The Source for Maritime Legal Information

Cruise-Foot-Injury-2-242x300A former cruise ship worker for Seabourn was allowed to proceed with her Jones Act negligence and unseaworthiness case in state court. The injured crewmember filed a lawsuit in Florida state court against her cruise line employer for injured sustained while working. The case concerns a blister the crewmember developed on a toe on her left foot. The shipboard physician treated the crewmember aboard the cruise ship, but seven months from the onset of symptoms, her toe showed signs of gangrene and was ultimately amputated.

Removal to Federal Court & Motion to Remand

Seabourn removed the case from state court to federal court under the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards arguing an arbitration agreement between it and the crewmember governed the dispute thereby precluding her ability to file a lawsuit. The court reviewed the arbitration agreement and found it not applicable to the claim brought against the cruise line. Upon the court’s determination that the case need not be arbitrated, the crewmember filed a motion to remand the case back to state court for trial. Seabourn opposed the motion to remand arguing that removal is proper under the diversity of citizenship exception and the crewmember waived any objection to the removal by failing to timely challenge the removal.

cruise_burn-Injury-238x300A Florida judge has recently ruled that a passenger who sustained a burn during a Carnival cruise may present her claim to a jury over the cruise line’s motion seeking to dismiss the lawsuit.

The Cruise

In October 2016, a passenger boarded the Carnival cruise ship Carnival Breeze. During the second night of the cruise she sat down for dinner in the cruise ship’s Blush dining hall. At the dinner table were other guests, one of whom, brought maracas. Carnival did not distribute maracas that evening; nor did it host a themed event that would involve the use of maracas. However, during the dinner, waiters in the Blush dining hall participated in a singing and dancing event called “Show Time.” During the dinner, the passenger ordered hot tea. The head waiter filled a teapot designed with a non-locking, non-sealing hinged lid with hot water from water dispensing machine. The head waiter returned to table with the teapot in hand. As the head waiter approached the table, the guest shaking her maraca hit his hand causing the teapot to fall the saucer and spill hot water onto the passenger’s chest, right shoulder, and right arm. The passenger suffered severe injuries including second degree burns on her right chest, breast, and upper and lower right arm.

NCL_Epic_Trip_and_Fall-300x214A Miami Federal Court has found that a Norwegian Epic trip and fall case is allowed to proceed to jury trial after denying NCL’s Motion for Summary Judgment. This case concerns a passenger who tripped and fell over a raised threshold at the entrance of the ladies’ restroom located on Deck 15 aboard the Norwegian Epic cruise ship. From this trip and fall, the passenger hit her head on the restroom wall, lost consciousness and awoke on the floor. She suffered a split lip, black eyes, and severe injuries to her wrist and head. The injured passenger filed a negligence lawsuit against NCL in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida claiming that the raised threshold was unreasonably dangerous.

Elements of a Cruise Passenger Negligence Claim

In order for an injured cruise passenger to be successful in bringing a negligence claim, it must be shown that the cause of the accident, here the raised threshold, was unreasonably dangerous and that the cruise line knew or should have known of the unreasonably dangerous condition. NCL filed a motion for summary judgement arguing the injured plaintiff did not have enough evidence for a reasonable jury to find that the threshold was unreasonably dangerous or that NCL had notice of the threshold was unreasonably dangerous.

Sarasota_boat_accident-300x169A boat flipped over and capsized in Sarasota Bay on January first leaving four injured.  Law enforcement located the boat in the early afternoon south of the John Ringling Causeway between Marina Jack and Bird Key.  An inspection revealed damage to the boat’s hull, windshield and propeller casing.  It has been reported that the boat was en route to a poker run where high speed and performance vessels gather to participate in various activities.  Small Craft advisories were posted at the time of the accident and rough weather is believed to be a contributing factor for the accident.

Photo: CBS Interactive Inc. 18 cruise passengers were seriously injured, at least 11 fatally, while on their way to a shore excursion to the ancient Maya ruins at Chaccoben, Mexico, which was sold and advertised by Royal Caribbean/Celebrity Cruises. Eight of the individuals killed are of American citizenship, others killed include two Swedes, one Canadian and one Mexican. Sadly, as reports of the incident were issued by various news reporting agencies, the number of individuals killed kept increasing.

Per reports, approximately 31 cruise passengers were riding on a shore excursion bus on their way to the Maya ruins when the reportedly speeding bus overturned sending many flying to the side of the road; injuring 18 and killing at least 11 passengers.  The passengers were from the Celebrity Equinox and the Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas, both of which are owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. and that sailed from Port Everglades on Friday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those affected. Continue reading

Fort_Myers_Boat_Accident_LawyerA Fort Myers man has died last weekend after being ejected from the boat he was traveling aboard.  The boating accident occurred near Hemp Key off Pine Island at 5:30 in the afternoon.  Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation reveals that Canaan Johnson was thrown from the boat when it struck the sand bar and then the boat ran over him.  Three other people were aboard the 19’ boat at the time of the accident. No other injuries were reported.  First responders arrived at the accident scene within an hour but had difficulty reaching the boat due to the shallow water. Mr. Johnson was taken to the Pineland Marina where he was pronounced dead.

Jet-Ski-Accident-300x214A Florida Jet Ski accident leaves a man unconscious.  The accident occurred on December 3, 2017 and was videoed by an off-duty policeman who was the first on the scene to render assistance.  Despite wearing a lanyard attached to a switch designed to cut off the engine when the rider is thrown off the Jet Ski, the machine was still running after the accident.  It is unknown at this time if the Jet Ski was rented or owned by the rider.  Florida has strict laws concerning the renting of all personal watercrafts including Jet Skis.  These laws require the rental company to provide detailed instruction on the safe handling and navigation of these watercrafts.  If these instructions are not properly given, a court may find the rental company liable for the accident.  It has been reported that the victim is making a steady recovery.

MS-NOORDAM-crew-arrested-for-alleged-rape-300x169A 33-year-old man employed by Holland America Line was arrested by New Zealand Police on Tuesday and charged with sexual violation.  Police were called on Tuesday afternoon while the vessel was docked in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand to investigate an alleged rape and sexual assault reported to have occurred earlier that morning aboard the MS Noordam.  The alleged victim is a cruise ship worker and per reports she and alleged perpetrator knew each other.

The alleged perpetrator is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. A spokeswoman for Holland America Line, which operates the ship and employed the two crew members, said no guests were involved in the alleged incident.

Holland America is not new to reports of sexual assaults on-board its vessels.  In 2014, a room service attendant brutally assaulted, raped and attempted to murder a female passenger traveling on the MS Nieuw Amsterdam.  The perpetrator, Ketut Pujayasa is currently serving a 30 year prison sentence after confessing to the crime.

Injured-Cruise-Passengers-Princess-300x168Two injured cruise passengers were medevaced from Princess’ Coral Princes last Tuesday.  The first passenger was a 73-year-old man with internal bleeding.  The second passenger was a 79-year-old man with a broken arm.  Though unrelated, the injured occurred on the Coral Princess cruise ship near Port Everglades.  EMS crews were dispatched aboard two response boats where they met to the cruise ship. Both passengers were transported to Broward General Hospital.

The 37th Annual Key West Super Boat International World Championship took place Thursday through Sunday.  On Thursday morning, a 50-foot powerboat flipped over while heading south on the bayside of Marathon about a quarter mile of mile marker 48.5.  The 50-foot power boat made by Rhode Island manufacturer Outerlimits was part of the Florida Powerboat Club’s annual poker run, which includes boats cruising from Miami to Key West. The boat was headed to Key West for display during race weekend.  But, while on the way, it went out of control and flipped over killing one and injuring three others.

Joseph Sgro, 63, from Long Island was one of two operators of the boat at the time of the accident and was operating the throttles when the boat rolled over.  Sgro was airlifted to a Miami hospital by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Trauma Star air ambulance where he was later pronounced dead.  Three others were taken to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier with injuries including a broken shoulder blade.  The accident is still under investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Per reports, Sgro was a longtime powerboat racer with more than a dozen national and world titles in power boating.   We extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Mr. Sgro.