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Carnival Cruise Lines Ordered to Pay Attorney Fees for Improperly Attempting to Force a Crew Member to Arbitrate His Personal Injury Claim

Carnival Cruise Crew Member Injury Arbitration.jpgWe reported on August 9, 2010 that Brais & Brais was successful in obtaining a ruling from a Miami, Florida Federal Court finding Carnival Cruise Lines cannot force a crew member to arbitrate his personal injury claim without producing a signed arbitration agreement covering the employment period for which the accident occured. The Court ruled against Carnival’s attempt to compel arbitration even though the cruise line produced a signed arbitration agreement for the employment period immediately prior to the employment period during which the crew member was injured and submitted an affidavit from its director of shipboard personnel attesting that in order to sign on the cruise ship all crew members must sign an agreement to arbitrate any personal injury claim.

In follow up to the order denying Carnival’s motion to compel arbitration, Brais & Brais filed a motion seeking attorney fees against Carnival. We argued it was improper to remove the case from the crew member’s chosen state court forum as Carnival could never compel arbitration without the signed arbitration agreement. The Federal Court agreed and found Carnival’s removal of the case lacked any objective reasonableness and, even though we took the case on a contingency basis, ordered Carnival to pay reasonable attorney fees.

If you wish to learn more about the cruise industry’s recent attempts to force crew members to arbitrate personal injury claims instead of allowing them to pursue their claims in court, we invite you to read the following related articles: