Friday, July 21, 2017

RIP Richard Strafer

RIP Richard Strafer.

What a tragedy. Richard was a friend. A really great guy. Brilliant lawyer. He could spot a great issue and crank out a 50-page perfect brief faster than anyone I knew. Here's the DBR obit:

Miami criminal appellate lawyer G. Richard Strafer died Friday after contracting a mystery infection on a European cruise and letting his colleagues know before going into a coma in Britain. He was 66.

Strafer was known for his compelling appellate writing, including a 2012 petition that persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments in the Kaley v. United States on the constitutionality of pretrial asset freezes. The court later found them legal.

Strafer had his own firm for many years and last summer became of counsel at Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf.

"He is one of the finest legal writers in this country," Black Srebnick senior partner Roy Black said while Strafer was hospitalized. "He has a brilliant and incisive mind and understands and resolves thorny legal problems better than anyone I know."

Strafer fell ill last month after contracting an infection on a Viking Cruises trip during a vacation with his husband, Jon Rick. Strafer was quarantined in his cabin, given antibiotics by the ship's doctor and taken to a hospital after the cruise ended.

At the hospital outside London, Strafer suffered cardiac arrest. That night, colleagues said his medical records show the hospital staff removed him from oxygen for nearly 10 minutes, and he lapsed into a vegetative state shortly afterward around June 22.

About a week later, he was flown to Baptist Hospital in Miami, where he was visited by his husband, 26-year-old daughter Jordan, friends, colleagues and his two dogs. Strafer trained the dogs as therapy pets so they could cheer up hospital patients, particularly children. In his final days, the dogs were allowed to climb onto his hospital bed and snuggle in his arms.

Under conditions of his living will, Strafer was removed from life support Monday. The source of the infection has not been determined.

And here is the Herald obit:
Richard Strafer, a brilliant, behind-the-scenes appellate lawyer at the marquee criminal-defense firm in Miami, has been a fanatical runner and bicyclist for years. He competed in two World Championship Duathlons, finishing eighth in his age group in Spain in 2011 and 22nd in Hungary in 2007.

So when he set off on a leisurely European cruise in early June, his colleagues and friends thought it was a tad ironic.

Days after departing from Stockholm, Sweden, on a cruise to Norway, the 66-year-old Strafer caught a chest cold. It soon flared up to a 104-degree fever and pneumonia.

By mid-June, when the ship sailed into Greenwich, England, Strafer had already been under medical supervision for the latter half of the cruise. After being transferred to an English hospital, doctors gave him antibiotics for a worsening lung infection that they could not diagnose, but the medication proved ineffective. As his lungs deteriorated, Strafer went into cardiac arrest that cut off oxygen to his brain. Within a week, he slipped into a coma.

Strafer, considered to possess one of the sharpest legal minds in South Florida, never awoke from it. After being flown in a private air ambulance to Miami in early July, he was taken to Baptist Hospital, where a stream of family and friends visited his bedside. Baptist doctors concluded his coma was irreversible.


“Everyone is heartbroken,” said attorney Scott Kornspan, managing partner of Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, where Strafer worked for more than 15 years. “How does this happen on a cruise line to a perfectly healthy man? We're all in shock and dumbfounded about what happened.”

Kornspan said he communicated with Strafer on June 17 just after he was transferred from the Viking Cruises ship to the English hospital. Strafer expressed alarm over his prognosis after doctors immediately told him in the hospital’s ICU that if he had arrived three hours later he would have died. They also told him that because of the seriousness of his condition, he should contact next of kin and a spiritual adviser.


david tucker said...

Richard was brilliant but more important he was a gentle and kind soul. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Anonymous said...

This is undoubtedly sad news. But the real takeaway here is the brevity of life and our own frailty. A seemingly healthy man, who presumably had many years left to live died very suddenly of what amounts to a cold. That could be any of us, or any of our loved ones. Love and cherish and live each day well.