Articles Posted in Hotel Liability

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Because of Disney’s corporate thinking, Matt and Melissa Graves lost their son Lane. On June 14, 2016 Lane Graves was killed by an alligator, who snatched him from the shore of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando. Probably mistaking the prehistoric creature for a toy or animatronic reptile, Lane walked toward the gator and was taken.

Despite the heroic efforts by his parents, Lane was pulled under water, only to be found by divers the next day. The horror of this loss is magnified by the fact that Matt and Melissa fought the alligator before it submerged with their son.

The dignity displayed by the Graves in refusing to comment on this senseless loss conveys the deep need to grieve their loss and focus on what is important now. But for the rest of us the lesson is clear: Disney needs to learn that they cannot wait until crash after crash at an intersection before putting up a stop sign. Here there was a need for more than just a stop sign.

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Vacations can be the greatest of times…or can leave tourists injured or killed. Resorts, cruise ships and hotels present a range of hazards to even the most seasoned travelers. As an experienced resort and vacation injury lawyer, John Leighton has litigated and tried many cases involving injury and death to travelers. In the latest issue of the South Florida Legal Guide, Mr. Leighton published 10 life-saving tips to help avoid a tragic vacation scenario:

Ten Tips to Avoid a Deadly Vacation:

Surviving Resorts, Cruise Ships & Hotels is No Accident

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For the first time ever, Florida’s parasailing businesses have to comply with safety regulations.

Florida Statute 327.02 (“Miskell-White Act”) requires commercial parasailing operators to log weather conditions before beginning each parasailing, forbids operations during hazardous weather conditions, and requires operators to be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard. It also requires minimum liability insurance, which has plagued this industry where fly-by-night operators opened and closed their businesses at will. Previously this was a completely unregulated industry where anyone with a boat, tow rope and parachute could charge money to take people aloft under any conditions.

John Leighton and our client Shannon Kraus (mother of Amber May White) fought tirelessly for seven years to see this law come to fruition. It is a result of almost yearly tragedies that have occurred during parasailing activities in Florida. In 2007, Shannon lost her 15 year-old daughter Amber May White, for which the new law is named. Amber May’s tragedy just foreshadowed years of repetitive injuries and deaths until Florida’s legislature finally took action.

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Shannon Kraus is a mother on a mission. Seven years after the death of her 15 year-old daughter and a brain injury to her 17 year-old, Shannon has succeeded in getting some measure of parasailing regulation passed in Florida.

Working with her attorney, John Leighton of Leighton Law, P.A., and countless hours of meetings with state and local legislators, plus continued parasailing injuries and deaths each year, the Florida Legislature finally passed a law to regulate parasailing safety:

http://www.actionhub.com/news/2014/06/24/florida-governor-signs-parasailing-bill-law/

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A bizarre and tragic incident left an expectant mother and her unborn baby dead at a Fort Lauderdale hotel’s poolside cabana.

The 27-year-old woman visiting from Massachusetts had just entered the cabana when a car plowed into it, killing her instantly. The car’s driver reportedly lost control, hit a curb, crossed a sidewalk and continued 20 feet into the cabana. The driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was reported to be in stable condition.

An investigation is underway and charges against the driver are pending toxicology tests. A Breathalyzer and blood test were not performed immediately following the incident because the driver was injured. A myriad of legal issues could come into play, from driver negligence causing catastrophic injuries to premises liability and resort tort litigation.

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Safety policies and procedures at hotels and resorts are keys to the safety of both guests and employees.

A simple light bulb change in the pool area of the Stonewall Resort and Conference Center in West Virginia resulted in a debilitating foot and ankle injury for a resort-employed electrician, who fell about 20 feet onto concrete, reported the West Virginia Record. The employee claims he received an electrical shock when changing the bulb, causing the fall from an extension ladder.

As a general rule, property owners have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition to protect against dangers of which the owner is aware, should be aware, or might reasonably foresee.

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© Tobias Wenov | Dreamstime.com

FL vacation home.jpgThis year, Florida Legislature will review several bills filed regarding the state’s $60 billion tourism industry:

• A bill designed to preempt any future efforts to regulate vacation homes as if they were hotels or motels • Stiffer penalties for people who distribute fliers on hotel properties (The Safety Act of 2011)

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A family has filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court after their son died while free diving at The Homestead, a resort in Utah.

Free diver.jpgThey say the resort and its business partner, The Crater, Inc., were not in compliance with Utah law that cites safety regulations for geothermal pools at resorts, because they did not employ a lifeguard, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Popular Ocean Drive on Miami Beach, typically teeming with strolling tourists, was lucky to skirt serious mass injuries Saturday when a hotel’s overhang crashed to the sidewalk. Fire Rescue and inspectors arrived on the scene and determined that the collapse of the structure was due to wear and tear, according to the Miami Herald. The building inspector said that water build-up was likely the culprit and there should have been a water drainage system.

Related Case Law for ResortTorts:

• A landowner has 2 basic duties: reasonable care to maintain premises in reasonably safe condition, and give warning of concealed perils which are or should be known and which are unknown to invitee.

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stranger in hotel hallway.jpgThe Tourist Safety Act of 2011 has been signed by a Florida House panel. The legislation (HB 63) approved by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee addresses the potential dangers and risks presented by people who illegally distribute ‘handbills’ such as pizza menus and other fliers in hotels, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The legislation arose because criminals are using bogus menus and coupons to gain credit-card numbers from tourists, to burglarize hotel rooms, and for identity theft at hotels in Central Florida. Attempted rape and the beating of a security guard were also reported in Daytona Beach.

The Act would require written authorization from the hotel to distribute menus. It would also make arrests easier, impose stiffer penalties on violators, and allow police to seize property used to commit the crimes under a contraband-forfeiture law commonly used in drug arrests. The Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association and Walt Disney World (operator of around 25,000 hotel rooms time-share suites) supported the bill.