Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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Terrorism: Next big thing as negligent security cases

John Leighton addressed the National Crime Victim Bar Association at its national conference in Philadelphia on a very timely and tragic topic: “Terrorism and Negligent Security Cases: The Next Big Thing.” The annual conference brings together trial lawyers from around the country who represent crime victims. Additionally, hundreds of victim advocates, law enforcement, social service providers and prosecutors participate and attend the conference, which was held at the Philadelphia Sheraton Hotel September 19-21, 2016.

Leighton’s speech was focused on the types of premises which are likely to be targeted by terrorists.  Known as “soft targets,” these properties include malls, shopping centers, western-branded hotels, resorts, arenas, stadiums and amusement parks.  The discussion included a review of past terrorist incidents, litigation that has ensued (as well as common funds such as the 9/11 compensation fund), theories of recovery, and some suggested measures that might prevent or deter terrorism at specific properties.  Mr. Leighton also discussed the need for hotels in at-risk areas to employ an armed security force to intervene and protect guests when and if an attack takes place.  This contrasts with many security policies that are based on deterrence only.

Mr. Leighton has been involved in security planning and negligent security litigation since the 1980s.  In 1997 he delivered a speech in Las Vegas entitled “Terror in the Skies: Security Aboard Airplanes and in Airports.”  This lecture predated the 9/11 attacks by four years and proved prescient in many respects with regard to the types of terror attacks seen throughout the United States and around the world.

Just days before Mr. Leighton’s latest speech, terror attacks occurred right here on American soil in New York and in a Minnesota mall. Mr. Leighton used examples of mall and hotel attacks in his speech and accompanying slideshow.

Leighton devoted an entire chapter of his two volume book to terrorism. Chapter 17 of Litigating Premises Security Cases addresses negligent security issues that arise in terrorism-based incidents.

The National Crime Victim Bar Association is a part of the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), which provides the annual training institute in conjunction with the bar association.  The training institute emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to sharing promising practices, current research, and effective programs and policies that are victim-centered, practice-based, and research-informed. The National Training Institute is a forum for law enforcement, victim service professionals, allied practitioners, policymakers, and researchers to share current developments and build new collaborations.



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John Leighton featured on the vet of South Florida Legal Guide

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

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