with first-degree murder charge and with killing an unborn child by injury to the mother.

Adams Changes His Story Again & Claims Self-Defense Again

Once in police custody, Adams changed his story again.

According to reporting by the Tampa Bay Times, Adams again claimed self-defense.

Adams now says he met Sims at her home at which time she pulled a gun on him. He said he wrestled the gun away from her and shot her. He said he then drove home and threw the gun away. Adams also admitted he knew Sims was pregnant and that he may be the father.

There are laws in Florida that protect people who use deadly force when they feel their life is threatened.

Often referred to as Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Florida Statute 782.02 says, “The use of deadly force is justifiable when a person is resisting any attempt to murder such person or to commit any felony upon him or her or upon or in any dwelling house in which such person shall be.”

If Adams goes to trial, he will again attempt to convince another jury that he committed murder in the act of self-defense.

Get Expert Legal Advice

If you have questions about a legal matter, talk to an experienced attorney right away. Every person deserves fair due process of the law. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case to make sure you get a fair and just outcome. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023 to schedule a call with TJ Grimaldi today.

A couple was married for 37 years when the loving wife brought a gun into her terminally ill husband’s hospital room and shot him. She said she was honoring his wishes, but now she is facing first-degree murder charges.

What does the law say about assisted suicide, euthanasia, and mercy killing? And what charges does the wife face for honoring her husband’s wishes?

What Happened in the Hospital Room?

Ellen Gilland, 76, and Jerry Gilland, 77, had been high school sweethearts. People close to them say they were a loving couple who were happily married for 37 years. But, their romance came to an end when Ellen Gilland brought a .38 revolver into Jerry Gilland’s 11th-floor hospital room and shot him, per reporting by the New York Times.

Jerry Gilland was reportedly facing a serious health condition, and he and his wife had made a pact. If his condition worsened, he wanted to die. He would do it himself, and if he didn’t have the strength, his wife — a former special education teacher — would do it.

On the day of his death, Jerry Gilland was not strong enough to hold the revolver so his wife did it for him. Ellen Gilland reportedly fired the shot that killed him.

A Three-Hour Standoff Leads to an Arrest

Ellen Gilland fired the shot around 11:35 a.m. at AdventHealth hospital in Daytona Beach, Florida, killing her husband.

When police arrived, she refused to leave the room, later stating she was planning to turn the gun on herself. Ellen Gilland didn’t threaten to shoot anyone, but she didn’t put the gun down as police officers tried to negotiate with her.

A 3.5-hour standoff required patients and staff to be evacuated from the area.

Police finally detained Ellen Gilland around 3:00 p.m. after using a flash-bang device and a non-lethal round, according to reporting by The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Ellen Gilland was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

Wife Faces First-Degree Murder Charges

First-degree murder is the most serious murder charge in Florida. It is a Capital Offense defined by Florida Statute 782.04(1)(a) as murder that is either premeditated or committed while in the act of a felony.

Ellen Gilland appears to have planned her husband’s murder, making it premeditated.

The punishment for first-degree murder in Florida is life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.

Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

Florida Law on Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia, and Mercy Killing

Florida law bans forms of assisted suicide, euthanasia, and mercy killing.

Florida State Code 765.309 says, “Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or euthanasia, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.”

No information appears to have been released on Jerry Gilland’s prior medical condition or diagnosis, but even if he had been dying, Ellen Gilland committed a crime under Florida laws.

Even in states with Death With Dignity, Right to Die, or End of Life Options laws on the books, Ellen Gilland’s action would be considered illegal.

Denied Bond and Facing Serious Charges

Ellen Gilland remains in prison as a judge denied her request to be released on bond.

During the bond hearing, a psychiatrist and two of Ellen Gilland’s nieces testified on her behalf. The psychiatrist said he believed Ellen Gilland was no longer suffering from the depressive episode that led her to shoot her husband and that she was no longer a threat to herself or others.

Two of Gilland’s nieces testified and said Ellen Gilland was welcome to stay with them at their home. One niece said Jerry Gilland’s family supported Ellen Gilland’s pretrial release and that they had “no animosity” towards her.

But, the judge was not convinced.

He denied the request. “This is extremely sympathetic,” the judge said at the end of the hearing, but “the law in the state of Florida does not allow for a mercy killing.”

Related: The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys Have These 7 Qualities

Talk to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

When charged with crimes, it’s essential to have an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Whether facing a misdemeanor or a felony, you need a defense attorney to ensure that you get due process of the law and the best possible outcome. If you are facing criminal charges, talk to an experienced attorney today. TJ Grimaldi is here to help guide you through your case. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023 to talk to TJ today.

When Kim Kardashian and Kayne West announced their split, many speculated what the terms of their divorce might look like. Now, we know. Here are the terms of the divorce that include West paying $200,000 per month in child support.

A Brief History of Kardashian and West’s Relationship

In 2012, Kim Kardashian and Kayne West announced they were dating. The two had known each other since the early 2000s but officially started dating in April 2012. A little more than a year later, the couple welcomed their first child. The couple was then married in 2014 and welcomed three more children over the next five years.

Throughout the years, the couple had public rough patches that often put them in the news. The public incidents peaked in 2020 when West announced he was running for president of the United States.

In February 2021, Kardashian officially filed for divorce from West.

It had been previously reported that Kardashian and West had a prenuptial agreement. According to reports, the prenup outlined how the couple’s assets would be divided, but it didn’t include guidelines for child custody, child support, and spousal support.

Recently, those details were reported after the couple finalized their divorce.

Related: The Legal Case Behind Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Divorce   

The Details of Child Custody

According to details of the divorce settlement, Kardashian and West will share joint custody of their four children: North, 9; Saint, 6; Chicago, 4; and Psalm, 3.

Joint custody provides both parents legal custody, physical custody, or both. Legal custody grants a parent the right to make decisions about how the child will be raised and cared for. Physical custody grants a parent the right to have the child live with them.

While the settlement said each parent has “equal access,” it’s likely that Kardashian will live with the children a majority of the time. West has made comments stating that Kardashian is with the kids roughly 80% of the time.

Related: 5 Types of Child Custody and What They Mean for Your Family   

The Details of Child Support

The divorce settlement also stated that Kardashian will receive $200,000 a month from West for child support. West will also pay 50% of the children’s educational and security expenses.

In divorce cases that involve children, child support payments can be determined by the family, through mediation, or by a judge. It appears that West and Kardashian came to the agreement together. The settlement also included directions for what happens if either party has a dispute with the agreement in the future.

The settlement says if the couple has a dispute over their agreement, they must attend mediation. If either party fails to show up to mediation, the participating party becomes the decision-maker.

Related: 6 Ways to Prepare for Divorce Mediation

The Details of Spousal Support

Per the divorce settlement, neither West nor Kardashian will receive spousal support.

It was previously reported that both West and Kardashian requested a termination of the court’s ability to award spousal support back in April 2021. The recent settlement confirmed that the couple waived spousal support.

Related: 9 Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney Before Hiring Them 

The Details of Property Division

Kardashian and West had already come to an agreement on how to split their property per a prenuptial agreement. It was reported that their prenup stated:

  • Kardashian and West would each keep the individual assets they had when they entered the marriage
  • Kardashian and West would both keep the individual assets they acquired during their marriage
  • Kardashian would receive $1 million for each year she was married to West (capped at $10 million)
  • Their primary residence would be in Kardashian’s name
  • Kardashian would keep all of the jewelry and gifts given to her by West

Since the details of property division were already outlined, the couple only needed to resolve their family matters for the divorce to be finalized. Now, it appears that all details of their divorce are settled.

Related: What Happens After Divorce Papers Are Served?

How to Navigate a Complex Divorce

Divorce can be complicated. Between splitting up assets and coming to agreements on child support, child custody, and spousal support, a couple has a lot to think about.

If you’re going through a divorce, make sure you have a divorce attorney by your side who can help you consider all of your options and come out with the best possible outcome for everyone involved.

If you’d like to discuss your marital split, talk to TJ Grimaldi. TJ is an experienced family law attorney who can help you terminate your divorce while also setting up agreements for splitting up assets and creating arrangements for your family. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

Johnny Knoxville is known for his pranks. As the star of the “Jackass” franchise, Knoxville and his crew often perform pranks and stunts that put them in uncomfortable, embarrassing, or even dangerous situations.

But one of their pranks may have gone too far, and it led to a lawsuit.

What did Knoxville do, and will he be liable for damages?

A Prank Gone Too Far?

Khalil Khan is a freelance electrician in California who finds work through the Taskrabbit app.

According to Variety, Khan received a request to repair an electric dimmer switch at a private home. When Khan arrived at the home, he met a man who threatened to beat him up if he didn’t do the job right. Khan started to work on the dimmer switch when a lamp went out and a ten-year-old girl came into the room. The girl told him he made the power go out and killed her horse which was on life support in another room.

The ten-year-old was an actor involved in the prank put on by Knoxville and his team.

Khan was then brought into a room, which appeared to have a pony hooked up to machines. From there, Khan could see out the window, and his car was being towed. When Khan said he wanted to call the cops, a man pulled out a bag of white powder and told Khan he would get in trouble because his vehicle had cocaine in it.

Khan said he was “horrified” by the incident.

Knoxville eventually disclosed to Khan that he was being pranked. Knoxville was filming the prank for his new series “The Prank Patrol,” an ABC comedy series set to premiere in 2023.

Knoxville offered Kahn money for his participation, but rather than take the money, Khan filed a lawsuit.

Related: Types of Personal Injury Cases: Do You Have a Claim? 

Handman Files Emotional Distress Lawsuit

Khan filed a lawsuit in Long Beach Superior Court that alleges that he was put into a state of panic by the prank. He is seeking damages for emotional distress, worry, anxiety, and possible harm to his business reputation.

The lawsuit states, “In the span of just minutes, he had been threatened with being beaten up, told he botched the repair job, accused of murdering a pony, had his car taken without his permission, and was now being told that he would be arrested for possession of illicit narcotics.”

“He has been badly shaken and traumatized by this episode,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit claims that Khan has suffered lack of sleep, anxiety, and emotional distress. It is not clear what damages the lawsuit seeks.

Related: 6 of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Personal Injury 

Can You Sue for Emotional Distress?

The lawsuit is filed in California and will abide by California law. California allows victims to sue for infliction of emotional distress (IIED).

In Florida, a victim could file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to sue for emotional distress. While it can be more difficult to prove emotional injury than physical injury, victims can seek damages if the negligence of another party led to their suffering.

To win a case for emotional distress, the victim would need to prove fault for a personal injury case. The plaintiff would need to prove two things.

  • The defendant created a situation that led to emotional distress. The defendant intentionally created the situation or created the situation due to negligence.
  • The emotional distress led to damages. The distress led to compensation damages (such as the cost for medical bills, loss of earnings, etc.) and/or general compensatory damages, also known as “pain and suffering” compensation.

In Khan’s situation, he may have a case if he can prove that the prank led to emotional distress which needed to be treated by medical doctors or led to the loss of income. He may also be able to show that he lost business due to damage to his business reputation.

Khan and Knoxville could settle the case out of court, or the case will continue to wind its way through the legal system.

Related: Want to Sue for Personal Injury? Take These 4 Steps  

Fight for Your Rights

If you experience harm due to the negligence or maliciousness of another person, you deserve to be made whole. Whether the harm is physical or emotional, you can fight to get to what is owed to you.

Talk to a personal injury attorney about your options for collecting damages to recover from financial, physical, or emotional harm that was caused to you or your business.

To get answers to any of your personal injury questions, talk to TJ Grimaldi. TJ is an experienced personal attorney offering free consultations to discuss personal injury cases. Talk to TJ today about your case. Request your appointment or call 813-226-1023 now.

Tampa Police Chief Resigns

Screenshot from Pinellas Sheriff’s Office body camera video, via Tampa Police Department

After less than a year on the job, Tampa police chief Mary O’Connor resigned. Why did a minor traffic stop on a golf cart lead to her resignation?

What Happened During the Traffic Stop?

On November 12, 2022, Tampa police chief Mary O’Connor was riding in the front passenger seat of a golf cart. Her husband Keith  O’Connor was driving the golf cart on the road illegally in Pinellas County, a county neighboring Hillsborough County where Tampa is located.

The couple was pulled over by Pinellas sheriff’s deputy Larry Jacoby. Jacoby stopped the couple because they were driving on the road without the required license plate tag for a golf cart.

The encounter was caught on body cam footage.

In the video, the officer explains why he pulled the couple over. O’Connor pulls her badge from her pocket and presents it to the officer. She informs him that she is the Tampa police chief and says, “hoping that you’ll just let us go tonight.”

Near the end of the encounter, O’Connor apologizes to the deputy, gives him her business card, and says, “if you ever need anything, call me.”

The officer let the couple go without a ticket.

Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

The Repercussions After the Traffic Stop

Roughly two weeks after the traffic stop, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay submitted a public records request for the body camera footage of the incident from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

O’Connor knew there was footage from the traffic stop. During the video, she asks the officer if his body cam is on, and he replies that it is.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor was first notified about the incident once the footage was about to be released to the public, 18 days after the traffic stop. O’Connor notified Castor the day the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay the video would be released the next day.

The day the video was released, Castor ordered an internal affairs investigation, and the Tampa Police department released a statement which included comments from both O’Connor and Castor.

O’Connor said, “In hindsight, I realize how my handling of this matter could be viewed as inappropriate, but that was certainly not my intent. I knew my conversation was on video, and my motive was not to put the deputy in an uncomfortable position. I have personally called the Pinellas County Sheriff offering to pay for any potential citation.”

Castor said, “We hold everyone accountable, no matter their position, and this behavior was unacceptable. Chief O’Connor will go through the due process and face appropriate discipline.” Castor then opened an internal affairs review of the incident.

Not long after the release of the video, on December 5, 2022, O’Connor resigned. In a statement, Castor said it was “unacceptable for any public employee, and especially the city’s top law enforcement leader, to ask for special treatment because of their position.”

Assistant police chief Lee Bercaw was named interim police chief.

Beginning and Ending in Controversy

O’Connor’s ten months as Tampa police chief started and ended with controversy.

When O’Connor was named as a police chief in March, many people were upset about the decision. In 1995, when O’Connor (known then as Mary Minter) was a rookie police officer in Tampa, she disrupted a traffic stop. She was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for a suspected DUI. The driver (who was also a Tampa police officer) was arrested for a DUI, and O’Connor was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, obstruction, and disorderly intoxication.

Both officers were fired and then later reinstated. O’Connor went on to have a long career in law enforcement which eventually led to her becoming Tampa’s police chief.

Many in Tampa believed the incident should have disqualified O’Connor, but she was named as Tampa police chief in March 2022. Now after just ten months, the city of Tampa is conducting a national search to find her replacement.

Related: What to Expect From a First Offense DUI

Protect Your Rights

No one is above the law. Every person accused of a potential crime deserves due process and to be treated fairly within the legal system. If you have been arrested for a crime or face any level of criminal charges, talk to an attorney right away. An experienced criminal defense attorney can make sure you receive fair treatment every step of the way. They will also fight for you to get the most just outcome possible.

If you are facing criminal charges, talk to an attorney about your options today. Contact TJ Grimaldi to see how our team can help you navigate your legal situation and come out with the best possible outcome. Request your appointment or call 813-226-1023 now.

For six weeks, the country watched as Johnny Depp and Amber Heard fought their way through their side of two defamation lawsuits. The former couple sued each other for millions of dollars, and millions of people watched the trial and verdict unfold on live television.

Now that the verdict has been announced, where does the story go from here?

What Was at Stake?

The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation case was the result of a very public and very tumultuous relationship and break-up. Depp and Heard were often in the public eye as the media reported on their turbulent relationship. Once the couple officially split, they both pointed the finger at the other for the negative media reports.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million dollars in a defamation suit. 

In 2018, Heard wrote an editorial for The Washington Post indicating that she was a survivor of domestic violence. Due to the public nature of their relationship, many assumed the article was about Depp, although he was never named in the article. Depp says the story led him to being shunned in Hollywood and removed from movie projects.

Heard countersued Depp for $100 million dollars. 

Heard filed a countersuit against Depp, claiming that false statements made by his legal team had led her to also be denied work in the movie industry. Heard alleged that Depp’s former attorney, Adam Waldman, made three statements about her to The Daily Mail in 2020 that were untrue. In the statements, Waldman told The Daily Mail that Heard’s allegations of abuse were a “hoax.”

To win their defamation cases, Depp and Heard needed to prove three things.

  1. The statements made about them were false.
  2. The false statements led to damages.
  3. The statements were made as an act of malice.

It took seven jurors three days and 13 hours to submit a verdict in the case.

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Case? 

What Was the Verdict?

In a recent post on this blog, we outlined the possible outcomes for the Depp/Heard verdict. But, the ending was something unexpected.

Both parties won a portion of their claims.

Depp was awarded $10.4 million.

The jury unanimously found that Heard could not prove the allegations she made against Depp and that Heard knew her claims were false when she published the essay in The Washington Post. The jury also determined that Heard acted with malice.

While the jury sided with Depp, they did not award him the full $50 million in damages. They awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The judge later decreased the amount of punitive damages to $350,000 to meet the state’s statutory cap.

Heard was awarded $2 million. 

The jury also unanimously found that Depp was guilty of defaming Heard on one account. Depp was held liable for the actions of his attorney. The jury decided Waldman’s statements were false and made with malice. The jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages and $0 in punitive damages.

The verdict in the case is very different from the outcome of a 2020 defamation case that Depp filed against The Sun, a tabloid magazine in the United Kingdom. In that case, a judge found The Sun’s statements calling Depp a “wife beater” to be “substantially true.” Depp failed to receive any damages in the case.

Related: What Does It Take to Be an Attorney for a High-Profile Case? 

What Happens Next?

The judge has ordered the parties to come back on June 24, 2022, to enter the judgment. Once the judgment is filed, each party will have 30 days to let the other side know if they plan to file an appeal. From that time, the party must file the appeal paperwork within 30 days.

Heard’s Next Moves

Heard’s team has already vowed to appeal the verdict. They have made suggestions of possible grounds for appeal. Heard’s legal team may file an appeal and argue the court’s decisions to:

  • Keep some of Heard’s medical records and correspondence from medical professionals out of evidence during the trial.
  • Litigate the case in Virginia instead of California where both Depp and Heard reside.
  • Allow the trial to be televised and not require a sequestered jury.

Heard’s team is not limited to these options and may include different reasons in their official appeal.

Depp’s Next Moves 

At this time, it doesn’t appear that Depp’s team is planning an appeal. If Heard files an appeal, she would still need to post an appeal bond. Deep’s team can begin to seek money from Heard as soon as 22 days after the judgment is filed.

Related: Dealing With the Media During a High-Profile Case: What to Expect

Work with Attorneys You Can Trust

When dealing with legal matters large or small, you must have an attorney you can trust. Always work with an experienced lawyer who can guide your case to the best possible outcome and who can share all of your possible options with you throughout your case.

Related: Find The Best Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

If you need legal support in either a civil or criminal matter, TJ Grimaldi is here to help. Get a free assessment of your case with TJ. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

It was supposed to be a night of music. Approximately 50,000 people gathered at NRG Park in Houston, Texas, for the Astroworld Festival. The festival was headlined by the event founder, Travis Scott. But as Scott took the stage, chaos ensued. The crowd surged, crushing attendees and leaving hundreds injured and at least ten people dead.

Now, close to 400 lawsuits seek justice for the victims. What happened? How will the cases work their way through the legal system? And, who will be responsible?

What Happened at Astroworld Festival?

On November 5, 2021, thousands of people gathered at NRG Park for Astroworld. Most of them were there to see the headliner, Travis Scott. When Scott took the stage around 9:00 pm., the huge audience began to press toward the stage, causing the large crowd to pack in even tighter. The swell of bodies increased temperatures, made it difficult to breathe, and caused attendees to fall and get stepped on by others around them.

While some attendees yelled for help and emergency vehicles began to remove people from the crowd, the concert mostly went out without interruption.

In the end, more than 300 people were treated for injuries at the festival, twenty-five people were taken to the hospital, and at least ten people died. An eleventh victim is said to include an unborn child who was lost in a miscarriage after the mother was injured at the event.

Now, nearly 5,000 legal claims have been filed against Scott, Astroworld, LiveNation, and others associated with the event.

Related: 6 of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Personal Injury 

Who Is Charged with Wrongdoing?

Nearly 400 lawsuits have been filed related to the Astroworld incident. It has been reported that up to 50 defendants have been named throughout the list of lawsuits.

The primary defendants include: Scott, who performed and organized the event; Drake, who also performed at the event; LiveNation, who promoted the event; Apple Music, who streamed the event; multiple security firms involved with the event; and other producers and concert promoters connected to the event.

In the hundreds of lawsuits, there are thousands of legal claims. According to Vulture, as of May 9, there were a total of 4,932 legal claims on behalf of roughly 2,800 victims. The claims include:

  • 732 for physical injury with extensive medical treatment
  • 1,649 for physical injury with less extensive medical treatment
  • 2,540 listed as other

With so many cases filed, the Texas Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted a joint motion to combine the litigation before a single judge for all pre-trial proceedings, according to Billboard.

The hundreds of plaintiffs were grouped into four categories: those who were killed, those who have traumatic brain injuries, those who have bodily injury, and those who have PTSD. The plaintiffs are seeking wrongful death and personal injury compensation and alleging that the defendants were negligent in their duty to create a safe setting for attendees.

Related: Examples of Wrongful Death Cases Worth Fighting For

Will There Be Criminal Charges?

Shortly after the incident in November, both local and federal investigations were quickly launched.

According to Vulture, Houston city officials called the event a “mass casualty” incident. Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said on November 6, “It’s now a criminal investigation that’s going to involve our homicide division as well as narcotics.” This statement came in response to allegations that someone at the event was stabbing people with needles that contained narcotics.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he was forming a task force on concert safety to study what went wrong and how to prevent something similar from happening in the future. The FBI is also involved and launched a website where people can submit recordings and photos to help investigators collect information.

While there are local and federal investigations going on, it’s unlikely at this time that there will be any criminal charges filed. According to the New York Times, the outdoor venue could have held 200,000 people. It held far fewer people at the time, and legal permits were issued and inspectors were on site. The legal case will likely remain in civil courts.

Related: Types of Personal Injury Cases: Do You Have a Claim? 

Seeking Justice for Personal Injury

What happened at Astroworld was a terrible tragedy, and the people harmed by the incident are seeking justice for themselves and their loved ones. If you or someone you know isharmed by the negligence of another party, you also deserve justice.

If you believe you have a personal injury or a wrongful death claim, talk to an experienced attorney who can guide you through the legal system to get justice. TJ Grimaldi is an experienced attorney ready to discuss your case. Talk to him during a free consultation to review your case. Call 813-226-1023 or request your consultation today.

Nicole and Alexis Oulson

Nicole and Alexis Oulson

To honor the life and legacy of Chad Oulson, a group of his family and friends launched the Oulson Family Foundation to offer support to children impacted by gun violence.

About The Oulson Family

On January 13, 2014, Chad Oulson was killed in a senseless act of gun violence. While on a mid-day movie date with his wife Nicole Oulson, Chad Oulson was involved in a confrontation with a man sitting in the row behind him. The confrontation ended with Chad Oulson being shot and killed.

Before the movie had even started, Nicole Oulson lost her husband and the father of her 22-month-old daughter, Alexis.

“In the blink of an eye, our lives were shattered beyond belief. I lost my husband, the love of my life, my rock, my everything. Our family lost a son, brother, uncle, and friend,” said Nicole Oulson.

Chad Oulson’s family sought justice through the legal system. For eight long years, the case dragged through the court system. Then on February 25, 2022, the family received more devastating news. A jury of six found the shooter not guilty of the murder of Chad Oulson.

“After eight long years of maneuvering through the judicial system, another unbelievable blow was delivered with a not guilty verdict. Again, my family was devastated,” said Nicole Oulson.

But, the family was not going to let the ruling stand between them and honoring the life and legacy of Chad Oulson.

In May 2022, Chad’s friends and family created the Oulson Family Foundation.

Related: TJ Grimaldi Shares Reaction to “Wrong” Not Guilty Verdict in Reeves Murder Trial

About The Oulson Family Foundation

The Oulson Family Foundation is a non-profit with a mission to provide financial support to children impacted by gun violence.

Oulson Family Foundation

Nicole Oulson knows what families go through in the wake of gun violence, and she wanted to do something to offer support to families going through tragedies of their own.

“As a single mother of a young daughter, I know firsthand the financial, physical, and emotional toll that comes from gun violence. The pain is unimaginable, and the loss is something you can never plan for,” said Nicole Oulson. “After receiving an abundance of encouragement and support from people worldwide, I knew I needed to do my part.”

“The Oulson Family Foundation will strive to help other families that have children directly or indirectly impacted by gun violence.”

Nicole, Chad and Alexis Oulson

Nicole, Chad and Alexis Oulson

The Oulson Family Foundation will provide funds to help kids get what they need in the wake of being directly or indirectly impacted by gun violence.

Caretakers of children affected by gun violence can receive funds to provide financial assistance for medical bills, counseling, and education. The goal is to help families and children get what they need to heal and create a brighter future.

“They say it takes a village to raise our children. We are reaching out a hand to others to offer hope, support, and comfort during these unimaginable times,” says Nicole Oulson.

A Commitment of Support from TJ Grimaldi

For more than eight years, TJ Grimaldi stood by the family of Chad Oulson as they sought justice.

Grimaldi represented Nicole Oulson in civil matters and offered legal support throughout the criminal trial, which was litigated by state prosecutors. From the start, Grimaldi has been committed to fighting for Chad Oulson and his family, and he remains committed to that mission.

When the criminal court was unable to provide legal justice, Grimaldi sought another way to help honor the legacy of Chad Oulson, and he helped launch the Oulson Family Foundation. Grimaldi will sit on the board and work alongside Nicole Oulson and others to raise awareness and funds for families impacted by gun violence.

“It’s been my honor to represent the Oulson family, and now I’m glad I’m able to help honor Chad’s life in another way,” says Grimaldi.

“What happened to Nicole and Alexis was a terrible tragedy. I’ve seen how difficult it has been for them, and I hope the Oulson Family Foundation can help ease that burden, even just a little bit, for other families who have to endure something similar.”

How to Get Involved with the Oulson Family Foundation

If you would like to support the Oulson Family Foundation and help offer assistance to children impacted by gun violence, you can help too.

Please visit to learn more about the foundation’s mission and to make a donation. Your participation will offer kids a chance to heal and grow through financial assistance for medical bills, counseling, and education. Learn more and donate today.

If you or someone you know has a family impacted by gun violence, please visit the website to learn more about how you can apply for aid through the Oulson Family Foundation.

Gone But Not Forgotten #28

It has been over seven years since 43-year-old Chad Oulson went to a movie theater for date with his wife — and didn’t return home with her to their 22-month-old daughter.

During the movie previews, Oulson checked his phone to see if he had any messages from the daycare watching their daughter. She had been teething which could cause a fever, and Oulson wanted to make sure everything was okay before the movie started.

This action angered Curtis Reeves, a retired Tampa police captain, who was sitting behind Oulson.

After an altercation, Reeves pulled out his gun, fired one shot, and killed Oulson.

Reeves shot and killed Oulson in a movie theater filled with eye-witnesses that included an off-duty cop, retired FBI agent, former military member, and nurse. Yet, seven years later, the case is still not resolved. Reeves has spent most of the years since the encounter out of jail, living at home under house arrest.

Delay after delay has prevented Oulson, his wife, and daughter from getting justice.

A Seven-Year Delay for Justice

TJ Grimaldi has represented Oulson‘s widow, Nicole, since Chad’s death in 2014. Since then, Grimaldi has seen Reeves’s defense team use every stall tactic possible to prevent the case from going to trial and prevent the retired Tampa police captain from going to jail.

“The defendant claims he wants his day in court, but it is very clear that the defense is taking every opportunity to delay this as much as possible,” says Grimaldi.

Reeves’ defense team has used a variety of stall tactics.

At the beginning, the case was delayed due to a debate over whether or not it was a “Stand Your Ground” case. Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, individuals can use deadly force as a means to protect themselves without first retreating from the threat.

A Stand Your Ground claim can prevent an individual from standing trial. In some cases, individuals are granted immunity from prosecution. They don’t need to use Stand Your Ground as a defense at trial. Instead, individuals can avoid trial altogether.

Reeves’s legal team spent years trying to use the Stand Your Ground defense. Changes to the law led to multiple hearings and eventually, a wait on a Florida Supreme Court decision, all creating substantial delays for the case.

Now, the courts have finally determined that this is not a Stand Your Ground case and set a trial date.

Trial Date Set for 2022

The trial is set for three weeks in February of 2022.

Oulson‘s family is getting closer to seeking justice for Chad, but Grimaldi is worried that they will have to wait even longer.

Reeves’s defense team continues to look for ways to delay the case.

“The defense is planning to file ten to fifteen motions before the trial. I also anticipate that they will appeal any motions they don’t win, delaying the case even more,” says Grimaldi.

Motions and subsequent appeals could potentially push the trial back to a later date.

“Each day this case isn’t tried and Reeves out of jail is a win for the defense,” says Grimaldi. “It’s embarrassing. The system should not allow you to not have justice.”

Grimaldi continues to fight for the Oulson family, pushing the courts and state prosecutors to move the case forward and keeping the story alive in the media, hoping exposure will help bring justice.

“It’s sad that this case has taken so long. Families should not have to wait this long to get justice for their loved ones,” says Grimaldi.

It seems that nearly every day in the news, we hear about citizens having interactions with the police. Many of these interactions are positive, though there have been many documented cases where the public found the interactions disturbing, and those incidents have raised questions about how police conduct themselves in the field.

The police in Miami wear body cameras, as do the ones in Jacksonville and Orlando. In fact, body cameras are almost accepted as standard gear for police officers in Florida, except for one of the largest cities in the state – Tampa.

Attorney TJ Grimaldi is a strong supporter of police wearing body cameras and is urging the department to fund the program to equip every officer with a camera. As a personal injury attorney who has many years’ experience dealing in cases of wrongful death, he believes that body cams should be mandatory for police.

“I am all for cameras. They help solve questions, concerns, unknown issues and protect citizens,” Mr. Grimaldi says. “Further, they protect law enforcement and solidify evidence, testimony and opinions for all parties involved. They also help create a record of events that may otherwise be confused, forgotten, or simply made up down the road.”

In 2014, Jason Westcott’s home was raided by the Tampa Police Department and SWAT after an informant claimed he was selling drugs. According to police, Westcott brandished a firearm when they entered his home, and as a result, he was shot and killed on the spot. Police seized $2 worth of marijuana in Westcott’s home. Mr. Grimaldi now represents Westcott’s mother in a negligence lawsuit against the City of Tampa.

“For the Westcott case specifically, if law enforcement were wearing body cams, the footage could answer a lot of questions regarding Westcott’s placement, his possession of a gun, and what actually took place within the home, Mr. Grimaldi says. “This could have resulted in clear cut liability or solidified their claim of a lack of negligence which could have avoided litigation in this case, either way.”

Whether or not there is evidence to suggest that wearing a body camera would have any impact on crime rates, or how wearing a camera influences police decision-making and how officers engage with the public, making body cams mandatory could provide powerful information to supply answers to questions that otherwise remain unanswered.