Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers

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John Elliott Leighton starstarstarstarstar

John Elliott Leighton is a board certified trial lawyer and the Managing Partner of Leighton Law, P.A., with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He has over 33 years of experience successfully trying major personal injury and wrongful death cases and has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Florida. His lifelong passion is helping people who have had the worst thing happen in their lives.

Some of Florida’s Largest Verdicts and Settlements

Mr. Leighton specializes in significant personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of individuals throughout Florida and the United States. He has obtained some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Florida, including a $49 million verdict and two $24 million verdicts.  He has been called upon to provide his trial skills to represent plaintiffs throughout the country, including New York, Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina.

Recognized Expert in Catastrophic Injury and Death

He is the author of Litigating Premises Security Cases, a two-volume book (West Publishing, 2006) which is the most widely used text on investigating, preparing and trying inadequate security cases and representing crime victims.

Recognized as a national expert in the field of negligent security and violent crime litigation, his landmark trial in Jeffery v. Publix Super Markets  was the subject of an entire chapter in the book, Persuasive Jury Communication: Case Studies from Successful Trials, Chapter 10 (Shepards/McGraw-Hill, 1995). Mr. Leighton received the Advocate of Justice Award from the National Crime Victim Bar Association for his work in representing violent crime victims against corporate defendants. He has been elected to serve as the President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association in 2020.  He is a frequent lecturer at national legal programs and has spoken and taught at seminars, colleges and conventions in over a dozen states. Most recently he was on the teaching faculty for ATLA’s week-long “Ultimate Trial Advocacy College” at Harvard law School.

Mr. Leighton believes in educating the public and giving back to the community.  He regularly accepts invitations to educate the public about civil justice issues, including the need to protect oneself from being a victim of medical mistakes.  He also provides information via podcasts and local and national media.

High Profile Cases and Record Setting Results

Many of Mr. Leighton’s cases are high profile or have wide reaching social implications. Several of his cases have resulted in policy or procedure changes on the part of the businesses or governmental entities sued.  Some of his cases have resulted in changes in the law.  He is often called upon by local and national media to comment on legal issues, including NBC’s Today show, CNN, Inside Edition, and many other news programs. 

As a trial lawyer Mr. Leighton has obtained some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the country, including a $49.3 million verdict in a sexual assault case,  $24.3 million wrongful death verdict and $24.1 million medical malpractice birth trauma verdict (considered the highest verdict in Seminole County history by the Orlando Business Journal, 6/20/2005). Leighton has obtained substantial recoveries for victims of negligence throughout Florida (including a $9 million recovery for a woman who suffered brain damage from medical malpractice, $11.25 million for a child who was the victim of medical negligence, and $4.75 million for the family of a woman killed by a medical mistake) and throughout the country (including $4.3 million for a medical malpractice death in Chicago, $3 million for a man shot at an ATM in Indiana, $1.136 million for a woman raped in Wisconsin, and $1 million for the family of a woman who died from medical malpractice in Texas).

Mr. Leighton was lead trial counsel in a case which resulted in a $7.35 million verdict for a man who sustained serious injuries as a result of a trucking crash in Central Florida. Prior to that Mr. Leighton won an $8 million award for the parents of a teenage girl who was killed in a vehicle crash and $5.5 million for the family of a man who was killed due to construction defects in his home.

Mr. Leighton continues to represent victims of sexual assault and sex abuse,  including those who are victimized by institutional and corporate cover ups.  Because many institutions in this country turn a blind eye to abuse committed by their employees or volunteers, sexual abuse and sexual assault continues to traumatize generation after generation.  Mr. Leighton is committed to ending this cycle through the civil justice system. He has done so through litigation, lectures and his writings.

Mr. Leighton recently received the Daily Business Review 2015 “Verdicts Hall of Fame Award” for his wrongful death verdict in Estate of Gordon v. Smith.  Mr. Leighton was lead trial counsel in this case which resulted in a verdict of over $24 million for a single death. He also received American Lawyer Media’s “Top 100 Verdicts of 2017” and the National Law Journal’s “Elite Trial Lawyer Top 50 Verdicts” in 2018.

Another aspect of Mr. Leighton’s practice is representing victims of legal malpractice. Unfortunately not all legal representation meets the standard of care.  When it does not, and a client suffers an injury, it may be a case of legal malpractice. The firm believes that all lawyers have an obligation to stand behind the ethical principles of the legal profession and call to task those whose mistakes have harmed clients. Mr. Leighton is often called upon to comment on legal ethics issues in the media.

A History of Leadership, Teaching and Honors

Having served as Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway and Premises Liability Section, Mr. Leighton currently chairs the association’s Inadequate Security Litigation Group and for 7 years sat on the Executive Committee of the National College of Advocacy Board of Trustees.  He is also the Chairman of the Academy of Trial Advocacy, an invitation-only association of some of the nation’s leading catastrophic injury trial lawyers and is President-elect of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.

He is a member of ABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocates) and has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America continuously since 2008.  Leighton has been voted into Florida SuperLawyers every year since 2006 and was honored as one of the Top 100 Florida SuperLawyers  since 2009.  He has been selected as a “Top Lawyer” in the South Florida Legal Guide for 13 consecutive years and is currently also listed in Florida Trend magazine’s “Florida Legal Elite.” He was recently honored by being named by Orlando Style magazine as “Orlando Legal Elite” three years in a row.  He has been awarded an A-V preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and a 10.0/10 rating from AVVO.com, the highest ratings awarded.  He is a board certified specialist in civil trial law by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and has been invited to lecture and teach in over a dozen states to bar associations, industry groups, and trial lawyer groups. Mr. Leighton recently taught trial skills to experienced attorneys at Harvard Law School for ATLA’s “Ultimate Trial Advocacy College,” a week-long intensive trial skills program.

Mr. Leighton received both his J.D. and B.A. degrees with honors from the University of Florida.  At the University of Florida College of Law he taught first year jurisprudence, was an editor of the Florida Law Review, and competed on the Florida Trial Team.

It is important to know the lawyer who will be handling your case.  By being aware of the skills and reputation of a lawyer, you can make better choices about who should be your lawyer.  Some of the organizations and publications that rate lawyers spend a lot of resources in determining the top trial lawyers in the State. Mr. Leighton has been reviewed and evaluated by many of these organizations, which are explained below:

MARTINDALE-HUBBELL “AV PREEMINENT” – HIGHEST LAWYER RATING

Martindale-Hubbell is the oldest lawyer rating service and directory in the world, dating back to its first publishing in the 1860’s. Martindale-Hubbell has awarded John Elliott Leighton a rating of “AV Preeminent – 5.0 out of 5.″ This means he has been judged as having the highest legal ability and highest ethical standards, and this is based on peer reviews from other professionals in the legal community not a rating that is purchased or influenced by external factors.

HIGHEST RATING BY AVVO – “SUPERB 10 out of 10”

AVVO.com is a lawyer rating site that uses a model that includes every lawyer’s known achievements, discipline history, years in practice and industry recognition. John Leighton has been awarded a “Superb – 10 out of 10″ rating by AVVO, which is the highest available. Lawyers cannot improve their ratings by paying AVVO or by advertising with them, so this is considered an unbiased rating system.

 FLORIDA SUPERLAWYERS – “TOP 100 IN FLORIDA”

Florida SuperLawyers is a publication which lists the top lawyers in each state or region. According to SuperLawyers, they select attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. Less than 5% of the lawyers in the state will be listed in SuperLawyers. Mr. Leighton has been selected for Florida SuperLawyers for ten straight years, and for 8 of those years he was chosen to be among the top 100 of all of the Florida SuperLawyers.

 THE BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA

A peer review process is used to assemble the annual listing of The Best Lawyers in America. They attempt to obtain a consensus opinion of the leading lawyers through a survey process. John Elliott Leighton has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America in three categories (Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation, Plaintiffs Medical Malpractice Law and Plaintiffs Product Liability Litigation) for ten consecutive years. The firm is also listed in Best Law firms by U.S. News.

 TOP LAWYERS IN SOUTH FLORIDA – SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE

The South Florida Legal Guide is a regional listing of the top lawyers in South Florida. The selections for its listings are based entirely upon peer nominations, which are then examined along with other credentials and professional accomplishments to determine the top lawyers in various specialties in the region. Mr. Leighton has been continuously listed as a “top lawyer in South Florida” for 15 years. The firm has also been repeatedly selected as a “Top Law Firm” as well.

FLORIDA TREND MAGAZINE “LEGAL ELITE”

Each year Florida Trend magazine commissions a survey of Florida lawyers to name attorneys whom they hold in the highest regard or would recommend to others. A panel of attorneys then reviews the lists, and fewer than 2% of practicing attorneys are selected as “Legal Elite” by this magazine. Mr. Leighton has been named to Florida Trend “Legal Elite” for eight years.

Education

J.D. with honors, University of Florida College of Law

          Florida Law Review, Editor

          Florida Trial Competition Team

          Teaching Fellow

          Recipient, American Jurisprudence Awards for Torts and Civil Procedure

          Jurisprudence Instructor

B.A. with honors, University of Florida

          President, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary fraternity

          Florida Blue Key leadership honorary

          Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity (graduate advisor)

    

leading personal injury lawyer John Leighton on NBC's Today show

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10.0John Elliott Leighton

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.

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