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Florida personal injury lawyers

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Product Liability

Product liability means holding manufacturers and sellers responsible for products that injure or kill people.

Florida has been a leading state in recognizing the right of consumers to recover for product liability. That is where a defective product, whether by design or manufacturing defect, causes injury or death to someone. Recovery as a result of defective products is based on strict liability in tort, negligence, and breach of warranty. Mr. Leighton and the team at Leighton Law handles product liability litigation involving motor vehicles, aircraft/helicopters, motorcycles, ATVs, toys and juvenile products, medical products, and consumer products.

Mr. Leighton has served as Vice Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Product Liability Committee, has lectured and taught these subjects to other lawyers throughout the country, and published book chapters and articles on product liability. He has authored a chapter in the multi-volume text, Product Liability Practice Guide. He has experience in successfully obtaining product recalls and in investigating and litigating defective product cases. John Leighton continues to be considered one of the best product liability lawyers in Florida, having been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for Product Liability for 9 years straight.

Juvenile Products and Toys

In a landmark case, Leighton Law partner John Elliott Leighton obtained a confidential settlement during trial against a high chair manufacturer who knowingly sold its high chairs with a design defect. Mr. Leighton represented the parents of a child who was killed when he “submarined” and was asphyxiated by the high chair’s tray. The product was defective because the manufacturer failed to warn parents that the feeding tray should not be used to restrain a baby. It was known to the manufacturer and the industry that if a child is left momentarily unattended, he can slide down and choke on the tray.

Mr. Leighton also represented the family of a 4 month-old baby killed because of a defectively designed baby pillow. The infant “bean bag” pillows were promoted to parents as being safe for use in cribs. In reality, the polystyrene beads inside the pillow trapped carbon monoxide, so when the babies turned their heads and were face down, the carbon monoxide became trapped inside and the baby would have no way of getting enough oxygen. The baby would then slowly asphyxiate from a lack of oxygen. Mr. Leighton was instrumental in working with our clients and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission to obtain a mandatory recall of these products. A confidential settlement in excess of $1 million was reached with the retailer after the manufacturer filed for bankruptcy protection.

Leighton has litigated juvenile product cases involving child car seats, high chairs, pillows, and other products causing harm to children.

Mr. Leighton has published extensively in the field of product liability litigation, including the following:

  • Author, Vol. 2, Chapter 18, Product Liability Practice Guide
  • Author, “The Recall Process: Removing Defective Juvenile Products from the Market,” Product Liability Law Reporter (Vol. 10, pp. 72-73, May 1991)
  • Author, “Are Children Caught in the Seat of Disaster? Child Restraint Systems and Product Liability Cases,” Trial, Vol. 34, No. 3, March 1998, pp. 54-64
  • Author, “Make Sure New Toys Will Be Safe Toys,” South Florida Parenting, December 1991
  • Monthly contributor, Product Liability: Commentary and Cases, (Callaghan & Co.) 1985-87
  • Co-author, “Motorcycle Products Liability”, Trial, November 1988, pp. 32-41

For a more complete list of Mr. Leighton’s speeches and publications, visit our Attorney Profile section.

Child Safety Equipment

Mr. Leighton has for many years aggressively represented clients who have been injured or killed because of defective safety products. Mr. Leighton represented the parents of a baby killed by an air bag in a car. These parents used a child restraint seat that they received as a baby shower gift. The baby’s mother placed the child in the front seat in a rear facing position. When the air bag deployed, this 8-month child was killed. After Mr. Leighton proved that the manufacturer actually displayed the restraint being used in the front seat of a car in its packaging and instructions, the manufacturer agreed to a confidential settlement – and changed its packaging. It was too late for our client but the product was successfully modified to make it safe for use after this groundbreaking case.

Medical Devices, Drugs, Pharmaceuticals and Nutritional Supplements

Leighton Law has extensive experience handling and litigating cases involving defective medical devices, pharmaceuticals and drugs, and nutritional supplements. Many drugs are placed on the market before testing and appropriate studies have conclusively determined their safety.

Even more alarming, nutritional supplements are not regulated the same way that drugs, pharmaceuticals and medical devices are. Because of that, many manufacturers make or suggest claims that are unproven or, worse, put adulterated or dangerous ingredients in their unregulated products.

Mr. Leighton has represented many clients who have suffered injuries or even death from such products, including Phen-Fen and ephedra. In a recent case, Mr. Leighton represented a 30 year-old woman who had given birth to a baby a few weeks earlier. In order to lose her “baby weight” she went to a health food store to get advice on what she might take to shed some weight. She was told that one of the ephedra-containing supplements was very effective. The product was accompanied at the point of sale with brochures that touted its safety. After taking only two doses in accordance with the instructions, our client suffered a massive stroke, leaving her disabled. Mr. Leighton was able to prove that the manufacturer created this “formula” by trial and error and without any pharmacologist or scientist to test it. Despite the fact that the manufacturer filed for bankruptcy protection, Mr. Leighton obtained an $820,000 settlement for our client.

We have successfully recovered damages in product liability cases for clients injured by energy drinks, gastric bubbles (for weight loss) and IUD contraceptives.

Leighton Law is currently aggressively investigating the drug Benicar, which has been associated with gastrointestinal disease and other injuries as a result of using this high blood pressure medication.

Defective Cars and Trucks, including Crashworthiness

Cars and trucks are often designed and manufactured with the goal of profit for the seller, not necessarily safety for the consumer. Many vehicles driving on our roads are inherently dangerous because of design or manufacturing defects.

Some of these defects result in injuries and deaths. Cars and trucks that cannot withstand reasonable crashes are often defective. Many attorneys will overlook this aspect of a motor vehicle case. Product liability and crashworthiness cases are complex, difficult and expensive. It requires aggressive investigation and litigation to properly represent clients who have been harmed by a defective vehicle.

Mr. Leighton has represented clients whose injuries were caused or enhanced by a defective vehicle. Sometimes the injuries are created by the safety devices we expect will protect us. A seat belt is a harness designed to secure the passenger from harmful movement that may result from a collision or a sudden stop. As part of an overall occupant restraint system, seat belts are intended to reduce injuries by stopping the wearer from hitting hard interior elements of the vehicle or other passengers and by preventing the wearer from being thrown from the vehicle. Recently Mr. Leighton obtained a confidential settlement on behalf of a man who was killed when his airbag failed to properly deploy in his German luxury car after it lost control and struck a guardrail.

In one case, Mr. Leighton obtained an $850,000 settlement against Chrysler when two U.S. servicemen were injured by the rear seat lap belts in a van. The lawsuit against the auto manufacturer was based on the defendant`s failure to have shoulder restraints available which would have prevented the injury.

Click here for examples of our pending and finalized product liability cases.

Disclaimer: The information about past verdicts and settlements of the firm’s cases are based on the unique facts of each case. These amounts reflect the gross recovery in each case (before attorneys fees, expenses and medical costs are deducted). Although these results were obtained by our firm, they may not indicate the success or value of any other case as each case is unique. By clicking on Verdicts and Settlements you are acknowledging that every case is different and each case must be evaluated on its own merits. The information contained here has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar.



John Leighton appears on CNN to comment on proposed parasailing safety regulations.

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John Leighton appears on NBC's "Today" show as part of his representation of the family of Amber May White, who was killed in a parasailing tragedy.

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John Leighton is featured on the cover of Attorney At Law magazine as its "Attorney of the Month".

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John Leighton's 2 volume book Litigating Premises Security Cases.

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