As a Pembroke Pines elder abuse attorney, I was disturbed to see an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Oct. 12 about a man’s arrest for neglecting his elderly mother. Paris Martz, 40, was arrested and charged with elder neglect, resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer after an Oct. 11 run-in with police. Neighbors called 911 after seeing smoke coming from the back yard of the Wilton Manors home where Martz lived with his 78-year-old mother. However, when police arrived, they were met by an angry Martz, who told them they were “the enemy,” told them to leave and struck an officer in the groin and chest. His mother then ran out of the home, nude and covered in feces, screaming for help.
When police entered the house to respond to the fire call, they discovered stacks of newspapers and other trash so high that they formed only narrow passageways, as well as feces in the hallway. The house has been condemned as unfit for habitation by the county, and the mother was taken to a hospital for examination. According to neighbor Thomas Miller, Martz and his mother had always been strange. Miller and others said they had seen the mother sitting in a lawn chair in the driveway, naked and caked in feces, and screams came from the house at night. Martz himself liked to experiment with small explosives in the back yard. The Florida Department of Children and Families acknowledged having been in contact with the family already, and Miller said he and others had called the DCF’s Elder Abuse Hotline about them.
I wrote earlier this month about Florida’s spotty regulations requiring background checks for people who work with the elderly and disabled in institutions. While this is a serious problem, nobody at all checks the background of people who care for their own relatives. In fact, statistics show that the majority of elder abuse, exploitation and neglect cases involve victims living outside a facility. Just like people in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities, these victims depend on others for daily needs — which can sometimes make it hard for them to object to or report abuses. My job as a Cooper City elder abuse lawyer is to help these victims and their families hold perpetrators legally and financially responsible for their terrible actions.
Cohn, Smith & Cohn is proud to represent elderly and disabled people and families victimized by neglect, abuse and financial exploitation by caregivers. Our Deerfield Beach elder neglect lawyers represent older people who were betrayed by someone they depended on — whether the abuses took place at home or in a facility. Elder abuse doesn’t just wound the dignity and basic rights of the victims; it can also have serious health consequences, particularly for people who were already struggling with health problems. Our attorneys help victims and their families recover all of the costs that the abuse made necessary, including medical and funeral expenses as well as repayment of any money lost to financial exploitation or to pay unfit, irresponsible caregivers.
If you have a loved one who is a victim of abuse or neglect by a caregiver and you’re ready to fight back, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can help. To set up a free, confidential consultation, please contact us through our Web site or call our main office in Hollywood at (954) 431-8100.