Firm Operations Continue Uninterrupted During the Coronavirus.

Articles Tagged with “Carnival Cruise Injury Lawyer”

Cruise Injury Law Appeal.gifBrais law’s cruise injury attorney Richard Rusak recently won a case before Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. The case involved a Honduran crewmember who worked as a cabin steward aboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship. Being a cabin steward, the crewmember was required to clean dozens of cabins, including lifting heavy mattress to change linens, for the next cruise. Though it was Carnival’s policy to have teams of two crewmembers working together to “turn over” these cabins, Carnival failed to provide an assistant. Given the short period of time he had to complete his job, the heavy lifting involved and because Carnival did not provide with an assistant, the cabin steward injured his back.

A lawsuit was filed in Florida state court located in Miami alleging violations of the Federal Jones Act statute, breach of the general maritime law warranty of seaworthiness and failure to provide injury benefits. Carnival removed the case to Federal court under the United Nations Convention for the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Awards arguing the seaman’s claims were governed by the arbitration provision contained in his contract and that the claims must be arbitrated in Panama under Panamanian law. The Federal court entered an order finding public policy nullifies the arbitration / Panamanian law provisions of the contract with regard to the Federal Jones Act claim and remanded the Jones Act claim to state court for a jury trial. The Federal court based its finding on the Federal Eleventh Circuit’s opinion of Thomas v. Carnival which held public policy can be considered when deciding to enforce an arbitration agreement.

Instead of challenging the Federal court’s remand order to the appellate court, Carnival decided to participate in the state court litigation without regard to its claimed right to arbitrate. While in state court, Carnival acted contrary to the arbitration provision by engaging in the machinery of the litigation process without even asking the State Court to review whether the statutory claim should be arbitrated. After a year and a half of litigating in State Court, Carnival sought a Federal court to re-review whether the Federal Jones Act must be arbitrated per the contract. This time, Carnival relied on a later opinion from the Eleventh Circuit called Lindo v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd. which disagreed with the prior Thomas opinion. The Federal trial court, like in the first instance, remanded the case back to state court. After being re-remanded, Carnival, for the first time, asked the State Court to compel the Jones Act claim to arbitration. The state court denied Carnival’s motion on two separate grounds. Those grounds being: (1) the prior Federal Court’s orders finding against arbitration precluded the issue to be reviewed for a third time and (2) Carnival’s actions in proceeding in state court for over a year and a half waived its claimed right to arbitrate.

Carnival Cruise Injury Lawyer.jpgCarnival Cruises’ attempt to prohibit an injured American crewmember from bringing a lawsuit under United States law and having a jury decide his case has been defeated by the Brais Law maritime lawyers.

Over the past few years, Carnival and other cruise lines have been taking advantage of an obscure law called the United Nations Convention on the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. This treaty allows companies in certain situations to avoid jury trials of personal injury claims brought by their employees’ by burying arbitration / choice of law clauses in employment contracts. Cruise lines had great success in convincing courts to apply this international treaty to personal injury claims of Non-American crewmembers. Enforcement of these arbitration / choice of law clauses resulted in hundreds of crewmembers being compelled to arbitrate their claims before an arbitrator(s) under foreign law instead of having a jury decide their rights in a court of law under United States law. This is a big victory for the cruise lines as they can now avoid United States law which favors seafarers and avoid potential high jury awards even though the cruise lines are headquartered in the United States, operate their ships from United States ports and market to United States citizens. Amazingly cruise lines stand alone in being able to take advantage of this legal loophole as other domestic vacation resorts and hotels must follow United States labor laws.

Drawing a Line in the Sand
Contact Information