Articles Posted in Resort Crime

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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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Yesterday the murderer of our client’s son was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Eric Ellington shot Julian Soler numerous times while in the process of carjacking Julian and his friend Kennia Duran at a gas station. Neither of the young people resisted, but Ellington killed Julian because “he didn’t look scared enough.” An accomplice yet to be tried killed Kennia. 3 years later the killer received his sentence.

We represented Julian’s mother Janine Diaz in a civil negligent security case against the business where the shootings took place. The Soler and Duran families have suffered the worst kind of loss imaginable, and have done so with dignity.

Now that Julian’s killer is going to prison for life, it begs the question: who wins by sending the killer away? One answer is that society does, because someone with so little regard for human life will no longer threaten the safety of the public. Another is that the families who lost their children do because there is some sense of justice. No, it will never bring back these two young people, whose lives were out in front of them. It will never erase the tears of Janine Soler that she has and will continue to shed when she thinks about her son.

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Not everyone thinks theme parks are the happiest places on earth. Parents of children might find it uncomfortable to learn that the people in the costumes at theme parks, those working on rides, and escorting guests through the resorts might be pedophiles on the prowl.

In several To Catch A Predator-style stings, police in Florida have recently arrested a number of Disney employees for child sex offenses. CNN conducted an investigation that found at least 35 Disney employees have been arrested since 2006 for sex crimes involving children. Some were caught with child porn on Disney property. One, a Disney World employee who oversaw ride repairs, was arrested when he arrived at a house thinking he was going to meet a 14 year-old girl. Instead he was arrested.

Just last month employees of Disney and Universal were arrested when they too showed up at a house planning to meet children. One was a concierge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, who thought he was going to “fulfill a fantasy” with a 14 year-old boy.

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While vacationing in Miami Beach, a guest of the Fontainebleau resort got more than she expected: sexual battery and a very personal licking by her massage therapist. Masseuse Francisco Araica was charged with sexual battery after police said he inappropriately touched and licked a woman during a massage.

The hotel guest was having a massage at the Lapis Spa inside the Fontainebleau hotel on September 23rd when Araica sexually battered her. The man reportedly told the guest he “had never done this before but she was so beautiful.”

Vacationers at resorts often take advantage of the spa services and reasonably assume that the massage therapists are capable, qualified, trained, supervised and ethical. Most spa massages are exactly what the guest expected: therapeutic and relaxing. But guests are at the mercy of the massage therapist – and the spa itself – when in a vulnerable position of receiving a massage.

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Resort torts continue in the cruise industry…

Not a Vacation CELEBRATION

The FBI is investigating a passenger reported missing from a Celebration Cruise Line ship, The Sun Sentinel reported. She was last seen in the ship’s casino around 1 a.m. and was reported missing by her boyfriend at 8 a.m. The ship was in international waters at the time, after leaving the Grand Bahamas Island port at 6 p.m. the night before. The card-swiping system that records passengers’ whereabouts indicated that she was last registered as being on board.

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Stormy Cruise Ship.jpgThe Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act signed into United States law in July 2010 seems to be firmly in place, not that it can totally prevent crimes or personal injury.

As the Act requires, Royal Caribbean recently reported an alleged rape aboard one of its ships to the FBI and BSO, and allowed both to investigate the ship and port. The ship’s ‘guest care team’ also offered the alleged victim assistance including medical care and counseling, according to a statement from the cruise line’s manager of Global Corporate Communications, as reported in the Sun Sentinel.

The Sentinel article says that a 15-year-old girl from Iowa said she was lured from a teen dance club on board to a private room, where a 15-year-old boy said there would be a party. Instead, she said, there was only another man there, and the two of them raped her.

Both males live in Brazil, are being held in Broward, and appeared in court last Wednesday. The elder, a 20-year-old, was accused of one count of committing a lewd and lascivious act, ordered not leave the tri-county area and denied access to his or a replacement passport. The younger was charged with lewd and lascivious battery and held at the Broward Juvenile Assessment Center.

The International Cruise Victims Association (ICV) represents victims of crime on cruise ships, their families and friends, and individuals concerned about the problems of victimization and disappearances on cruise ships. The organization advocates for legislative reform to protect passengers from crimes and increase the rights of victims of crimes that do occur on cruise ships, and provides support to victims of crimes occurring on cruise ships.

The National Association for Victims of Crimes and the Rape, Assault, and Incest National Network (RAINN) have joined ICV in the effort to promote reform to the Cruise Line Industry.

The National Crime Victim Bar Association is a network of attorneys and allied professionals dedicated to facilitating civil actions brought by crime victims. Crime victims may be able to file civil lawsuits against perpetrators and responsible third parties for the damages the victims suffered as a result of the crime. Personal injury attorney John Elliott Leighton serves on the Advisory Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.

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REGISTER NOW for a symposium on the trends and developments for vacation, resort and recreational liability matters

Join us for an informative and interactive seminar on Resort Torts…and the Courts. Speakers will include trial attorney John Elliott Leighton, Circuit Judge Victoria Platzer and defense trial attorney Rolando Diaz. Together we will present these topics and answer your questions.

Thursday, November 3, 2011
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Resort Torts logo FINAL.jpgMiami Beach’s popular Clevelander Hotel has allegedly been providing on-duty police officers with alcohol in concealed containers.

One such officer on the midnight ATV patrol struck and critically injured the mother of a 1-year-old, causing severe brain injuries. From her bed at Jackson Memorial Hospital, she is suing the officer and the hotel, and reportedly will also sue the City of Miami Beach, according to the Miami Herald.

The lawsuit alleges that the officer frequented the Clevelander and that its employees knew he drank excessively. The offer’s blood alcohol level measure .088 five hours after the incident. The legal limit is .08.

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Seminar logo - red cropped.jpgThe Miami Beach shooting incident during Memorial Day weekend has changed the ‘foreseeability’ factor for resort crimes in the area.

Most negligent security cases turn on the issue of foreseeability: Was the incident reasonably foreseeable by the owner or business?

One of the tools used to analyze foreseeability is the crime grid, which has been held admissible at trial, and involves obtaining from a police agency a record of the service calls for the area around the address of an incident.

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As The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act is being considered for global implementation by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), more international cruise ship incidents continue to occur.

Minor Abused on Carnival Cruise Ship

Last week, it was reported in Alabama that the U.S. Attorney’s office in Mobile arrested a 19-year-old for abusing a minor on the Carnival Cruise Ship Elation, in international waters. The teen was transported to a Federal Courthouse in Mobile after the FBI investigated the matter, and the U.S. Attorney’s office will prosecute the matter.