Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
July 15, 2021

Kelley | Uustal Attorneys Secure $35M Jury Award for Paralyzed Navy Veteran

Kelley | Uustal trial attorneys Michael Hersh and Kimberly Wald won a $35 million award from a Broward County jury for a Navy veteran left paralyzed following a car crash in Hollywood four years ago.

Marc Laspes, then 26, was driving on Aug. 2, 2017, when he was involved in a crash with a vehicle being driven by Talena Castillo, then 25.

Laspes woke up in the hospital three days later and was unable to feel his legs.  The crash left him paralyzed from the chest down. Laspes served four years in the Navy and was honorably discharged just over a year before the crash.

Laspes and his fiancé got engaged that morning. “The day started as one of the happiest in Marc’s life. All was shattered though because of Ms. Castillo’s utter carelessness,” said Michael Hersh.  “Marc was such an active person, living life to the fullest. An avid skateboarder, surfer, and golfer, Marc suffered an unimaginable loss in the blink of an eye.”

During the civil trial, Castillo, a member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, testified in her defense.

This trial was one of the first in-person civil trials to take place in Broward County since the courthouse reopened after a shutdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This crash turned Marc’s life upside down. It is especially saddening to know this happened to a young man who had served his country and was on the path to such a wonderful life” said Kimberly Wald. “Fortunately, the jury was willing to hold Ms. Castillo responsible and acknowledged what she had done to Marc by awarding such a significant verdict.”  “This was an unnecessary tragedy. Given the things Ms. Castillo has said, you can’t help but wonder whether other factors played a role in allowing this crash to happen, and whether her family and others in her life could have done more or acted differently which could have prevented this catastrophe” said Hersh.

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