November 2012 Archives

November 22, 2012

Attorneys Keith Brais & Richard Rusak Obtain Ruling that Cruise Lines Can Be Held Responsible for Over Serving Passengers Alcohol

NCL Cruise Rape Lawyer.jpgMiami lawyers Keith Brais & Richard Rusak obtained a ruling from a Federal Court finding a cruise line can be held responsible for a rape caused by the over service of alcohol. The complaint failed in the Southern District of Florida alleges a passenger participated in a Norwegian Cruise Line organized pub crawl which occurred on the cruise ship NORWEGIAN SUN. After the pub crawl, the passenger remained at the last bar to have additional drinks with some of the other pub crawl participants. The plaintiff alleges she became intoxicated from the drinks served on the cruise ship. Court papers reveal the passenger walked to a public ladies room located near a café. While in a stall, a man opened the door, spun her around and raped her. Affidavits filed in the case assert due to her intoxicated state she was unable to fend off her attacker.

Norwegian Cruise Line filed a motion for summary judgment arguing the Florida "dram shop" statute applied to the service of alcohol aboard its cruise ships. The Florida dram shop statute shields companies from liability for injuries and damages caused by their service of alcohol except when the person served is under the age of 21 or the person served is known to be "habitually addicted" to alcohol.

The Federal Court rejected the application of the Florida dram shop statute. Instead, it followed the Florida state appellate court's legal holding in Hall v. Royal Caribbean Cruises which found the statute is contrary to the uniformity of maritime law. This case solidifies the maritime law that a cruise line has a duty to exercise reasonable care for its passengers including reasonable care in the service of alcohol. A copy of the Court's order can be found at this link.

November 16, 2012

Brais Law Attorneys Obtain Ruling Requiring Cruise Line to Warn Passengers of the Risk of Being Raped / Sexual Assaulted Aboard Cruise Ships

Norwegian Cruise Passenger Rape Attorney.jpgA Miami Federal Judge ruled Norwegian Cruise Line owed as a matter of law the duty to warn passengers of the risk of being raped and/or sexually assaulted aboard their cruise ships when such criminal acts are foreseeable. In this case a female passenger from Texas alleged she was over served alcohol during and after a cruise organized drinking event. Court documents reveal she left the bar to utilize a public ladies restroom near the ship's cafe. The assault victim claims that while in the restroom stall, a man entered, spun her around and raped her.

Attorneys Keith Brais & Richard Rusak with Brais law filed a lawsuit in Miami, Florida on behalf of the cruise ship passenger as required by the Norwegian's cruise ticket. Alleged in the complaint is that the cruise line failed to warn her of the risk of being sexually assaulted and/or raped onboard the ship. The cruise line filed a motion requesting the court to find that it did not have a legal duty to warn of potential criminal acts such as rape. In a pair of orders denying summary judgment, the court found a cruise line under maritime law does have the legal to warn of the risk of foreseeable criminal acts, including rapes and sexual assaults, on its ship. The court then allowed the rape claim to proceed to trial. This is the first opinion of its kind nation wide.

The court's orders can be viewed at this link and this link.