Find out about the most important recent Florida cases, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Coverage includes Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Pinellas counties.
Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, 11th
head-blunt force trauma to the head; other-death; other-loss of society; mental/psychological-emotional distress
Insurance – Fraud; Wrongful Death
Myriam Benitez, as heir and personal representative of the Estate of Wendy Marie Trapaga v. Yolanda Cerrillo,
September 4, 2013
Myriam Benitez (Female),
Estate of Wendy Marie Trapaga (Female, 21 Years)
Jorge C. Borron;
Law Office of Jorge Celestino Borron;
Myriam Benitez, Estate of Wendy Marie Trapaga
In October 2002, plaintiff’s decedent Wendy Marie Trapaga, 21, was killed in Miami Springs. In 2005, police charged her husband, Michel Escoto, with murder. Myriam Benitez, as heir and as personal representative of the estate of her daughter, sued Yolanda Cerrillo, the ex-girlfriend of Escoto, for wrongful death. The estate’s counsel claimed that Trapaga‘s family had suspected that Cerrillo helped Escoto carry out the killing as part of a scheme to collect a $1 million insurance policy he had on Trapaga. Prosecutors gave Cerrillo immunity in exchange for details against Escoto. The estate’s counsel claimed that Cerrillo admitted to prosecutors that she helped Escoto crush narcotic pain reliever pills into powder to knock out Trapaga before he beat her to death. Counsel also claimed that Cerrillo admitted she allowed Escoto to dunk her head into a bathtub to practice how to drown Trapaga. In 2012, a Miami-Dade judge found Cerrillo liable for Trapaga‘s death. A trial proceeded on damages.
Benitez sought to recover compensatory and punitive damages for pain and suffering and loss of societyresulting from Trapaga‘s death.
The jury determined that the estate’s damages totaled $44 million, which included $33 million in punitive damages.
Estate of Wendy Marie Trapaga $33,000,000 Personal Injury: Punitive Exemplary Damages; $11,000,000 Personal Injury: compensatory
David C. Miller
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. The defendant was not asked to contribute.