Results tagged “Cruise Ship Attorney” from Maritime Law Blog

September 13, 2012

Carnival Cruise Line's Attempt to Dismiss Passenger's Injury Lawsuit Fails

Carnival Injury Lawers.jpgA part of the allure of cruising is the excursions offered at the various ports of call. However, most passengers do not know the safety standards at these ports of call are a far cry from what they are used to in the United States. Decreased safety standards, unfortunately, result in several accidents to vacationers each year. Maritime law recognizes this problem. It requires cruise lines to warn of known dangers in places where their passengers are invited or expected to visit. It also requires cruise lines to properly vet the tour operators and excursions offered aboard their cruise ships. This law is designed to arm passengers with knowledge in order for them to make informed decisions on their safety while in foreign ports. Often times when a passenger sues for an injury occurring at a port of call, the cruise lines ask the court to dismiss the claim. These attempts to dismiss are met with varying success. The cruise injury attorneys of Brais law recently was required to address such a challenge by a cruise line.


Manning v. Carnival Corp.

Brais Law represents a Carnival Cruise passenger who broke her ankle when she fell down an unsafe stairway located in Chankanaab National Park during an excursion selected by the cruise line. The dangerous nature or the park's stairways are well known to tour operators and companies doing business in the area. However, the unsafe nature of the stairway was not communicated to the cruise passengers.

The attorneys of Brais Law filed a complaint against Carnival in federal court alleging the cruise line was negligent as it had superior knowledge of the dangerous stairway but failed to warn its passengers of the dangers. The complaint also alleged the cruise line was negligent for selecting an excursion that takes place in an area known to be dangerous. Carnival asked the Court to dismiss the lawsuit alleging the complaint failed to state a legal cause of action. The Court rejected Carnival's argument and allowed the claim to proceed. A copy of the Court's order can be found here.


Conclusion

Though cruise lines are sometime successful in convincing courts to dismiss lawsuits concerning injuries occurring on an excursions, when facts exist that could prove the cruise line know or should have known of a danger and fails to warn its passengers, courts are likely to allow such claims to proceed.


September 23, 2010

Cruise Ships Must be Accessible to Handicapped Passengers

handcapped.pngThe Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") was passed to make businesses and recreational areas accessible to persons with disabilities. Though originally envisioned as a land-based statute, the Supreme Court in Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line, Ltd. held the ADA applicable to any cruise ship leaving from an United States port. Overnight, the Spector case required the cruise industry to refit its ships to comply with the ADA including the accessibility standards set forth in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG). Subsequent cases, however, recognized because of the uniqueness of ocean going vessels many ADAAG requirements, were specifically formulated for land-based structures, cannot practically apply to ships. As such, cruise ships are exempt from certain structural ADAAG requirements until such time as the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board issues specific standards for ships. However, courts found all other aspects of the ADA applicable to cruise ships. These include:

  • Proper height and shape for signage;
  • Wheelchair assessable cabins/staterooms;
  • Grab rails in lavatories;
  • Assessable height of counters, tables, sinks, toilets, door handles and grab rails;
  • Wheelchair turning radius in hallways and rooms;
  • Installation of certain assessable door handles; and,
  • Appropriate number on wheelchair accessible tables and seating locations in the ship's dining rooms, theaters, clubs and lounges.
Bringing an ADA Claim

Before one can bring an ADA claim, the person must be "injured". This means the disabled person must have attempted to gain access to the premises but was unable due to the configuration of the space. It is not enough to scan a cruise line's website and conclude none of their ships are accessible.

Damages Under the ADA

Aggrieved individuals may sue to enforce the ADA and, if successful, obtain relief in the form of requiring the cruise line to make the area assessable as well as an award of attorney's fees associated with bringing the suit.