A Naples attorney charged in the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist in December is facing a civil lawsuit in the case, even as she opens her own law firm and scrutiny by the Florida Bar.
Giselle Guzman, 30, is accused of fatally striking Alberto Martinez, 45, on Dec. 9, and fleeing the crash.
Earlier this month, Collier Circuit Judge Elizabeth Krier raised Guzman's bond to $50,000 from $30,000.
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She pleaded not guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of a fatal crash and formally waived her Jan. 17 arraignment, which granted her absence from court hearings related to her case.
That day, prosecutors asked Circuit Judge Elizabeth Krier to increase her bond.
The state sought to raise the bond to mirror that of a homicide charge, citing Guzman's absence from all scheduled court hearings.
Krier also barred contact with the victim's next of kin, the anonymous 911 caller who tipped police to Guzman in the case and listed witnesses.
What is a lawsuit filed against Guzman seeking?
A three-page lawsuit filed Wednesday by Naples attorney Rodolfo Linares Linares, representing Maikol Lima Reytor, seeks more than $100,000 in damages for Martinez's death for vehicular negligence and demands a jury trial.
The Daily News couldn't reach Linares Linares for comment before publication.
Lima Reytor is Martienz's brother-in-law, according to the complaint.
The suit lists Giselle Guzman's negligence as the sole count.
"The surviving natural person, Elizabeth Reytor Rodriguez, lost the support and services of the decedent from the date of his death as well as future loss of support and services, the amount of decedent's probable net income, the replacement value of decedent's services, mental pain and suffering, and medical expenses due to the decedent's injuries and death paid by her," the complaint reads.
Donald Day, who represents Guzman in the case, has asked for a jury trial in Martinez's death. He declined comment Thursday afternoon.
What happened leading to Guzman's Dec. 9 crash?
The crash happened about 6:45 p.m. Dec. 9 along 41st Street Southwest, near 22nd Avenue, an incident report from the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Martinez died, his left shoe 70 feet from him.
Investigators found bicycle pieces, as well as parts from Guzman's car, according to the arrest report.
As the investigation continued, the Collier County Sheriff's Office received an anonymous call from a family member of Guzman, alerting of the crash.
How did troopers piece the investigation together?
Troopers found a car with extensive damage to the front-right side and a missing piece consistent with the one they found on scene when they arrived at her home in the 9000 block of Gervais Circle, the report said.
They reported right-side hood damage, windshield damage and what appeared to be body smudges, body fluids and skull fragments, according to her arrest report.
A witness told troopers that the night of the crash Guzman cut him off on Golden Gate Parkway and was swerving in her lane.
When both made a left turn onto 41st Street Southwest, the witness said, he saw Guzman strike Martinez. The witness added that Guzman continued north toward Collier Boulevard.
Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol arrested Guzman on Dec. 22 and charged her with one count of leaving the scene of a crash involving a fatality.
What law firm did Guzman work for, and where is she now?
Guzman was an associate with Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford in North Naples and focused her work on civil litigation, construction, medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability and professional liability.
Her page with her former employer was no longer available Dec. 23.
She's since launched her own law firm, More Justice Law, 9071 Bonita Beach Road S.E. Guzman is one of two attorneys listed on the website.
If she's convicted of a felony, Guzman could lose her license to practice law.
"We can confirm that we have an open case and are monitoring the criminal case," Jennifer Krell Davis, spokesperson for the Florida Bar, wrote in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Guzman's next court date is a March 30 case management conference.
Tomas Rodriguez is a Breaking/Live News Reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. You can reach Tomas at TRodriguez@gannett.com or 772-333-5501. Connect with him on Twitter @TomasFRoBeltran, Instagram @tomasfrobeltran and Facebook @tomasrodrigueznews.
This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Naples attorney faces lawsuit in accused hit, run death; opens firm