,I

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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE 11TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA

TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., Plaintiffs, vs. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, a political subdivision of the State of Florida; MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M.; AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR,THEPREVENTION CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA), a foreign non-profit corporation, and The UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA,

GENERAL JURISDICTION DIVISION CASE NO.

OR I
OF

FILED
CLERK

(3;N AL
w

JAN 2 4 2012
HARVEY RUVIN

------------------------,
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES COMES WEINMAN, NOW, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS D.D.S., by and through their undersigned counsel, and present herewith

Defendants.

their Complaint for Damages against Defendants, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, a political subdivision of the State of Florida; MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M.; AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA), a foreign

non-profit corporation, and the UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, and state as follows: JURISDICTION 1. ($15,000.00) This is a cause of action for an amount in excess of Fifteen Thousand Dollars, exclusive of costs and interest, and is therefore within the

jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

PARTIES

2.

At all times material hereto, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was a

resident of Miami-Dade County, Florida. 3. At all times material hereto, Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., was

a resident of Miami-Dade County, Florida. 4. At all times material hereto, Defendant, MIAMI-DADE
COUNTY,

FLORIDA, was a political subdivision of the State of Florida.

5.

At all times material hereto, Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M.,

was a resident of Alachua County, Florida. 6. ___ At all times material hereto, Defendant, AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE

~RE~ENIION-Oj;_CRUELl'(-10-ANIMAbS-(ASPGA),-was-a-New-Y-ork-non-profit-corporation with its principal office in the State of New York, and was registered as a foreign non-profit corporation in the State of Florida, and was authorized and doing business and partaking inactivities within the State of Florida. 7. At all times material hereto, Defendant, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, was

an institution of higher learning and a part of the State of Florida university system with its principal facilities located in Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida.
COMPLIANCE WITH FLORIDA STATUTES, §768.28

8.

Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S.,

have duly complied with all requirements of Florida Statutes, §768.28, with regard to the Defendants wherein notice pursuant to Florida Statutes, §768.28 was required, and they have either denied liability, or six (6) months since the service of said notice has .

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WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

expired, and therefore such is considered as a denial of liability by that respective Defendant.
GENERAL FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

9.

On or about June 13, 2009, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was

arrested by the Miami-Dade Police Department and charged with nineteen (19) counts of animal cruelty/harm/kill; four (4) counts of burglary of a dwelling, and nineteen (19) counts of disposal of dead animals. 10. On July 31, 2009, the State of Florida filed its forty-two (42) count

Information therein charging Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, with multiple counts of cruelty to animals in violation of Florida Statutes, §828.12(2), a third degree felony; multiple counts of burglary of an unoccuRied dwelling in violation of Florida Statutes, §810.02(3)(B), a second degree felony, and multiple counts of animal/disposal of dead carcass in violation of Florida Statutes, §823.041, a second degree misdemeanor. 11. The prosecution was based upon an investigation conducted by the _

Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department. 12. Beginning in April and into early May of 2009, a number of cats were

found deceased in the Cutler Bay area of Miami-Dade County, Florida. By May 13, 2009, the Cutler Bay Police Department was receiving numerous telephone calls regarding dead cats. This influx of calls compelled the police to commence an investigation into the killing of the cats. Due to the complexity of the investigation. as well as other considerations, the Cutler Bay Police Department called in the assistance of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

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WEINMAN

v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

13.

As part of the investigation, Miami-Dade Animal Services was contacted

to have their investigators come to the Cutler Bay area and assist with the inveStigation inasmuch as the police officers believed that they did not possess the expertise to determine the cause and manner of death of the cats. 14. Miami-Dade Animal Services Investigator, Fernando Casadevall, arrived

to assist the police department (accompanied by a film crew from the Animal Planet Television Network). That investigator made a determination on the scene that the deceased cats appeared to have been killed by a person and dissected after they were dead. Investigator Casadevall also explained that since the cats were found in "posed positions," with no blood around the area, the cats had been "cleaned" and placed at
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the scenE3j>_y human being. Investigator Casadevall maintained the o[>inionthat the a ever-growing number of deceased cats were killed by a human being and not by an animal predator. 15. Allegedly, an anonymous "tip" came to the Cutler Bay Police Department

stating that a young man by the name "Tyler Weinman" was involved in the killing of the cats. 16. Initially, two contract veterinarians from Miami-Dade Animal Services did

necropsies of the deceased cats upon the request of Investigator Casadevall. These veterinarians also came to the conclusion that the cats were not being killed by predators. 17. At that point, Dr. Sara Pizano, the Director of Miami-Dade Animal

Services, personally began reviewing and conducting necropsies. Dr. Pizano confirmed

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WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

to the Miami-Dade Police Department and the State Attorney's Office that the cats had been killed by a human being. 18. 2009. 19. It is clear that prior to the arrest of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was arrested on or about June 13,

there was growing pressure on the detectives involved in the investigation to make an arrest. The residents of the Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and Kendall areas that owned cats felt particularly singled out as potential victims of violence and, as the State Attorney assigned to the case later acknowledged, "Everyone was on edge." 20. The opinions of the Miami-Dade Animal Services personnel greatly

influenced the investigators and the others involvedJn_tbe_c_as_e_due_to_their_"apparenL--specialized knowledge of animal cruelty." 21. On the date of the arrest of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, the

killings of the cats in the Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and Kendall areas ceased. However, more than fourteen (14) months after the arrest of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, it was revealed by Investigator Casadevall, that two (2) large vicious wild dogs had been seized in the area of Cutler Bay by Animal Services the very same day as this Plaintiff's arrest. 22. Dr. Sara Pizano, the Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services, prepared

reports detailing her analysis and opinions regarding the death of the cats, and upon which the charges against Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, were based. Her

opinion was that nineteen (19) of the thirty-three (33) cats found by Animal Services between May and June 2009 had been killed by a human being, and not a predator.
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WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

23.

In September of 2010, Dr. Richard K. Stroud, an expert retained by

counsel for Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in the criminal prosecution, arrived at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services. Dr. Stroud specializes in veterinary pathology relating to the determination of the cause of death and the forensic evaluation of biological evidence. 24. While at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Dr. Stroud conducted

complete necropsies of eight (8) cats which had been preserved by Animal Services. During the necropsies of the cats he peeled back the skin showing the under layer below the skin. Dr. Stroud documented puncture wounds consistent with bite marks of large predators such as dogs in excess of fifty (50) pounds. Dr. Stroud's reports with corresponding photographs documented his oj:>inion that the eigbL(§) dead cats preserved by Animal Services had been killed by animal predators. 25. During mid-November, 2010, Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were

presented to Dr. Sara Pizano, and Dr. Pizano agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings. Dr. Pizano recognized that she should have peeled back the fur in her necropsies which would have revealed the puncture wounds. Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were also presented to Defendant,
MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., and she concurred with Dr. Stroud's conclusions.

26.

On or about November 24, 2010, the State announced that the State was

not proceeding with the prosecution and filed their Notice of Nolle Prosequi, thereby resulting in a bona fide termination in favor of the Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in that criminal prosecution.

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WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

27.

The Assistant State Attorney assigned to the criminal prosecution of

Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in an Interoffice Memorandum authored at or about the time he announced that the State was not proceeding with the prosecution, stated as follows; (See: Exhibit ttA 11 attached hereto.)
"In retrospect, the initial conclusion of Investigator Fernando Casadevall that the cats had been killed by a single person caused a sequence of events which led to the arrest and charging of Weinman. Dr. Sara Pizano, the head of Animal Services, who is an excellent director, is not a forensic veterinarian. The Miami-Dade Animal Services was simply unprepared and untrained for a case of this magnitude. Law enforcement and the State Attorney's Office relied upon Animal Services as experts, which brought us to this posture."

Additionally, said interoffice memorandum stated:
"The opinions of the Animal Services representatives greatly influenced the investigators and the others involved in this case due to their apparent ~~ecialized knowledge of animal cruelty."__

28.

During the deposition of Dr. Sara Pizano taken November 1, 2010 in the

criminal case, she testified: at Page 61, Lines 19-20, "I would do things differently in the future." COUNT I (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S. AGAINST DEFENDANT, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FOR THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE MIAMI-DADE ANIMAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT) Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28, inclusive, of this Complaint for Damages, as if set forth fully herein. 29. At all times material hereto, Dr. Sara Pizano, Director of the Animal

Services Department of Miami-Dade County, Florida, as well as her staff and personnel

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WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

were acting in the course of and within the scope of their employment with Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA. 30. Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, through its Animal Services

Department and its Director, Dr. Sara Pizano, owed a duty to the Plaintiffs not to submit opinions to the Miami-Dade Police Department and the State Attorney's Office regarding the cause of death of the cats (human v. predator), when said Director and Department knew or should have known that they did not possess the expertise by which to render such opinions, and did not follow the proper procedures by which to be able to render such opinions. 31.
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Dr. Sara Pizano, as the Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services

Department, as well as her staff and those contract individuals performing_actblities_foL_. the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department were negligent and breached their duties to the Plaintiffs in the following respects: A. By rendering forensic opinions relating to the cause of death of

various cats as well as the facilitating force of such death (human v. predator) while it was known to the Director that proper procedures for complete necropsies and other forensic procedures were not in place at the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department; B. By rendering forensic opinions relating to the cause of death of

various cats as well has the facilitating force of such death (human v. predator) while it was known to the Director that her staff and those contract individuals performing activities for the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department did not have the proper training with regard to complete necropsies and further forensic training to render such opinions;
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WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

C.

By rendering forensic opinions relating to the cause of death of

various cats as well as the facilitating force of such death (human v. predator) while it was known to the Director that proper necropsy procedures had not been utilized before rendering such opinions; D. By rendering forensic opinions that the various cats had been killed

by humans, and not predators; E. By waiting more than fourteen (14) months after the arrest of Mr.

Weinman, to reveal that two (2) large vicious wild dogs had been seized in the area of Cutler Bay by Animal Services the very same day (June 13, 2009) as Mr. Weinman's arrest and the end of the cat killings; F. By supplying the Miami-Dade Police Department and tbe_State_

Attorney's Office with reports that contained opinions and conclusions, without the proper scientific foundation, that the various cats had been killed by humans, and not predators; G. By supplying the Miami-Dade Police Department and the State

Attorney's Office with reports that contained opinions and conclusions, without the proper scientific foundation, that the cats had been killed by humans, and not predators, where Dr. Sara Pizano knew that the prosecution of Tyler Hayes Weinman would be substantially based on said reports and opinions; H. By seeking out the additional opinion of Dr. Melinda Merck as to

the facilitating cause of the death of the cats (human v. predator), however only supplying to Dr, Merck the purported documentation derived from the very same faulty forensic procedures conducted by those individuals at Animal Services that were the
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WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

result of failure to conduct the proper procedures and have the necessary training as above-described, I. and Other negligent acts as will be determined through litigation

preparation and discovery procedures. 32. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by Miami-

Dade Animal Services as well as the personnel, staff and contractors of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, has incurred the following

damages:

a. c.
d.
e. f.

b.

g.

Severe mental anguish and distress; Extreme humiliation and embarrassment; Extraordinary legal expenses incurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; Unwarranted incarceration; _ Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life; Psychological counseling expenses, and Loss of wages.

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future. 33. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by Miami-

Dade Animal Services as well as the personnel, staff and contractors of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, has incurred financial damages in the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in excess of One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS

WEINMAN, D~D.S., respectfully demand judgment for compensatory damages against

10

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

the Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, together with post-judgment interest and costs of this proceeding. Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN,

D.D.S., demand trial by jury. COUNT II (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S. AGAINST DEFENDANT, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FOR THE NEGLIGENCE OF DETECTIVE DOMINICK COLUMBRO AS WELL AS OTHER DETECTIVES AND OFFICERS AND THE MIAMI-DADE POLICE DEPARTMENT) Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S.,

reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28 inclusive, of this Complaint for Damages, as if set forth fully herein.
-----------------

34. officers and

At all times material hereto, Detective Dominick Columbro as well as other personnel were employed by Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY,

FLORIDA, and were acting in the course of and within the scope of their employment with Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA. 35. Prior to the arrest of Tyler Hayes Weinman, on June 13, 2009, search mother's residence as

warrants for the search of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN'S, well as his father's residence were signed by Judge Daryl Trawick. 36. Additionally,

on that date an arrest warrant for the arrest of Plaintiff,

TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was signed by Judge Trawick. The search warrants and the arrest warrant were based upon affidavits executed by Detective Dominick

Columbro, a detective with the Miami-Dade Police Department.

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WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET Al.

37.

Through the negligence of Detective Dominick Columbro of the Miami-

Dade Police Department and the pressure placed upon law enforcement to find someone/anyone to accuse, said affidavits contained materially false and misleading statements upon which the judge relied in his decision to sign the search warrants and the arrest warrant. Such materially false and misleading statements included, but were not limited to, the following:

A.

False and misleading statements regarding alleged surveillance

conducted by law enforcement officers; B. False and misleading statements regarding purported statements

made by Tyler Hayes Weinman to law enforcement officers; C. False and misleading statemen_!s regarding the results of the

Mobile Tracking Device placed on the vehicle driven by Tyler Hayes Weinman as well as false and misleading statements regarding GPS results and times recorded; D. False and misleading statements regarding the results of a "pen

register," "enhanced caller identification," and a "trap and trace device" pertaining to Tyler Hayes Weinman's cell phone;

E.

False and misleading statements regarding an alleged report of an

"anonymous source" as well as false and misleading statements regarding reports of witness(es); F. False and misleading statements based upon innuendo and

unwarranted inferences, and G. Other false and misleading statements to be set forth as

determined through litigation preparation and discovery procedures.
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WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

38.

In addition to the above, it is asserted that the Miami-Dade Police

Department conducted the investigation of the cat-killing case in a wholly negligent manner without regard to appropriate and accepted police practices. 39. Further, it is clear that James Loftus, as Director of the Miami-Dade Police

Department, was negligent and failed to appropriately supervise and oversee the investigation conducted in large part by Detective Dominick Columbro. 40. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by Miami-

Dade Police Department as well as the personnel and staff of Miami-Dade Police Department, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, has incurred the following damages: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Severe mental anguish and distress; Extreme humiliation and embarrassment; Extraordinaty legal eXQensesincurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; Unwarranted incarceration; Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life; Psychological counseling expenses, and Loss of wages.

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future. 41. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by Miami-

Dade Police Department as well as the personnel and staff of Miami-Dade Police Department, Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, has incurred financial damages in the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES' WEINMAN, in excess of One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs,
TYLER HAYES WEINMAN

and

DOUGLAS

WEINMAN, D.D.S., respectfully demand judgment for compensatory damages against

13

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET Al.

the Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, together with post-judgment interest and costs of this proceeding. Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN D.D.S., demand trial by jury. COUNT III (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN. D.D.S. AGAINST DEFENDANT, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FOR THE FALSE ARREST COMMITTED BY DETECTIVE DOMINICK COLUMBRO AS WELL AS OTHER DETECTIVES AND OFFICERS AND THE MIAMI-DADE POLICE DEPARTMENT) Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., and DOUGLAS WEINMAN,

reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28, inclusive, of this ___ C_ompJainUoLDamages,-as_jf-seUorth-fully-herein. --42. officers and
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At all times material hereto, Detective Dominick Columbro as well as other personnel were employed by Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY,

FLORIDA, and were acting in the course of and within the scope of their employment with Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA. 43. On or about June 13, 2009, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was

arrested by the Miami-Dade Police Department and charged with nineteen (19) counts of animal cruelty/harm/kill; four (4) counts of burglary of a dwelling, and nineteen (19)

counts of disposal of dead animals. 44. On July 31, 2009, the State of Florida filed its forty-two (42) count

Information therein charging Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, with multiple counts of cruelty to animals in violation of Florida Statutes, §828.12(2), a third degree felony; multiple counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling in violation of Florida Statutes,
14

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

§810.02(3)(B), a second degree felony, and multiple counts of animal/disposal of dead carcass in violation of Florida Statutes, §823.041, a second degree misdemeanor. 45. Detective Dominick Columbro, and other officers of the Miami-Dade

Police Department had prepared and executed affidavits containing materially false and misleading statements upon which Circuit Court Judge, Daryl Trawick, relied upon in his decision to sign search warrants and the arrest warrant for Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES
WEINMAN.

Such materially false and misleading statements included, but are not limited to, the following: A. False and misleading statements regarding alleged surveillance

conducted by law enforcement officers; B. False and misleading statements regarding purported statements

made by Tyler Hayes Weinman to law enforcement officers; C. False and misleading statements regarding the results of the

Mobile Tracking Device placed on the vehicle driven by Tyler Hayes Weinman as well as false and misleading statements regarding GPS results and times recorded; D. False and misleading statements regarding the results of a "pen

register," "enhanced caller identification," and a "trap and trace device" pertaining to Tyler Hayes Weinman's cell phone;

E.

False and misleading statements regarding an alleged report of an

"anonymous source" as well as false and misleading statements regarding reports of witness(es);

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WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

F.

False and misleading statements based upon innuendo and

unwarranted inferences, and G. Other false and misleading statements to be set forth as

determined through litigation preparation and discovery procedures. 46. On or about November 24, 2010, the State announced that the State was

not proceeding with the prosecution and filed their Notice of Nolle Prosequi, thereby resulting in a bona fide termination of the criminal proceedings in favor of the Plaintiff,
TYLER HAYES WEINMAN.

47.
WEINMAN,

There was no probable cause for the arrest of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES nor for the filing of multiple counts of cruelty to animals in violation of

Florida .Statutes,_§828~12{2},_a_thi[d_deg[ee_felol1¥;_multiple_counts_oLbur_glal"Y_of .._ ._._._ _al1_ unoccupied dwelling in violation of Florida Statutes, §810.02(3){B), a second degree felony, and multiple counts of animal/disposal of dead carcass in violation of Florida Statutes, §823.041, a second degree misdemeanor. 48. By reason of said materially false and misleading statements contained

within the affidavit in support of the application for the arrest warrant, said arrest warrant issued by the criminal court does not substantiate probable cause for the arrest of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in any respect. 49. Detective Dominick Columbro, and other officers of the Miami-Dade Police

Department, unlawfully arrested Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, and deprived him of his liberty against his will.

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WEINMAN

v.

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50.

The arrest of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was without probable

cause and without legal authority, and was unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances. 51. As a direct and proximate result of the false arrest of Plaintiff, TYLER Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, has incurred the following

HAYES WEINMAN,

damages: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Severe mental anguish and distress; Extreme humiliation and embarrassment; Extraordinarylegal expenses incurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; Unwarranted incarceration; Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life; Psychologicalcounseling expenses, and Loss of wages.

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future. 52. As a direct and proximate result of the false arrest of Plaintiff, TYLER

HAYES WEINMAN, Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, has incurred financial damages in

the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son in excess of One Hundred FortyFour Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs,
TYLER HAYES WEINMAN

and

DOUGLAS

WEINMAN, D.D.S., respectfully demand judgment for compensatory damages against

the Defendant, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, together with post-judgment interest and costs of this proceeding. Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., demand trial by jury.
17

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I

''::~'':_---

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

COUNT IV (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., AGAINST DEFENDANT, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., FOR NEGLIGENCE) Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28, inclusive, of this Complaint for Damages, as if set forth fully herein. 53. The prosecution of Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was based upon

an investigation conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department which utilized the negligent opinions and analysis conducted by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., which were based upon necropsy reports derived from necropsies performed at the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department as well as photographs of the deceased cats.
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54.

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., did not perform any necropsies

upon any of the cats that she was requested to render an opinion as to whether the death was from a human cause or the result of an animal predator. 55. Dr. Sara Pizano, the Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services, prepared

reports detailing her analysis and opinions regarding the death of the cats, upon which the charges against Tyler Hayes Weinman were based. Her opinion was that nineteen (19) of the thirty-three (33) cats found by Animal Services between May and June 2009 had been killed by a human being, and not a predator. 56. Dr. Pizano consulted with Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., to

obtain her opinion as to whether she agreed with her conclusions that the cats had died from human forces as opposed to a predator.

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WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

57.

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., opined in agreement with Dr.

Pizano that the cats' deaths were not the result of a predator, but were the result of human causes. 58. In September of 2010, Dr. Richard K. Stroud, an expert retained by

counsel for Tyler Hayes Weinman in the criminal prosecution, arrived at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services. Dr. Stroud specializes in veterinary pathology relating to the determination of the cause of death and the forensic evaluation of biological evidence. 59. While at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Dr. Stroud conducted

complete necropsies of eight (8) cats which had been preserved by Animal Services. __ D_u_ri__.ngnecro~sies of the cats he geeled back the skin showing the under la}'-=e._r ~ !be _ below the skin. Dr. Stroud documented puncture wounds consistent with bite marks of large predators such as dogs in excess of fifty (50) pounds. Dr. Stroud's reports with corresponding photographs documented his opinion that the eight (8) dead cats preserved by Animal Services had been killed by animal predators. 60. During mid-November, 2010, Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were _

presented to Dr. Sara Pizano, and Dr. Pizano agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings. Dr. Pizano recognized that she should have peeled back the fur in her necropsies which would have revealed the puncture wounds. 61. Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were also presented to Defendant,

MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., and she then agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings that the deaths were caused by predators, and not by human forces, thereby changing her earlier opinion. 19

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

62.

At all time relevant hereto, Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., held

herself out as an expert in the field of forensic animal-related matters. 63. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., owed a duty to the Plaintiffs

not to render negligent opinions relating to forensic animal-related matters, wherein she knew or should have known that others would rely upon such opinions. 64. It was wholly foreseeable that the Miami-Dade Animal Services

Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office would rely upon her negligent professional opinions in the prosecution of individuals, specifically Plaintiff, TYLER

HAYES WENMAN, in this instance. 65. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., was negligent by rendering as opposed

opinionsJhaUhe-deaths-oUhe-various_cats_weIe_the_resuILof_human_lo_rces

to a predator when she merely relied upon the reports, opinions and photographs supplied to her by Dr. Pizano, and failed to conduct her own necropsies. 66. Additionally, the conduct of Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., fell

below accepted professional standards in the community for the performance of animal necropsies and the rendering of such opinions. 67. Further, the fact that Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., knew or County Animal Services

should have known that Dr. Pizano and the Miami-Dade

Department did not possess the expertise to render their opinions, or do the proper forensic analysis regarding the cause of death of the various cats accentuates severity of her negligence in relying upon their information, reports and opinions. the

20

WEINMAN

v. MIAMI-DADE

COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

68.

There may be other negligent acts of omission or commission of

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., as will be determined as discovery procedures progress in this cause. 69. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, has incurred the following damages: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Severe mental anguish and distress; Extreme humiliation and embarrassment; Extraordinary legal expenses incurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; Unwarranted incarceration; Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life; Psychological counseling expenses, and Loss of wages.

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future. 70. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, has incurred financial damages in the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in excess of One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS

WEINMAN, D.D.S., respectfully demand judgment for compensatory damages against the Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., together with post-judgment interest and costs of this proceeding.

21

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

Plaintiffs,

TYLER

HAYES

WEINMAN

and

DOUGLAS

WEINMAN,

D.D.S.,

reserve the right to move this Honorable Court to proceed for punitive damages at the appropriate time. Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN,

D.D.S., demand trial by jury. COUNT V (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., AGAINST DEFENDANT. MELINDA D. MERCK. D.V.M .• FOR GROSS NEGLIGENCE AS WELL AS HER GREAT INDIFFERENCE AND RECKLESS DISREGARD OF THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS. SPECIFICALLY TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN. D.D.S.) Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S.,

reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28, inclusive, of this Complaint for Damages, as if set forth fully herein. 71. The negligence of Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., rises to the

level of gross negligence, great indifference, and the reckless disregard of the rights of others inasmuch as she knew that the prosecution County depended of Plaintiff,. TYLER HAYES

WEINMAN,

in Miami-Dade

in-part upon her professional opinions her

and therefore called for even greater care. Said gross negligence demonstrated great indifference to the rights of others, specifically Plaintiff, TYLER

HAYES

WEINMAN. 72. The prosecution of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was based upon

an investigation conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department which utilized the grossly negligent opinions and analysis conducted by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., which were based upon

22

- -;---1-------

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

necropsy reports derived from necropsies performed at the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department as well as photographs of the deceased cats. 73. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., did not perform any necropsies

upon any of the cats that she was requested to render an opinion as to whether the death was from a human cause or the result of an animal predator. 74. Dr. Sara Pizano, the Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services, prepared

reports detailing her analysis and opinions regarding the death of the cats, upon which the charges against Tyler Hayes Weinman were based. Her opinion was that nineteen (19) of the thirty-three (33) cats found by Animal Services between May and June 2009 had been killed by a human being, and not a predator.
_____
-

75.

Dr. Pizano consulted with Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M.,_to

obtain her opinion as to whether she agreed with her conclusions that the cats had died from human forces as opposed to a predator. 76. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., opined in agreement with Dr.

Pizano that the cats' deaths were not the result of a predator, but were the result of human causes. 77. In September of 2010, Dr. Richard K. Stroud, an expert retained by

counsel for Tyler Hayes Weinman in the criminal prosecution, arrived at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services. Dr. Stroud specializes in veterinary pathology relating to the determination of the cause of death and the forensic evaluation of biological evidence. 78. While at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Dr. Stroud conducted

complete necropsies of eight (8) cats which had been preserved by Animal Services. 23

------,-------,---

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

During the necropsies of the cats he peeled back the skin showing the under layer below the skin. Dr. Stroud documented puncture wounds consistent with bite marks of large predators such as dogs in excess of fifty (50) pounds. Dr. Stroud's reports with corresponding photographs documented his opinion that the eight (8) dead cats preserved by Animal Services had been killed by animal predators. 79. During mid-November, 2010, Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were

presented to Dr. Sara Pizano and Dr. Pizano agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings. Dr. Pizano recognized that she should have peeled back the fur in her necropsies which would have revealed the puncture wounds. 80. Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were also presented to Defendant, with Dr. $troud~sfinding§_thatthe ~

MEL_I~I:)AD. MERCK, D.V.M.~nd she the~greed

deaths were caused by predators, and not by human forces, thereby changing her earlier opinion. 81. At all time relevant hereto, Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., held

herself out as an expert in the field of forensic animal-related matters. 82. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., owed a duty to the Plaintiffs

not to render grossly negligent opinions relating to forensic animal-related matters, wherein she knew or should have known that others would rely upon such opinions. 83. It was wholly foreseeable that the Miami-Dade Animal Services

Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office would rely upon her grossly negligent professional opinions in the prosecution of individuals, specifically Plaintiff,
TYLER HAYES WENMAN, in this instance.

24

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

84.

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., was grossly negligent by

rendering opinions that the deaths of the various cats were the result of human forces as opposed to a predator, when she merely relied upon the reports, opinions and photographs supplied to her by Dr. Pizano, and failed to conduct her own necropsies. 85. Additionally, the conduct of Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., fell

below accepted professional standards in the community for the performance of animal necropsies and the rendering of such opinions. 86. Further, the fact that Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., knew or

should have known that Dr. Pizano and the Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department did not possess the expertise to render their opinions, or do the proper forensic ~Dalysis regarding the cause of death of the various cats accentuates.the __ severity of her gross negligence in relying upon their information, reports and opinions. 87. There may be other grossly negligent acts of omission or commission of

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., as will be determined as discovery procedures progress in this cause. 88. As a direct and proximate result of the gross negligence, reckless disregard

and great indifference to the rights of others demonstrated by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, has incurred the following damages: a. b. c. d. e. Severe mental anguish and distress; Extreme humiliation and embarrassment; Extraordinary legal expenses incurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; Unwarranted incarceration; Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life; 25

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

f. g.

Psychological counseling expenses, and Loss of wages.

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future. 89. As a direct and proximate result of the gross negligence, reckless disregard

and great indifference to the rights of others demonstrated by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, has incurred financial damages in the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in excess of One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, WEINMAN, --Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS

D.D.S., respectfully demand judgment for compensatory damages against ..udqment.interest.and.L, j - ~-----:

the_Defendant,-MELINDA-D.-MERCK,-D.V.M.,togetheLwith-post costs of this proceeding. Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS

WEINMAN,

D.D.S.,

reserve the right to move this Honorable Court to proceed for punitive damages at the appropriate time. Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN,

D.D.S., demand trial by jury. COUNT VI (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S.! AGAINST DEFENDANT, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., FOR MALICIOUS PROSECUTION) Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S.,

reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28, inclusive, of this Complaint for Damages, as if set forth fully herein. 26

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

90.

There was no probable cause for the filing of multiple counts of cruelty to a third degree felony; multiple of Florida Statutes,

animals in violation of Florida Statutes, §828.12(2}, counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling

in violation

§810.02(3}(8},

a second degree felony, and multiple counts of animal/disposal of dead

carcass in violation of Florida Statutes, §823.041, a second degree misdemeanor. 91. On or about November 24, 2010, the State announced that the State was

not proceeding with the prosecution and filed their Notice of Nolle Prosequi, thereby resulting in a bona fide termination in favor of the Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN. 92. The Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M.,

IS

liable for the malicious

prosecution of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, as a result of her intentional acts without. justification indifference, malice. 93. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., knew that the prosecution of oLexcuse;_conducLrising-to-the-leveLoLgross-negligence;-greatof the rights of others demonstrating legal ..

and the reckless disregard

Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in Miami-Dade County depended in-part upon her professional opinions, and therefore her conduct called for even greater care. Said her great indifference and reckless disregard to the

gross negligence demonstrated

rights of others, specifically Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, and was a legal cause for the prosecution, WEINMAN. 94. The prosecution of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was based upon or continuation of the prosecution, of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES

an investigation conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department which utilized the grossly negligent opinions and analysis 27

-~~---------------

------

-i--l

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

conducted by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., which were based upon necropsy reports derived from necropsies performed at the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department as well as photographs of the deceased cats. 95. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., did not perform any necropsies

upon any of the cats that she was requested to render an opinion as to whether the death was from a human cause or the result of an animal predator. 96. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., with gross negligence, opined

in agreement with Dr. Pizano that the cats' deaths were not the result of a predator, but were the result of human causes, even though she knew or should have known that Dr. Pizano and her staff did not possess the expertise, nor did they conduct the proper -pmceduresJo-rendeLarLopinion-onJhe-cats'-cause-of_death-inJhis-instance.--97. In September of 2010, Dr. Richard K. Stroud, an expert retained by

counsel for Tyler Hayes Weinman in the criminal prosecution, arrived at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services. Dr. Stroud specializes in veterinary pathology relating to the determination of the cause of death and the forensic evaluation of biological evidence. 98. While at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Dr. Stroud conducted

complete necropsies of eight (8) cats which had been preserved by Animal Services. During the necropsies of the cats he peeled back the skin showing the under layer below the skin. Dr. Stroud documented puncture wounds consistent with bite marks of large predators such as dogs in excess of fifty (50) pounds. Dr. Stroud's reports with corresponding photographs documented his opinion that the eight (8) dead cats preserved by Animal Services had been killed by animal predators.
,28

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

99.

During mid-November, 2010, Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were

presented to Dr. Sara Pizano and Dr. Pizano agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings. Dr. Pizano recognized that she should have peeled back the fur in her necropsies which would have revealed the puncture wounds. 100. Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were also presented to Defendant,

MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., and she then agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings that the deaths were caused by predators, and not by human forces, thereby changing her earlier opinion. 101. At all time relevant hereto, Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., held

herself out as an expert in the field of forensic animal-related matters. _____ 102_._It_was_wbolly_foreseeabJe_that_the_Miami ..Dade__ Anlmali Servlces _

Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office would rely upon her grossly negligent professional opinions in the prosecution of individuals, specifically Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WENMAN, in this instance. 103. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., was grossly negligent by

rendering opinions that the deaths of the various cats were the result of human forces as opposed to a predator when she merely relied upon the reports, opinions and photographs supplied to her by Dr. Pizano, and failed to conduct her own necropsies. 104. Additionally, the conduct of Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., fell

below accepted professional standards in the community for the performance of animal necropsies and the rendering of such opinions. 105. Further, the fact that Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., knew or

should have known that Dr. Pizano and the Miami-Dade County Animal Services 29

-- -

1--1

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

Department did not possess the expertise to render their opinions, or do the proper forensic analysis regarding the cause of death of the various cats accentuates the severity of her gross negligence, reckless disregard and great indifference to the rights of others in relying upon their information, reports and opinions. 106. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., acted with malice, to wit:

performed intentional acts without justification

or excuse; with gross negligence; with

reckless disregard, and great indifference to the rights of the Plaintiffs. 107. As a direct and proximate result of the criminal proceedings being brought

against Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, has incurred the following damages: _--=acc_. Severe mental anguish and distress: __ b. Extreme humiliation and embarrassment; c. Extraordinary legal expenses incurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; d. Unwarranted incarceration; Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life; e. f. Psychological counseling expenses, and g. Loss if wages.
--------

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future. 108. As a direct and proximate result of the criminal proceedings being brought TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, has

against Plaintiff,

incurred financial damages in the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son in excess of One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS

WEINMAN, D.D.S., respectfully demand judgment for compensatory damages against

30

~~~--------

i

I -~---

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

the Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., together with post-judgment interest and costs of this proceeding. Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S.,

reserve the right to move this Honorable Court to proceed for punitive damages at the appropriate time. Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN,

D.D.S., demand trial by jury. COUNT VII (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS. TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN. D.D.S .• AGAINST DEFENDANT. THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA). FOR THEIR VICARIOUS LIABILITY FOR THE NEGLIGENCE COMMITTED BY DEFENDANT. MELINDA D. MERCK. D.V.M.) -----------Plaintiffs-, T-¥bER-HA¥ES-WEINMAN-and-geUGbAS-WEINMAN-, 9.9.S.,-- ------

reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28 and 53 through 89, inclusive, of this Complaint for Damages, as if set forth fully herein.

109.

At all times material hereto, Defendant, of ASPCA

MELINDA

D. MERCK, D.V.M., for

held the position Defendant,

Senior Director of Veterinary

Forensic Sciences

THE AMERICAN

SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION

OF CRUELTY TO

ANIMALS (ASPCA), and was acting in the course of and within the scope of her duties with Defendant, THE AMERICAN TO ANIMALS (ASPCA). SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY

110.

The prosecution of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was based upon

an investigation conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department which utilized the negligent opinions and analysis

conducted by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., which were based upon 31

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

necropsy reports derived from necropsies performed at the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department as well as photographs of the deceased cats. 111. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., did not perform any necropsies

upon any of the cats that she was requested to render an opinion as to whether the death was from a human cause or the result of an animal predator. 112. Dr. Sara Pizano, the Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services, prepared

reports detailing her analysis and opinions regarding the death of the cats, upon which the charges against Tyler Hayes Weinman were based. Her opinion was that nineteen (19) of the thirty-three (33) cats found by Animal Services between May and June 2009 had been killed by a human being, and not a predator. ______ 1_13._ Dr. Pizano consulted with Defendant,_MELlNDA_D._MERCK,_D.V.M.,_to_-

obtain her opinion as to whether she agreed with her conclusions that the cats had died from human forces as opposed to a predator. 114. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., opined in agreement with Dr.

Pizano that the cats' deaths were not the result of a predator, but were the result of human causes. 115. In September of 2010, Dr. Richard K. Stroud, an expert retained by

counsel for Tyler Hayes Weinman in the criminal prosecution, arrived at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services. Dr. Stroud specializes in veterinary pathology relating to the determination of the cause of death and the forensic evaluation of biological evidence. 116. While at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Dr. Stroud conducted

complete necropsies of eight (8) cats which had been preserved by Animal Services. 32

-- ---

,-1-----

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

During the necropsies of the cats he peeled back the skin showing the under layer below the skin. Dr. Stroud documented puncture wounds consistent with bite

marks of large predators such as dogs in excess of fifty (50) pounds. Dr. Stroud's reports with corresponding photographs documented his opinion that the eight (8) dead cats preserved by Animal Services had been killed by animal predators. 117. During mid-November, 2010, Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were

presented to Dr. Sara Pizano, and Dr. Pizano agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings. Dr. Pizano recognized that she should have peeled back the fur in her necropsies which would have revealed the puncture wounds. 118. MELINDAD. Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were also presented to Defendant, MI;RCK, D.V.M., and she then agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings that the ._

deaths were caused by predators, and not by human forces, thereby changing her earlier opinion. 119. At all time relevant hereto, Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., held

herself out as an expert in the field of forensic animal-related matters. 120. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., owed a duty to the Plaintiffs

not to render negligent opinions relating to forensic animal-related matters, wherein she knew or should have known that others would rely upon such opinions. 121. It was wholly foreseeable that the Miami-Dade Animal Services

Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office would rely upon her negligent professional opinions in the prosecution of individuals, specifically Plaintiff, TYLER

HAYES WENMAN, in this instance.

33

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

122.

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., was negligent by rendering

opinions that the deaths of the various cats were the result of human forces as opposed to a predator when she merely relied upon the reports, opinions and photographs supplied to her by Dr. Pizano, and failed to conduct her own necropsies. 123. Additionally, the conduct of Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., fell below accepted professional standards in the community for the performance of animal necropsies and the rendering of such opinions. 124. Further, the fact that Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., knew or

should have known that Dr. Pizano and the Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department did not possess the expertise to render their opinions, or do the proper ___ f,=orensicanal},sis regarding_jhe_c_au_s_e_oLdeathtthe.varlous __atsaccentuatesthe • __ o c severity of her negligence in relying upon their information, reports and opinions. 125. There may be other negligent acts of omission or commission of Defendant, MELINDA
D. MERCK,

D.V.M., as will be determined as discovery

procedures progress in this cause. 126. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Defendant, THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR
THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

(ASPCA), is vicariously liable to

Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, who has incurred the following damages: a. b. c. d. e. Severe mental anguish and distress; Extreme humiliation and embarrassment Extraordinary legal expenses incurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; Unwarranted incarceration; Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life;
34

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

f. g.

Psychologicalcounseling expenses, and Loss of wages.

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future. 127. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Defendant, THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA), is vicariously liable to Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, who has incurred financial damages in the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in excess of One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, ___ Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS - ------------

WEINMAN,-D.D.S.,-respectfully-demand-judgment-for-compensatory-damages-againstthe Defendant, THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA), together with post-judgment interest and costs of this proceeding. Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., reserve the right to move this Honorable Court to proceed for punitive damages at the appropriate time. Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER WEINMAN, D.D.S., demand trial by jury. HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS

35

---- -I -,-----

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

COUNT VIII (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS. TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN. D.D.S .• AGAINST DEFENDANT. THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUEL TV TO ANIMALS (ASPCA). FOR THEIR VICARIOUS LIABILITY FOR THE MALICIOUS PROSECUTION COMMITTED BY DEFENDANT. MELINDA D. MERCK. D.V.M.) Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S.,

reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28, 90 through 108, inclusive, of this Complaint for Damages, as if set forth fully herein. 128. At all times material hereto, Defendant, MELINDA of ASPCA Senior Director of Veterinary D. MERCK, D.V.M., Sciences for

held the position Defendant,

Forensic

THE AMERICAN

SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION

OF CRUELTY TO

ANIMALS (ASPCA), and was acting in the course of and within the scope of her duties with-Qefendant,THE-AMERIGAN-S0GIE'T-Y-F0R~HE-PREVEN"'10N-0F-GRUE~T-Y TO ANIMALS (ASPCA). 129. There was no probable cause for the filing of multiple counts of cruelty to a third degree felony; multiple of Florida Statutes, ---.-.------

animals in violation of Florida Statutes, §828.12(2), counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling

in violation

§810.02(3)(B),

a second degree felony, and multiple counts of animal/disposal of dead

carcass in violation of Florida Statutes, §823.041, a second degree misdemeanor. 130. On or about November 24, 2010, the State announced that the State was and filed their Notice of Nolle Prosequi, thereby

not proceeding with the prosecution

resulting in a bona fide termination of the criminal proceedings in favor of the Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN. 131. The Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., is liable for the malicious

prosecution of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, as a result of her intentional
36

i-I

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

conduct without justification or excuse; conduct rising to the level of gross negligence; great indifference, and the reckless disregard of the rights of others demonstrating legal malice. 132. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., knew that the prosecution of

Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in Miami-Dade County depended in-part upon her professional opinions, and therefore called for even greater care. Said gross negligence demonstrated specifically her great indifference TYLER and reckless disregard to the rights of others, and was a legal cause for the

Plaintiff,

HAYES WEINMAN,

prosecution of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN. 133. ___ The prosecution of Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was based upon

-----"an inve_stigatimLconducted_by_the_Miami ..DadeJ::>olice_DepactmenLand-the-Miami ..Dade-------------Animal Services Department which utilized the grossly negligent opinions and analysis conducted necropsy by Defendant, reports derived MELINDA from D. MERCK, D.V.M., which were based upon at the Miami-Dade Animal

necropsies

performed

Services Department as well as photographs of the deceased cats. 134. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., did not perform any necropsies

upon any of the cats that she was requested to render an opinion as to whether the death was from a human cause or the result of an animal predator. 135. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., grossly negligently opined in

agreement with Dr. Pizano that the cats' deaths were not the result of a predator, but were the result of human causes, even though she knew or should have known that Dr. Pizano and her staff did not possess the expertise, nor conduct the proper procedures to render an opinion on the cats' cause of death in this instance. 37

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

136.

In September of 2010, Dr. Richard K Stroud, an expert retained by

counsel for Tyler Hayes Weinman in the criminal prosecution, arrived at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services. Dr. Stroud specializes in .veterinary pathology relating to the determination of the cause of death and the forensic evaluation of biological evidence. 137. While at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Dr. Stroud conducted complete necropsies of eight (8) cats which had been preserved by Animal Services. During the necropsies of the cats he peeled back the skin showing the under layer below the skin. Dr. Stroud documented puncture wounds consistent with bite marks of large predators such as dogs in excess of fifty (50) pounds. Dr. Stroud's reports with corresponding photograQhs documented his oQinion that. the eight (~) dead cats preserved by Animal Services had been killed by animal predators. 138. During mid-November, 2010, Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were

presented to Dr. Sara Pizano and Dr. Pizano agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings. Dr. Pizano recognized that she should have peeled back the fur in her necropsies which would have revealed the puncture wounds. 139. Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were also presented to Defendant,

MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., and she then agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings that the

deaths were caused by predators, and not by human forces, thereby changing her earlier opinion. 140. At all time relevant hereto, Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., held herself out as an expert in the field of forensic animal-related matters.

38

-~

-I

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

141.

It was wholly foreseeable that the Miami-Dade Animal Services

Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office would rely upon her grossly negligent professional opinions in the prosecution of individuals, specifically Plaintiff,
TYLER HAYES WENMAN, in this instance.

142.

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., was grossly negligent by

rendering opinions that the deaths of the various cats were the result of human forces as opposed to a predator when she merely relied upon the reports, opinions and photographs supplied to her by Dr. Pizano, and failed to conduct her own necropsies. 143. Additionally, the conduct of Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., fell below accepted professional standards in the community for the performance of animal ____ oe_cLOp_siesaodJbe_[endering_otsucb_opinions. 144. _

Further, the fact that Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., knew or

should have known that Dr. Pizano and her staff and the Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department did not possess the expertise to render their opinions, or do the proper forensic analysis, regarding the cause of death of the various cats accentuates the severity of her gross negligence in relying upon their information, reports and opinions. 145. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., acted with malice, to wit:

performed intentional acts without justification or excuse; with gross negligence; with reckless disregard, and great indifference to the rights of the Plaintiffs. 146. As a direct and proximate result of the malicious prosecution committed by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Defendant, THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR

39

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA), is vicariously liable to Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, who has incurred the following damages: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Severe mental anguish and distress; Extreme humiliation and embarrassment; Extraordinary legal expenses incurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; Unwarranted incarceration; Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life; Psychologicalcounseling expenses, and Loss of wages.

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future. 147. As a direct and proximate result of the malicious prosecution committed by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Defendant, THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTV TO ANIMALS (ASPCA), is vicariously liable to Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, who has incurred financial damages in the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, in excess of One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS

WEINMAN, D.D.S., respectfully demand judgment for compensatory damages against the Defendant, THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS (ASPCA), together with post-judgment interest and costs of this proceeding. Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., reserve the right to move this Honorable Court to proceed for punitive damages at the appropriate time.

40

-------~!----

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., demand trial by jury. COUNT IX (CLAIMS OF PLAINTIFFS, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., AGAINST DEFENDANT, THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, FOR THEIR VICARIOUS LIABILITY FOR THE NEGLIGENCE COMMITTED BY DEFENDANT, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M.) Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S., reallege, reaver and incorporate by reference, paragraphs 1 through 28 and 53 through 70, inclusive, of this Complaint for Damages, as if set forth fully herein. 148. At all times material hereto, Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., was employed as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Florida College of ----VeterinaryMedieine-at-E>efendant,UNIVERSI"P(-eF-F~eRIE)A,and··was-acting-in-thecourse of and within the scope of her employment with Defendant, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA. 149. The prosecution of Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, was based upon _...

an investigation conducted by the Miami-Dade Police Department and the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department which utilized the negligent opinions and analysis conducted by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M.,· which were based upon necropsy reports derived from necropsies performed at the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department as well as photographs of the deceased cats. 150. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., did not perform any necropsies

upon any of the cats that she was requested to render an opinion as to whether the death was from a human cause or the result of an animal predator.

41

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

151. Dr. Sara Pizano, the Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services, prepared reports detailing her analysis and opinions regarding the death of the cats, upon which the charges against Tyler Hayes Weinman were based. Her opinion was that nineteen (19) of the thirty-three (33) cats found by Animal Services between May and June 2009 had been killed by a human being, and not a predator. 152. Dr. Pizano consulted with Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., to

obtain her opinion as to whether she agreed with her conclusions that the cats had died from human forces as opposed to a predator. 153. Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., negligently opined in

agreement with Dr. Pizano that the cats' deaths were not the result of a predator, but were the result of human causes. 154. _
---------------

In September of 2010, Dr. Richard K. Stroud, an expert retained. by

counsel for Tyler Hayes Weinman in the criminal prosecution, arrived at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services. Dr. Stroud specializes in veterinary pathology relating to the determination of the cause of death and the forensic evaluation of biological evidence. 155. While at the offices of Miami-Dade Animal Services, Dr. Stroud conducted complete necropsies of eight (8) cats which had been preserved by Animal Services. During the necropsies of the cats he peeled back the skin showing the under layer below the skin. Dr. Stroud documented puncture wounds consistent with bite marks of large predators such as dogs in excess of fifty (50) pounds. Dr. Stroud's reports with corresponding photographs documented his opinion that the eight (8) dead cats preserved by Animal Services had been killed by animal predators.
42

--

-- ---- I --,----

WEINMAN

v.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

156.

During mid-November, 2010, Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were

presented to Dr. Sara Pizano, and Dr. Pizano agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings. Dr. Pizano recognized that she should have peeled back the fur in her necropsies which would have revealed the puncture wounds. 157. Dr. Stroud's report and photographs were also presented to Defendant,

MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., and she then agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings that the

deaths were caused by predators, and not by human forces, thereby changing her earlier opinion. 158. At all time relevant hereto, Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., held herself out as an expert in the field of forensic animal-related matters. . .__ _:_15~'._ Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M~,owed a dlJt}' to the Plaintiffs _

not to render negligent opinions relating to forensic animal-related matters, wherein she knew or should have known that others would rely upon such opinions. 160. It was wholly foreseeable that the Miami-Dade Animal Services

Department and the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office would rely upon her negligent professional opinions in the prosecution of individuals, specifically Plaintiff, TYLER
HAYES WENMAN, in this instance.

161.

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M:, was negligent by rendering

opinions that the deaths of the various cats were the result of human forces as opposed to a predator when she merely relied upon the reports, opinions and photographs supplied to her by Dr. Pizano, and failed to conduct her own necropsies.

43

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

162. Additionally, the conduct of Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., fell below accepted professional standards in the community for the performance of animal necropsies and the rendering of such opinions. 163. Further, the fact that Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., knew or

should have known that Dr. Pizano and her staff and the Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department did not possess the expertise to render their opinions, or do the proper forensic analysis, regarding the cause of death of the various cats accentuates the severity of her negligence in relying upon their information, reports and opinions. 164. There may be other negligent acts of omission or commission of Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., as will be determined as discovery ____ ~rocedures J:>rogress this cause_,_. in ~ ~ _

165. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence demonstrated by Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Defendant, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, is vicariously liable to Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN, who has incurred the following damages: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Severe mental anguish and distress; Extreme humiliation and embarrassment; Extraordinary legal expenses incurred in the defense of the unwarranted criminal prosecution and other related expenses; Unwarranted incarceration; Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life; Psychological counseling expenses, and Loss of wages.

These losses are permanent and continuing in nature and he will continue to suffer these damages and losses in the future.

44

WEINMAN v. MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, ET AL.

166.

As a direct and proximate

result of the negligence demonstrated by

Defendant, MELINDA D. MERCK, D.V.M., Defendant, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, is vicariously liable to Plaintiff, DOUGLAS WEINMAN, who has incurred financial damages in the defense of the wrongful prosecution of his son, Plaintiff, TYLER HAYES

WEINMAN, in excess of One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand ($144,000.00) Dollars. WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS

WEINMAN, D.D.S., respectfully demand judgment for compensatory damages against the Defendant, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, together with post-judgment interest and costs of this proceeding. Additionally, Plaintiffs, TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN,
-

D.D.S., demand trial by jury.

Respectfully submitted, RONALD S. GURALNICK, P. A.
(Counsel for Plaintiffs,

TYLER HAYES WEINMAN and DOUGLAS WEINMAN, D.D.S.,) Miami Tower 100 S.E. 2nd Street, Floor 36 Miami, Florida 33131 Telephone: (305) 373-0066 Fax: (305) 373-1387 E-mail: rgacquit bells

RONALD S. GURALNICK (Florida Bar No. 111476)

45

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--i--'-~~----

-~

,--~----

. OF·THE STATE ATIORNEY . OFFICE
ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
J

.

KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE STATE ATfORNEY

J

I

INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUM TO: Katherine Fernandez Rundle State Attorney DATE:
11/24/10

DEFT NAME: Tyler Weinman CASE NO: F09-19761 RE: Close Out.

---------------S~¥--~----Tyler Weinman is charged. with numerous counts of animal cruelty and other related charges, .. The State must Nolle Prosse the pending. charges. against Tyler .. Weinman. The State's decision to nolle prosse the case in its entirety is based on the expert witnesses' recent determination that the cats in the custody of Miami Dade An~a1 Services Division were in fact killed by.predators and not by a human being. Since these cats were not killed by a human being, there is no animal cruelty.

1

EXHIBIT

A

- -I-I----~--

REVIEW OF FACTS AND mSTORY A history of the case will demonstrate how the State and the Miami Dade Police Department came to be at this place in the prosecution of the defendant. Beginning in April and into early May 2009 a significant number of cats were found deceased in the Cutler Bay area. By May 13th, 2009 the Cutler Bay Police Department was getting numerous calls about dead cats. This influx of calls caused the police to open an investigation into the killing of the cats. AB part of the Investigation, Miami-Dade Animal Services was contacted to have one of their investigators come to the Cutler Bay area and assist with the investigation, since the police officers felt they did not have the expertise to know the cause and manner of death of the cats . . Investigator (accompanied Fernando Casadevall came to assist the police department

by a film crew from the Animal Planet Television Network). The

investigator made a determination on the scene that the deceased cats appeared to have been killed by a person and dissected after they were dead. Investigator Casadevall also explained that since the cats were found wet and in posed positions, with no blood around, the cats had been cleaned and placed at the scene by a human being. Mr. Casadevall maintained the opinion that the ever-growing numbers of dead cats were in fact killed by a human being and not by an animal predator.
An anonymous tip ~e

to the Cutler Bay Police Department that a young man

named Tyler Weinman was involved" in the .killing of the cats. The police had heightened surveillance during the course of this time period in May and Weinman was stopped, spoken to, and responded to the police in a manner that the officers felt was "bizarre."

2

·'1

Later, on May the 15th, 2009, Tyler Weinman was stopped for a traffic infraction (failure to stop while making a turn and driving with a suspended license). During the stop, marijuana was detected and he was charged with possession of marijuana. While being transported to the police station, Weinman began talking to the transporting officer about the deceased cats in the Cutler Bay Area. Weinman was then interviewed at the police station. During the course of this interview, Weinman stated that he had taken an anatomy class at Palmetto High School, which included the dissection of cats.
._

Weinman then began explaining that the dissection of cats in a way the officers felt it Was both over enthusiastic and scary. During his interview, Weinman vividly described the sound made when tearing a eat's skin during dissection. The police officers soon after confirmed that that animals preserved in formaldehyde or any other preservatives do not make such tearing sounds. Weinman continued in the interview to talk about cat scratches he had recently

I---~--

received and were visible during_ihe intenriew._He_also_demonstrated-with-his-hands-. how cats being dissected would be cut open. It is important that many of the animals found to that date appeared to have been dissected, with clean cut wounds, and body parts removed. During the interview, Weinman said, "If I tell you about the cats that I did, would you make the marijuana charges go away" at which point the police officers said that
theycould not make that decision.

At the -time of his marijuana arrest on May 15, 2009, Weintilan was living in Cutler Bay with his mother. After the May 15 arrest, Weinman began living with his father in Palmetto Bay. to Cutler Bay.
.

Soon after 'Weinman's May 15th interview, deceased cats.
.

started 'appearing in Palmetto Bay and the investigation then spread from Palmetto' Bay

-

3

---------,

.------------

Due to Tyler Weinman's interview and his reaction to the interview, the investigation into the killing of the cats focused on Tyler Weinman. Cell site review. placed Weinman within the cell phone areas of the killing of almost all of the cats in Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, and later the Kendall area near the time that the cats were killed. On May 27,2009, a GPS mobile tracking device was placed on Weinman's car, pursuant to court order. This device stayed on his car until his arrest on June 13,2009. The mobile tracking device placed him within close proximity of two of the cats found in the Kendall area and showed his car stopping nearby in excess of five minutes at a
time.

cursory necropsies of the deceased cats upon the request of Investigator Casadevall. These veterinarians (although not forensically certified) also came to the initial conclusions that the cats were not being killed by predators. Dr. Sara-Pizano, me director ofMiamrDaoe State Attorney's Office AiiimarServices, personallysmrtea-------

.

Initially, two contract veterinarians from Miami-Dade Animal Services did
.

reviewing and conducting the necropsies. Dr. Pizano confumed to the police and the

that these

cats had been killed by a human being in a similar

fashion, indicating that there one was one individual responsible for the killings . ......... . On June 13th, 2009, Judge Daryl Trawick signed search warrants for the homes of Weinman's mother and father, as well as an arrest warrant for Weinman. Searches of the homes were conducted and Weinman was subsequently arrested. During the search of the home of Weinman's mother, a number of items were found including cat nip (Weinman did not own a cat) and at least on~ cutting device . found in a man-made hole cut into Weinman's bedroom wall that had been conceaied by a picture. Upon Weinman's arrest, he was again interviewed at length by the police. He again appeared by the· police to have an inappropriate demeanor and response to the
4

'j

!

..

.-,

activities going on (including his arrest) and to the death of the cats. At one point, after his arrest, Weinman said to detectives, "If I tell you about the first cats that I did, can you make the rest of them go away." Again, the police stated that this decision was not up to them. Prior to Weirunan's arrest on June 13,2009, there was ever increasing pressure on the detectives involved in the investigation to make an arrest. The residents of the Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay, and later the Kendall areas were horrified by these acts and cat owners in the area felt particularly singled out as possible victims of violence. Everyone was on edge. The opinions of the Animal Services representatives greatly influenced the investigators and the others involved in this case due to their apparent specialized knowledge of animal cruelty.

1----

.. _. _

It is interesting to note that_up.OnTyler_Weirunan~s_arresuheJdllings_of_the in cats

Cutler Bay, Palmetto Bay and the Kendall area inunediately ceased. However, the State Attorney's Office did not learn that there had been two large wild dogs seized by animal services the same day as Weinman's arrest in the neighborhood of Cutler Bay until the deposition of Investigator Casadevall which was conducted in the fall of 2010. Dr. Pizano from Animal Services prepared reports detailing her analysis and opinions of the deceased cats upon which _c!Iargeswere based. Dr. Pizano consulted with Dr. Melinda Merck, Senior Director Veterinary Forensic Services, Forensic Science and Anti ..Cruelty Projects. Dr. Merck is a nationally renowned forensic veterinarian with the American Society for

the Prevention

of Cruelty

to

Animals

(ASPCA). Dr. Pizano and Dr. Merck, based upon the information provided by Dr. Pizano, agreed that nineteen (19) of the thirty-three (33) cats found by Animal Services between May and June 2009 had been killed by a human being, and not a predator.

5

,

,..;

In September of2010, defense expert Dr. Richard K. Stroud Forensic Veterinary Consultant, arrived at Miami Dade Animal Services. forensic evaluation of biological evidence. Dr. Stroud specializes in Veterinary Pathology relating to the determinations of the causes of death and the At Miami Dade Animal Services, he conducted complete necropsies of the eight cats which had been preserved. During his necropsies of the cats he peeled back the skin showing the tinder layer below the skin. Dr. Stroud documented puncture wounds consistent with bite marks of large predators such as dogs in excess of 50 pounds. Dr. Stroud's reports with corresponding photos documented his opinion that the eight (8) dead cats preserved by Animal .Services had been killed 'by animal predators. This report was presented
to

the State Attorney's

Office in mid-November 2010. The State Attorney's Office on November 19, 2010 presented Dr. Pizano with Dr. Stroud's report and photographs. Pizano concluded that she agreed with Dr. Stroud's findings, Dr. Pizano recognized that she should have peeled back the fur in her necropsies which would have revealed these puncture ---wounds.-Br;-Merck-was-presente<i witlltJie· same material on Nove-mEer22;-2010-ana- ----concluded that Dr. Stroud was correct, that the dead cats maintained by Animal Services had been killed by predators, not human beings, As a result of Dr. Pizano's, Dr. Merck's, and Dr. Stroud's conclusions regarding the preserved cats, the State is no longer in a position to prove that all of the cats had been killed by a human being, versus a predator, Because the remaining eleven cats were not preserved by Animal Services, the ex:perts cannot reevaluate those ~ts to eliminate the possibility that they too were killed by a predator. As a result, the State can no longer go forward with the animal cruelty charges.
Since the charges of illegal disposing of animal carcasses and the burglary counts
. .

are all intertwined with the animal cruelty counts, the State is.no longer in aposition to proceed on these counts., notwithstanding the defendant's own statements.

6

·1·

In retrospect, the initial conclusion of Investigator Fernando Casadevall that the cats had been killed by a single person caused a sequence of events which led to the arrest and charging of Weinman. Dr. Sara Pizano, the head of Animal Services, who is an excellent director, is not a forensic veterinarian. The Miami Dade Animal Services was simply unprepared and untrained for a case of this magnitude. Law.enforcement and the State Attomey's Office relied upon Animal Services as experts, which brought us to this posture.

.;

i

7

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