Suing Carnival Cruise Line: 14 Year Old Girl Raped on Carnival Cruise Ship

A fourteen-year-old girl and her mother filed a lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Line, alleging that while the girl was a passenger, she was attending the Carnival Pride’s teen club known as Club 02, which led to her being raped by two fellow passengers. Club 02 is designed, marketed, and designated as a supervised area where smoking, alcohol consumption, and unruly behavior are supposed to be prohibited. However, Carnival does allow passenger over twenty-one to enter the area and does sell those passengers alcoholic beverages. The girl’s mother spoke to the Club’s director, disclosed her daughter’s age, and believing there would be adequate supervision, she registered the child for the Club 02 Program. Court records indicate that on two separate occasions, the daughter engaged in sexual intercourse after having been lured to the stateroom of the older boys, where they had concealed alcohol. The law suit specifically alleged that Carnival failed to provide adequate adult supervision in Club 02 and permitted the escalation of sexual activity that resulted in the girl’s rape. The complaint against Carnival Cruise Lines, filed in Federal Court in Miami, Florida, alleged Carnival’s negligence, fraudulent inducement, and concealing of known instances of sexual misconduct aboard its cruise ships. Carnival sought to dismiss the case, claiming that the rape was not “foreseeable” nor the result of any negligence on Carnival’s part; dismissal of a claim against one of the boys was also sought. Cases like this are governed by general maritime law, which holds ship owners like Carnival responsible to their passengers to provide “reasonable care under the circumstances.” However, court after court has held that cruise...

Suing Royal Caribbean: Seventeen-Year-Old Girl Dies from Food Poisoining On RCCL Cruise Ship

Seventeen-year-old Briana Martins died from Salmonellosis, while aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Explorer of the Seas, after ingesting bacteria-ridden food. Her family sued Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, claiming seven counts of negligence that included serving the bad food aboard the ship and the negligent medical care she received from the ship’s physician. Her mother also claimed to have suffered extreme emotional distress due to RCCL’s negligence. RCCL sought successfully to have her claims dismissed for the negligent hiring, retention, and training of the shipboard medical staff. They now seek to have the remaining causes of action dismissed by summary judgment. To defeat a motion for summary judgment, one must demonstrate to the court that there is a genuine issue of material fact, supported by solid evidence; the case should then proceed to a jury. All cases like this against a cruise line are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Southern District of Florida has its own subset of Local Rules with even more particular requirements as to how to respond to a motion to summary judgment. Those requirements are detailed, right down to the size of the font used in the pleadings. It appears from the court record that the lawyers representing this family did not comply with those specific Local Rules, causing a number of disputed facts to be “deemed admitted.” When a party fails to follow the Local Rules, courts can easily identify the non-compliance and grant the motion at their discretion. The record also shows that neither RCCL nor the family followed the requirements, and the court found both their responses to be...

Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas Arrives to US Port

Huge! It is a huge week for Royal Caribbean. The world’s second-largest cruise line is welcoming the largest cruise ship in the world, the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, to its new home at Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades. The official ship christening is set for November 10, 2016, and RCCL has promised quite a show for its passengers as the ship sets sail on its first of many exciting seven-night Caribbean cruises. This ship can hold nearly 9,000 people—more than the entire population of Palm Beach, Florida. Built on the same platform as RCCL’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the Harmony of the Seas weighs in at nearly 230,000 tons—1,700 tons heavier, wider, longer, and with a capacity of 100 more passengers than its sister ships. While the ship features numerous amazing state-of-the art improvements, its most impressive feature must be the Ultimate Abyss. It looks like the kind of terrifying, twisty-turny water slide one might typically find in a shore-side amusement park, but never before offered on a cruise ship. The slide actually comprises two slides designed to drop passengers nine decks, from the top of the ship almost to the lowest deck. RCCL has announced that it now intends to add new water slides to many of its other ships as well. Sadly, mammoth ships are not immune to accidents, and in September, while the ship was docked in Marseilles, France, a crew member was killed and several others severely injured during a routine lifeboat drill aboard the Harmony of the Seas. It appears that bigger may not always be better when it...

Norwegian Cruise Line Accident: Passenger Raped By Crewmember

Norwegian Cruise Lines was sued by a female passenger who alleged that she was over-served alcohol by an NCL bartender aboard the NCL’s Norwegian Sky and then lured into an isolated “crew-only” storage room, where she was sexually assaulted.   She became unconscious and awoke on the ground floor of deck 11. She was taken to the medical center, where she was examined and her clothing removed and kept by NCL as evidence. No rape kit was administered. Subsequently, NCL was able to identify the accused bartender. The passenger was taken by NCL security guards back to the room where she claimed to have been assaulted. The door slammed, and she was left alone in the room for approximately five minutes.   Based upon those allegations, she filed a lawsuit against Norwegian Cruise Lines, claiming the following: (Count I) Negligent hiring, retention, training, and supervision (Count II) False imprisonment (Count III) Sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape. NCL then sought to dismiss the negligent hiring, retention, training, and supervision counts, arguing that her complaint did not contain sufficient facts to justify the lawsuit. In order to sue Norwegian Cruise Line for negligent retention or hiring, one must allege (1) that the crewmember was “incompetent or unfit to perform the work”; (2) that NCL knew or reasonably should have known of the particular incompetence or unfitness; and (3) the incompetence or unfitness was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. NCL successfully argued that the complaint had not “identified [by name] the specific crewmember that she alleges Norwegian was negligent in hiring/retaining” and also did not allege facts to plausibly...

Woman Injured on Royal Caribbean Ship After Slipping in Puddle

Royal Caribbean has scored another victory against an injured passenger. She had sued the cruise line after slipping and falling in a puddle of water aboard one of RCCL’s ships during a cruise to Bermuda.  She broke her hip in the fall. Her suit was dismissed simply because she filed her claim in the wrong court and outside the one-year statute of limitations that applies to cruise ship passenger injury claims. We did not represent this passenger, but according to records from the United States District Court for New Jersey, the passenger and her lawyers sued Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines  in Federal Court in New Jersey two years after the incident, rather than in Miami’s Federal Court within the one-year deadline required by the passenger ticket.  Her lawsuit against RCCL included claims for negligence, breach of contract, tortious interference with contractual relations, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA). She testified under oath in her deposition that she did not recall receiving the ticket as her eldest daughter had arranged the cruise.  In response, RCCL testified that all passengers are required to sign an acknowledgment of having received the ticket and then physically hand it to RCCL crewmembers prior to boarding. The New Jersey court dismissed her case, and she appealed.  A three-judge federal appellate court sided with RCCL, largely on the basis of the ticket’s wording.  RCCL’s ticket states the following: TIME LIMITS FOR PERSONAL INJURY/ILLNESS/DEATH CLAIMS: NO SUIT SHALL BE MAINTAINABLE AGAINST CARRIER, THE VESSEL OR THE TRANSPORT FOR PERSONAL INJURY, ILLNESS OR DEATH OF ANY PASSENGER...

Slip and Fall Accident On Carnival Cruise Imagination

A man recently sued Carnival Cruise Lines for an accident that occurred in the men’s room aboard the Carnival Imagination. He claimed that sometime between 8:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m., he entered the men’s room and, after taking a couple of steps, fell and broke his leg. We did not represent this plaintiff, but according to court documents, he testified that after he fell, his clothes and part of his back were wet. He also testified that one of Carnival’s crew members was inside the restroom at the time of the fall. He  did not know why or for how long the floor was wet.  The evidence showed that a Carnival Hotel Steward named Win Thu Ya (“Ya”) had cleaned the men’s room sometime around 8:00 p.m. Carnival’s mandatory bathroom cleaning procedure requires crew members to finish cleaning any bathroom by mopping the floor with sanitizer and rinsing it with water.  Typically, a cruise line will obtain a “Passenger Injury Statement,” which they use to discredit a passenger and as a tool to destroy any potential claim.  In this man’s Passenger Injury Statement. He claimed there were no signs to warn him the floor was wet, and there was no warning cone or sign in front of the men’s room.  Carnival is supposed to post warning cones and signs in and around the bathroom whenever the bathroom floor is wet. Carnival’s lawyers filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the claim, seeking to have the entire case dismissed. Specifically, Carnival alleged the following: (1) there was no dangerous condition; and (2) it did not have actual or constructive...
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