Guy Rubin on WPTV: Mother of Perry Cohen files wrongful-death lawsuit

WPTV Webteam

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The mother of Perry Cohen is filing a wrongful-death lawsuit.  Her son and Austin Stephanos disappeared at sea July 24, 2015. They were last seen leaving the Jupiter Inlet.

At a Friday morning news conference, Cohen's attorney said he has filed a lawsuit against those who contributed to Perry's disappearance and presumed death.  Listed in the lawsuit are Carly Black, Richard Black, Jr., William Stephanos and Richard Kuntz.

"This lawsuit is about truth, accountability, and justice," attorney Guy Rubin said.

He said because the State Attorney declined to pursue a criminal case, a civil action is Pamela Cohen's only course.  He said if a jury were to award damages it would be donated to charity.

Rubin and Cohen declined to answer questions from reporters following the news conference.

Guy Rubin on Parents file wrongful-death lawsuit in 2015 disappearance of teens at sea

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The parents of one of two South Florida teenagers who disappeared at sea during a fishing trip in 2015 are suing the family of their son's best friend.

Pamela and Philip Cohen joined attorney Guy Rubin outside the Palm Beach County courthouse Friday morning in West Palm Beach as they announced the filing of a wrongful-death lawsuit.

The Cohens are the parents of Perry Cohen, who disappeared with friend Austin Stephanos in July 2015.

Rubin said the lawsuit was filed "against those who contributed to the disappearance and presumed death" of Perry.

Because the state attorney's office declined to pursue a criminal case, civil action against Austin's parents is the Cohen family's only recourse, Rubin said.

A federal judge last week lifted an injunction that kept the Cohens from suing Austin's parents, Carly Black and Blu Stephanos, in state court.

The families of the missing 14-year-old boys have battled in court since December over a maritime law that limited the amount of damages the Cohens could collect from the value of the boat.

Guy Rubin in People Magazine: Mom of Florida Teen Missing at Sea with Friend Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Other Boy's Family


Legal battles between the families of two Florida teens missing at sea, who disappeared nearly two years ago, continue with a wrongful death lawsuit announced Friday at the Palm Beach County Courthouse.

“This lawsuit is about truth, accountability and justice,” attorney Guy Rubin wrote in a prepared statement delivered on behalf of Pamela Cohen, mother of Perry Cohen, who vanished into the waters off Jupiter Inlet with friend Austin Stephanos during a fishing excursion on July 24, 2015. Monday marks two years since the 14-year-old boys’ disappearance and presumed deaths that made headlines worldwide.

The suit also names co-plaintiff John Eric Romano, personal representative of Perry’s estate. Defendants are Austin’s parents, Carly Black and Blu Stephanos, and grandfather, Richard Kuntz. Counts include negligent entrustment, breach of custodian and parental trust, negligent supervision and negligent undertaking of search.

It comes on the heels of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation that found Carly Black, Austin’s mother, showed an “egregious lack of judgement and failure to execute due care” when she allowed the boys to go offshore for a fishing excursion in a “minimally equipped” 19-foot 1978 SeaCraft knowing that the boat lacked basic safety and communications devices.

Guy Rubin in One missing Tequesta teen’s family will sue the other for damages

Jorge Milian and Paige Fry Palm - Beach Post Staff Writer

WEST PALM BEACH -- The family of Perry Cohen, one of the two Tequesta teenagers lost at sea in 2015, said Friday it will file a wrongful death lawsuit against the family of the other teen in state court.

The announcement, set to be made on the entrance to the Palm Beach County Courthouse, will come just days before the two-year anniversary of the boys’ disappearance.

“This lawsuit is about truth, accountability and justice,” said Guy Bennett Rubin, the attorney for the Cohen family.

"Perry’s family can not just move on, put this behind them or let it go,” Rubin said, adding that Pamela Cohen, Perry’s mother, “will not and cannot stop until she is confident justice has been done for Perry.”

The family of Austin Stephanos could not immediately be reached for comment.

A federal judge opened the door to a lawsuit on July 10 by lifting an injunction that kept the Cohens from suing Carly Black, Austin’s mother, in state court. Black owned the 19-foot boat her son Austin Stephanos was in when he left the Jupiter Inlet on July 24, 2015, with the Cohens’ son, Perry.

Guy Rubin in the Sun Sentinel: After tragedy at sea, a sharp divide emerges between teens’ families

Marc Freeman

Before Tequesta teens Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen disappeared at sea nearly two years ago, the 14-year-old boys had built a solid friendship along the waters near their homes.

Pals since they were 10, the kids often fished and boated together and used social media to stay in touch.

Their parents also got along well. Perry once took a trip to the Bahamas with Austin and his family, and there was talk of a joint-family fishing foray to the islands.

But newly released records show the families’ good relations ended the moment Austin’s mom called Perry’s mom late on the afternoon of July 24, 2015, to report the kids were missing in the ocean and had not been heard from for about five hours.

There was “shock and dismay over learning that Austin’s family had betrayed a trust with regards to the limitations clearly placed on Perry’s authority to go offshore,” Perry’s stepdad recalled in a Feb. 22 meeting with investigators. Perry’s family also was in disbelief that Austin’s family had not yet called 911, he said.

Guy Rubin on WPBF Channel 25 News: FDLE report sparks new questions, concerns for parent of Tequesta boy missing at sea

Terry Parker - Investigative Reporter

TEQUESTA, Fla. — FDLE report sparks new questions, concerns for parent of Tequesta boy missing at sea. Pamela Cohen doesn’t understand delay in calling for help to find Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen. 

The newly released FDLE investigative report into the disappearance at sea of 14-year-old friends contained revelations that shocked and dismayed the mother of one of the boys as they learned more about the other parents’ actions that day.

“From minute one, the question was out there, ‘Why didn't you call me, my son was in that boat, why didn't you give us the opportunity to save him?’" said Pamela Cohen’s attorney, Guy Rubin. “What was new in the report was the timeline.”

Rubin said the report, which concluded there was probable cause for negligence charges, opened the door to a whole new set of questions.

“All of the interaction that the family of Austin had, after the storm passed over and Pamela wasn’t notified, 911 wasn't notified - many hours passed by and those hours were so precious,” said Rubin.

Guy Rubin in the Palm Beach Post

Missing teens: FDLE revelations could trigger lawsuit

Bill DiPaolo - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

JUPITER - The mother of one of two Tequesta teens lost at sea in 2015 is considering a lawsuit and fighting a court action she says would limit her ability to sue the other teen’s family, her attorney told The Palm Beach Post on Monday.

Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, were last seen sailing through the Jupiter Inlet on July 24, 2015. State reports made public last week found that a storm on the Atlantic forced their boat to sink and that an “egregious lapse in judgment and failure to exercise due care” let them head out into the Atlantic in those conditions.

The families have been adversaries in a lawsuit since December over a maritime law called the Limitation Act. The act limits the amount boat passengers can sue to the value of a damaged boat after it is salvaged.

The $500 is the salvage value of the empty 19-foot boat used by the boys after it was recovered on March, 2016 off the coast of Bermuda by the Edda Fjord, a 322-foot Norwegian transport vessel.

“It is irrefutable that both Austin’s parents knew that Perry was not supposed to go out of the inlet unsupervised,” said Guy Rubin, the attorney representing Pamela Cohen, Perry’s mother.

Guy Rubin in the Daily News

Mother of one of two Florida teens lost at sea two years ago criticizes other family, mulls lawsuit


The mother of one of two Florida teens lost at sea lashed out at the mom of the second boater and is mulling a lawsuit after investigators found evidence of child neglect.

Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, disappeared during a storm off Florida's Atlantic coast in July 2015, and their capsized boat was found months later in the Bahamas.

The state opened a criminal investigation in December of Austin's mother for possible child neglect. Investigators found probable cause to charge Carly Black, but the state attorney said there was not enough proof "to satisfy the statutory language," the Palm Beach Post reported last week.

According to investigators, Black allowed the teens to "go offshore into the Atlantic Ocean, an inherently dangerous environment, in a minimally equipped 19-foot boat with a single outboard motor without adult or parental supervision," and without a radio or an emergency beacon that could have been used to find them.

Perry's parents said their son was not allowed to go offshore without adult supervision, and both families knew this, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement report obtained by the Palm Beach Post.

Pamela Cohen, Perry's mother, is now considering a lawsuit against the other family, her lawyer told the newspaper.

"It is irrefutable that both Austin’s parents knew that Perry was not supposed to go out of the inlet unsupervised," Guy Rubin told the Palm Beach Post.

Guy Rubin interviewed for TCPalm article on Civil Rights lawsuits

Investigation: Complaints against aggressive policing costly in Indian River County

Melissa E. Holsman ,

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY —  When James Noble died two weeks after being shot outside his home by a Vero Beach police officer responding to a possible prowler in 2011, the 70-year-old’s family called his death an “unjustified” use of force.

If we didn’t take these kinds of cases, you would never have the courts telling law enforcement what the appropriate confines are for constitutional behavior. The courts make decisions, and those decisions are then the law of the land, and police, law enforcement agencies, are supposed to abide by those decisions.
— Guy Bennett Rubin, Esq.

According to police reports, when Noble saw the officer, he pulled a .45-caliber handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the officer. Noble was shot in the chest after he failed to put the weapon down when ordered to do so. The officer was later cleared by a grand jury.

Noble’s family told a different version of events in a federal lawsuit filed against the Police Department, and later dropped, that accused the officer of improperly firing his weapon.

Physical clashes such as this between the public and local law enforcement either preceded or caused the deaths of 29 people in the past 16 years, state and court records show. Twenty fatal encounters on the Treasure Coast involved police gunfire later determined to be justified.

It’s too soon to know if Sunday’s shooting death in Gifford of Alteria Woods, 21, by members of the Indian River County Sheriff Office Special Weapons and Tactics team, also will be ruled as a justified use of deadly force. Records show her death is the first fatal officer-involved shooting in 2017 on the Treasure Coast.

Sheriff officials have said Woods was a bystander caught in an early morning firefight with law enforcement during a drug raid that also wounded a deputy and ended with the arrests of two father-and-son career criminals.

When these fatal incidents occur, most often during traffic stops or domestic disturbances, they can anger a community, launch criminal probes or prompt change. They also put a spotlight on the agency and its officers' conduct.

But they rarely spur the lawsuits agencies defend against most, and cost taxpayers the most to resolve.

A months-long investigation into police encounters dating to 2000 shows that while Treasure Coast law enforcement agencies spent $1.6 million to settle claims related to six deaths involving police, they spent more than double that amount to settle claims accusing police of aggressive behavior.

Rubin & Rubin Sponsors First Remembrance Walk for Madison's Miracles

Rubin & Rubin is a sponsor of the first ever Remembrance Walk for Babies Gone Too Soon, an event for Madison's Miracles.  The walk will take place Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 8 - 11 a.m. at Martin County High School Track & Field.

 Madison's Miracles is a non-profit organization providing support and resources to grieving parents who have experienced still birth or infant loss.  

Guy Rubin on WPTV Channel 5

Patient claims doctor left drill bit inside her hip

Andrew Ruiz

A veteran of the West Palm Beach Police Department is suing a local doctor. She claims he left a 2-inch drill bit in her hip during surgery.

Briggid Larson says it wasn’t until 11 days after her surgery that she found out about it.  Larson says she saw the drill bit on one of her X-rays.

Larson is suing Dr. Michael Cooney and the Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute.  Cooney has offices in West Palm, Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter.

According to her attorney, Larson incurred more than $25,000 in additional medical bills for a second surgery to remove the drill bit.  When the law firm Larson contacted reached out for compensation and reimbursement it says the doctor and his offices invoked an arbitration agreement Larson singed two years earlier.

Larson says she felt betrayed.  "The doctor wants the patient to tell the doctor everything about the condition and the patient wants the truth from the doctor. This is a clear betrayal,” said Larson’s attorney Guy Rubin.  A call to Dr. Cooney’s office for comment has not been returned.

Copyright 2016 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.