Articles Posted in Resort Torts

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Our client’s daughter was tragically killed while on a boat driven by a drunk boater. This man is now doing prison time and is seen in this short video. But his incarceration will never bring back this amazing young woman.

Drunk boating is the number one contributing cause of boating deaths. Despite recovering a substantial settlement for our clients, they will never have their daughter back. Be smart when you boat or get on a boat with others. Don’t learn the hard way. View the public service clip at

We continue to represent victims of boating accidents and cruise ship injuries. Summertime is a busy boating season. Make sure you and your family are not victims of BUI. Think before you drink or get on a vessel with someone who has.

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We love our thrill rides. Well, at least until they provide real-life thrills. These are the type of thrills that injure and kill. While amusement and theme park rides are advertised as “thrilling” and “fun,” often they prove deadly. Numerous amusement park deaths are caused by roller coaster crashes. Because there is no centralized reporting or investigative agency, most of the time the only investigation into the cause of a catastrophe is by the ride operator itself.

in 2011 there were 1200 amusement ride accidents in the U.S., with about 4% resulting in serious physical harm or death. A study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio reported that between 1990 and 2010, 92,000 children were injured in amusement ride accidents.

This summer there have been examples of ride gone awry. Yesterday a power outage at Orlando’s Disney World stranded 120 passengers on the monorail who were stuck for hours in the un-air conditioned ride.

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Despite passage of the nation’s first law regulating parasailing, many who operate parasailing businesses still care more about cash than lives. The law, which goes into effect October 1, limits when parasailing can take place, the wind speeds and when there is lightning within 7 miles. Operators must review all weather forecasts available and keep a weather log.

Over the July 4th weekend the waters of South Florida were replete with instances of parasailing which violates the spirit and letter of the impending new law. The example here, from Miami’s Biscayne Bay, make it obvious that the operators are more interested in making money than in protecting vacationers. With threatening skies, high wind gusts and frequent lightning, there were few pleasure craft in the water on July 5th. But sure enough there were plenty of parasailing operations!

VACATION TIP: Never get on a parasailing operation without checking the weather, determining that the operator holds a Coast Guard license for transport of passengers, maintains a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance, maintains a VHF transceiver and a separate marine weather device providing National Weather Service updates and maintains a log of all weather prior to taking passengers out. Make sure that the operator is familiar with and complies with new Florida statute 327.375 governing commercial parasailing, also known as the White-Miskell Act.

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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:

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Last Wednesday, 12 people were stranded atop Universal Orlando’s Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster after a “tech glitch” caused the ride to come to a halt. The park patrons were stalled in a vertical position for nearly three hours while the situation was resolved and Orlando firefighters were called in to rescue them. Luckily, no passenger was seriously injured. One person was taken to the hospital after complaining of neck pain.

This “tech glitch” was not the first for the 17-story-tall ride. At its inception, construction delays put off the grand opening of the ride for two months, and at one point, crews had to replace the mechanism responsible for preventing the coaster from sliding backward during its initial ascent up a 90-degree lift hill. Just over a year later, the ride was shut down for a month to perform “undisclosed maintenance” after warnings from the rides’ manufacturer about potential structural flaws with holding the trains together. Just this past summer, Universal shut down the ride a third time to perform inspections after a minor malfunction.

Additionally, the ride closed again briefly on Thursday afternoon for undisclosed reasons, though Universal claims the shutdown was unrelated to Wednesday’s issue.

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On October 17, Leighton Law will be hosting its annual Sex, Drugs & Violence seminar, an informative and interactive event that will cover the law of inadequate security litigation in Florida, tactics and strategies in investigating, litigating and trying premises security cases, as well as relevant statutes, codes, ordinances and Florida’s new Daubert law.

William Bopp, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus of Criminology, will be the event’s guest speaker, and he and John Elliott Leighton will share insights and strategies cultivated from nearly 30 years of litigating these fascinating cases Attendees of the event will receive an expected 4 hours of CLE credits including ethics credit. The event will take place at the Banker’s Club, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. To register, visit Registration fee, which includes continental breakfast, is $85.00.

Becoming an Event Sponsor

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John E. Leighton Named To The Best Lawyers In America For 7th Consecutive Year

John Elliott Leighton has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best

Lawyers in America 2014, the seventh year in a row he has been recognized for his outstanding work in the practice areas of Personal Injury Litigation and Product Liability Litigation. Best Lawyers is regarded by both the industry and the public as the most credible guide to legal excellence in United States.

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Throughout the past 16 months, case after case concerning cruise ship safety has been brought to public attention. Finally, lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate announced legislation on Tuesday that would require information about reported crimes to be made available to the public. To appease the courts and the public, the three largest cruise lines, all based in Miami, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line, have voluntarily agreed to publish these reports.

These reports will include categories required by the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, concerning sexual assault, theft greater than $10,000, tampering with the vessel, assault with serious injuries, kidnapping, missing U.S. nationals, and suspicious death or homicide. The crime reports are a major step forward for the credibility of cruise lines and will allow the public to make educated decisions when choosing their vacation vessel.

Personal injury attorney John Leighton has a passion for representing individuals who have been seriously injured due to the negligence of others, and has had a front row view of many of the cruise catastrophes that have occurred. Mr. Leighton has won several cases regarding negligence on cruises, including one in which a passenger was struck when a mishandled mooring line snapped and crashed through a window, causing injuries that the cruise line denied. He has also obtained recoveries for passengers who have been injured in falls, sexual assaults and shore excursions gone awry. His experience in representing seriously injured vacationers has resulted in his being named a Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer for several years in a row.

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Two 17 year-olds from Indiana are in critical condition today after their parasail crashed in a Panama City Beach parking lot. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office reports that a parasail had been attached to a boat Monday afternoon when the line broke, with one victim being rescued after dropping into the Gulf of Mexico and two other people continuing on until the parasail crashed into a nearby parking lot.

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Described as “gruesome” by one witness, the teens smashed into a building, carried on to a power line and crashed into several cars inside the parking lot. The victims both went limp after hitting the side of the condo and only one was conscious when rescuers arrived, the report said.

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Reversing an appellate court which had upheld a motion to transfer the case to Mexico, Florida’s Supreme Court last week held that a case brought against a resort company which marketed to tourists to promote and sell timeshares at a resort in Mexico should not be dismissed.

In Cortez v. Palace Resorts, a woman was lured to a Mexican resort in an attempt to sell her a timeshare. As part of that inducement, the resort gave her a massage. During the massage, the masseuse sexually assaulted Cortez.

Cortez brought her case in Miami against three Florida businesses that all operated out of Miami. She claimed that the acts giving rise to her case, which included negligent vacation packaging, occurred in Miami. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens, and Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal affirmed. In a dissent by Judge Rothenberg, she wrote that “The Florida defendants, with a straight face, claim that [Mexico] is a more convenient forum to litigate a United States Citizen’s negligent vacation packaging claim against them, although Miami is where their corporate headquarters is located…” The dissent went on to enumerate other factors in favor of keeping the case in Florida.

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