Last month we posted an article explaining that every major cruise lines’ boarding pass contains a provision requiring injured passengers to bring their lawsuits in a certain city. Under maritime law, cruises that originate from or terminate at a U.S. port must provide injured passengers someplace in the United States to bring a claim. This same right is not afforded to passengers sailing on cruises which exclusively touch foreign ports. This is true even though the particular cruise line’s corporate offices are in the United States.
The Associated Press reported that a Stuart, Florida Judge found a boat operator guilty of running over a scuba diver which severed the diver’s legs. The Palm Beach Gardens scuba diver was struck by boat propellers while diving about 4 miles north of the St. Lucie Inlet in January 2009. The diver testified he tried to get the boat operator’s attention by waving a spear gun above the surface, but no one acknowledged his signal. He then tried to swim out of the boat’s way, but the propeller struck his tank and legs. Judge Kathleen Roberts found the boat operator violated navigational rules, and sentenced him to six months probation on a misdemeanor charge.
Local Miami television station CBS4 recently reported that a woman was ejected from the cockpit when the boat she was traveling aboard struck a wave off Miami, Florida. This happens often and we have litigated several cases where a passenger or guest was ejected from a boat. Should this happen to you, these are your rights.
A Federal District Court recently determined Princess Cruise Lines cannot require its injured crew members to arbitrate their Jones Act negligence claims in Bermuda. Crew members have the statutory right to select where the cruise line resides, where the cause of action arose, or anywhere the cruise line does business as the location of the dispute. The court found contracts requiring seaman crew members to arbitrate in Bermuda violate their substantive statutory right to select the location where their disputes are to be heard. As a consequence, the court held such choice-of-forum clauses are unenforceable.
In the landmark decision of Curd v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC., the Florida Supreme Court recently determined commercial fishermen have both statutory strict liability and common law negligence claims to recover damages caused by discharge of pollutants into Florida’s waters. Given the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico, marine pollution is on the forefront of the Nation’s mind. As explained below, this case provides recourse to those whose lives and businesses were harmed by the pollution of Florida’s waters.