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D’Amato News and Current Headlines

D’Amato Law Firm in Egg Harbor Township is proud to be featured in a number of news articles and local media. Check out the information and links below to learn more about what we’ve done throughout the community.
 

D’Amato Law Firm Continues Its Fight for Answers in Case of Teen Girl Killed by Speeding Train; New Press Coverage Highlights Forensic Mishandling in Initial Investigation

Though it has been seven years since Dianne and Steve Valiante of Mays Landing were informed that their 18-year-old daughter Tiffany had intentionally jumped to her death in front of a New Jersey Transit Train, the mystery surrounding Tiffany’s tragic death remains a point of contention and interest for the media, as the publication of a new article on The Daily Beast takes a closer look at the mishandling of the case by investigating authorities.

The idea that their daughter committed suicide has never sat right with the Valiantes, who remain convinced that something criminal happened to Tiffany on the night of July 12, 2015. The Valiantes are not alone in their belief that there was a rush to judgement by authorities over their daughter’s tragic death. Attorney Paul D’Amato, and consultant Stephan Rosenfield have worked diligently with the Valiante family on their quest for answers, as continuous findings of mishandled evidence and new clues point to the theory that Tiffany may have been murdered.

Approximately two weeks after her daughter died, Dianne discovered some items under a tree about a mile from her home. According to Diane, she found Tiffany’s headband and shoes lined up in the grass, as if someone had put them there deliberately. There was also a keychain and sweatshirt nearby, both of which Dianne did not recognize as belonging to Tiffany. Detectives interviewed the Valiantes for the first time three days later, and subsequently misplaced the keychain before it had a chance to be analyzed. D’Amato has cited other examples of evidence being mishandled by authorities, including a missing ax with red markings found near the crash site and contamination of Tiffany’s clothing and other items, rendering them forensically useless.

In light of the reports, D’Amato has been fighting to get the official manner of death changed from suicide to undetermined. In March 2018, New Jersey State Medical Examiner Andrew Falzon decided to leave the manner of death unchanged. This has not deterred D’Amato from continuing his pursuit of justice for the Valientes.

It is clear that the Valientes and their team of advocates will not stop fighting until they receive justice for Tiffany. In Tiffany’s honor, the Valiante family erected a small hut decorated with pictures of happy memories, along with a bench, by the train tracks where she died. Steve also constructed the beach volleyball court he had promised to build his daughter and laid down a plaque in a backyard memorial garden that reads, “Rooted in love, forever in our hearts.” You can read the full Daily Beast article here.

South Jersey Wrongful Death Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Provide Personal Legal Representation

If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, contact a compassionate South Jersey wrongful death lawyer at the D’Amato Law Firm. We can help you obtain the financial compensation you are entitled and ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable. From our office in Egg Harbor Township, we represent clients throughout Atlantic City and South Jersey. To discuss your case, please contact us online or call us at 609-926-3300 for a free consultation.

 

Lawsuit Against Dunkin’ Believed to be First Alleging Link Between Severe Customer Burns and Defective Paper Coffee-Cup Carrier

HOLLY, N.J. (April 28, 2022) – A severely burned Delran, New Jersey woman is suing Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. (DNKN:Nasdaq), among several defendants, in what is believed to be the first negligence and product liability lawsuit in which it is alleged that a customer’s second and third degree scalding-liquid burns occurred in large part because of the company’s “structurally and dangerously-defective, four-cup paper coffee carrier”, said Paul R. D’Amato, of the D’Amato Law Firm that represents the plaintiff.

“This is a serious, life-altering incident that we now know was waiting to happen due primarily to the defectively designed, flimsy, paper coffee carrier that the negligent Dunkin’ store employee used to deliver three cups (extra-large, large, medium) of hot coffee – collectively weighing more than three pounds – to Samantha Picklo, as she waited, as instructed, in the driver’s seat of her vehicle, outside the store,” said Mr. D’Amato. “The shallow paper cup holder – even doubled up in an apparent effort to provide additional support – catastrophically failed when the employee at the Route 130 Delran Dunkin’ Donuts attempted to hand the carrier to Ms. Picklo. Still recovering after her emergency treatment and hospitalization at a specialty burn unit, she’s concerned that what happened to her can and will happen to others unless Dunkin’ promptly replaces its hazardous beverage carriers.” He added, “Our preliminary forensic examination clearly shows the type of carrier Dunkin’ used to deliver coffees to Ms. Picklo is inherently unstable and unsafe. The defendants know this, and that’s why their third-party delivery services – including Door Dash – use an entirely different carrier, one which is sturdy and sealed. That is likely a more expensive option for Dunkin, but aren’t its customers worth the expense?”

Ms. Picklo, a working mother of three special needs children (the youngest is 5), said of the August 17, 2021, incident, “I was in total shock. I never felt such excruciating pain as when those coffees – starting with the Extra Large cup – suddenly dropped onto my lap; riding in the ambulance to the burn unit in Philadelphia, all I could think of were my precious babies and if I’d be able to care for them. I’m still scarred from these burns to my lower body, but even more searing is the thought that this can and will happen again unless Dunkin’ replaces those carriers with ones that are safe. That can’t happen soon enough.”

The multi-count lawsuit (Picklo vs. Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. et al. BUR-L-495-22) filed last month in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Burlington County Law Division, and which includes a claim for damages, also alleges:

  • Dunkin’ and its affiliated defendants (the designer-manufacturer of the carrier is in the process of being determined and will be added as a named defendant in a subsequent amended filing) failed to anticipate that the use of its defectively designed four-cup beverage tray-carrier could result in serious injury to its customers, including during the transfer of orders through a drive-thru window or directly to a waiting vehicle (Ms. Picklo ordered at the drive thru, but was told to “pull forward”  while the coffees were being prepared, and they’d be brought to her.)
  • Dunkin’ and its affiliated defendants failed to provide a safe designated area in its store lot for the delivery of ordered food and beverages for waiting vehicles. There was no safe designated area at the Delran, Rt. 130 store where the incident occurred.
  • Dunkin’ and its affiliated defendants were negligent in failing to provide franchise owners and their employees proper training in the safe handling and delivery of beverages – especially hot drinks – to expressly avoid injuries such as those sustained by Ms. Picklo.

Barnes Hutchins, Ms. Picklo’s husband,  said, “We are immensely grateful to the Delran first responders, the medical teams, and all those that worked to help Samantha after this tragedy, that was so clearly preventable. All we want is for all the facts to come out and, most importantly, for real changes to protect others from harm.”

Media Coverage:


911 calls related to this case:

 

Ms. Picklo, at this time, is unavailable for interviews.

Contacts:

Paul R. D’Amato / [email protected] / 609-926-3300

Steph Rosenfeld / [email protected] /215-514-4101

 

Press of Atlantic City Covers Mishandling of Evidence in 2015 Valiante Case

The gross mishandling of evidence in the suspicious 2015 death of Mays Landing teen Tiffany Valiante has gained media traction, with the Press of Atlantic City picking up the story of evidence misconduct and contamination.

A discovery motion was finally granted to Valiante family attorney Paul D’Amato in late 2020, which ordered the DNA testing of key evidence collected at the time of Valiante’s death.

A March 2022 DNA test found that the key evidence was so grossly mishandled as to render the evidence to be of “no probative scientific value.” The gaining attention to the case aided by the Press of Atlantic City keeps the spotlight on the misconduct of the police and lack of justice for the Valiante family.

Read the full Press of Atlantic City article here.