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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers



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    John Leighton Discusses Parasailing Safety and Lack of Regulation on CNN


    Parasailing appears to many as a “safe” water sport activity.  Those strapped into parasailing harnesses seem to float effortlessly against an azure blue sky, high above the ocean or open water below.  What participants do not realize is that parasailing can be deadly.
    Completely at the mercy of winds and weather, parasailing requires low winds, clear skies, open water, and a trained spotter.  Parasailing should never take place anywhere other than off a boat with no other fixed objects nearby. That includes buildings, power lines, land or other structures.
    If a person in a parasailing strikes something, the chances are that they will be killed or catastrophically injured.  This is exactly what happened to our client’s children one day off the coast of Pompano Beach, Florida.  Teenage sisters Amber May and Crystal White were on their first and only parasailing ride when high winds kept them up in the air….and forced the boat that was operating the parasail into the beach.
    The winds, which often increase on summer days, prevented the winch on the boat from bringing them in.  Instead, the parasailing line (tow rope) snapped, sending the parasail and the two girls catapulting toward a condominium building on the beach.  Amber May suffered fatal head injuries. Crystal sustained traumatic brain injuries and orthopedic injuries.  The girls’ mom, grief-stricken over this catastrophe, was astounded to learn that there were zero laws or regulations in effect to regulate parasailing safety or any operation by someone who wants to make money off parasailing.
    Shannon Kraus hired John Leighton to represent her and get to the bottom of this disastrous industry.  Mr. Leighton immediately filed a lawsuit against the parasailing operator, the resort where the activity was being done, and the water sport provider at the resort.  Most important, Mr. Leighton and Ms. Kraus became advocates for parasailing regulation.  Once it was obvious that anyone with a boat, parachute and tow rope could take people hundreds of feet into the air, it was equally obvious to Leighton that this industry needed a law to protect people. Working with legislators, while litigating the case on behalf of the family, Mr. Leighton succeeded in getting the country’s first parasailing safety law passed and signed into law. Mr. Leighton and Ms. Kraus discuss their attempts to get legislators to recognize the need for this law when interviewed by Brooke Baldwin live on CNN.


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