Leanne lawyers seek £10m from Disney
Lawyers fighting for a girl left severely brain-damaged after going on a Walt Disney World ride have revealed they are hoping to win $14 million for her family.
Leanne Deacon suffered a brain haemorrhage and almost died after riding the Tower of Terror in Florida in 2005.
A claim for damages has been filed in court in Orlando.
Last night, Robert Melton, Leanne's American lawyer, told the Leicester Mercury he thought the 20-year-old deserved at least $14million – about £10 million – to pay for her future medical care and to cover the "pain and suffering" caused to her family.
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But he said the former Kibworth High School pupil could receive much more if a jury found in her favour.
Speaking from his office in Orlando, Mr Melton said: "I've got a demand of $14 million, but it's up to a jury. It could be $4 million, it could be $40 million.
"It could take a long time to go to court – anything from a year to four years. Leanne was a very athletic young lady before this horrible thing happened.
"When I was in the UK working on another case, I met up with her and she's having a very difficult time.
"There is no compensation that can take the place of what this family has suffered, nothing will bring her back to what she was before, but if I can help make life easier for her and her family, then I think I'll have done my job."
In the hours after the haemorrhage, Leanne suffered two cardiac arrests and needed neurosurgery to remove a blood clot from her brain. She now uses a wheelchair, and the family recently moved into a bungalow in Norfolk for a fresh start.
Leanne's mother, June, 57, said: "The amount we get has got to be enough to support Leanne for the rest of her life. That is important.
"We've no idea how long the legal process will take.
"We are realistic, but I do think somebody has to pay for what happened as it is not her fault."
She said her daughter had only ridden the ride once on the day of the haemorrhage.
Mrs Deacon said: "She did not ride it again and again and again. She had only been on it once in that trip. She did not go on it six times in a row, like some reports say."
The Mercury has obtained a copy of the filed lawsuit. It states that Disney "negligently, wantonly, recklessly, tortuously and unlawfully" operated the ride and failed to warn of the risks.
One claim is for "negligent infliction of emotional distress," on behalf of Mrs Deacon, as she was with her daughter at the time of the injury.
Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said: "We can't comment specifically on the lawsuit because we haven't seen it. However, as we have said previously, the ride was operating properly at the time."