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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers



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    Inside Edition interviews John Leighton on parasailing safety

    John Leighton was featured in the story on the national news magazine Inside Edition about parasailing safety. Mr. Leighton represents the family of Amber May White, the 16 year-old girl who was killed when her parasailing ride failed, catapulting her into a building off of Pompano Beach, Florida. The death drew national attention to the problem of unregulated, incompetent and untrained parasailing operators, many of whom have no licenses whatsoever.

    The parasail on which Amber May was riding was pulled by a boat, the operator of which was a young man untrained in the weather and safety issues facing parasailing users.  The ride began as other operators were ceasing because of afternoon thunderstorms.  Instead of heading in, the operator remained in the ocean while winds increased, pushing the parasail higher and toward shore.  When the operator attempted to bring Amber May and her sister in, the force of the winds caused the line to snap. The two girls flew at high speed into fixed objects.

    Mr. Leighton and Amber May’s mother Shannon Kraus spent several years lobbying the Florida legislature to pass the nation’s first parasailing safety law.  The law became effective in 2015.

    Mr. Leighton litigated the case of Amber May’s wrongful death due to the parasailing and resort negligence, and obtained a substantial recovery for her family as well as for Amber May’s sister, who was also on the parasail and sustained a traumatic brain injury.

    There were many parasailing tragedies in Florida and around the country prior to Amber May’s death, and even after this catastrophe tourists and residents were injured and killed on parasailing rides.  Florida remains the only state with any laws regulating parasailing operations.

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