Peter C. Grenier was recently cited in Bloomberg News’ coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting regarding potential civil claims against George Zimmerman, including the burden of proof and potential for reaching Zimmerman’s homeowners insurance.
In a wrongful death action against Zimmerman, Martin’s family would need to show he was culpable only by a preponderance of the evidence, according to Peter Grenier. The criminal case and acquittal, decided on the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, would be irrelevant to the civil suit under Florida law, Grenier said.
O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of murder in the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman, was order to pay $33.5 million after losing a wrongful death trial.
Florida is a comparative fault state, meaning jurors would weigh both Martin’s and Zimmerman’s culpability.
In Florida, wrongful death suits claiming negligence must be filed within two years, while there’s no time limit for suits alleging intentional death. Most cases claim negligence so damages can be covered by the defendant’s homeowner’s insurance, Grenier said.
Mr. Grenier was named a Super Lawyer in Personal Injury. Mr. Grenier is the head of the firm’s personal injury practice and has been recognized as one of the Washington D.C. area’s top litigators for almost two decades. Several years ago, he obtained a record-setting $98 million jury verdict in a highly-publicized civil rights case against the District of Columbia. Since then he has continued to take on the most challenging and complex personal injury cases in the region and around the country. He has recovered over $30,000,000.00 on behalf of his clients since 2010.