Articles Posted in Negligent Security

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Ports of call during a cruise offer passengers opportunities for sightseeing, recreational activities, and shopping, but foreign countries where these excursions take place can be unsafe because of environmental hazards and crime.  While major cruise companies like Carnival, Holland America Line, Celebrity X Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and others have worked to narrow the scope of their liability so that it terminates when passengers reach the gangway.  The 1985 court decision of Carlisle v. Ulysses Line Ltd. long ago established that passengers have a duty to warn passengers of known dangers beyond the point of debarkation at locations where passengers are invited or reasonably expected to visit.  In this blog post, our Miami cruise injury lawyers examine the duty owed to passengers during excursions in the context of an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision that reaffirmed this duty established by the Carlisle decision.

In Chaparro v. Carnival Corporation, her parents and a brother accompanied Liz Marie on the Carnival ship, the M/V Victory.  Liz Marie was shot and killed during a shore excursion.  The family members indicated an unidentified cruise line employee recommended the family visit Coki Beach when disembarking in St. Thomas.  When the family was returning to the vessel, the bus traveled through a neighborhood hosting a gang member’s funeral.  A retaliatory shootout occurred while the bus the family was riding in was stopped and Liz Marie was struck by a bullet and killed.  Continue reading →

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Although cruise lines often market their ships as vacation destinations for families, many major cruise lines have elected to operate without lifeguards for decades.  In the wake of multiple drownings aboard ships operated by most of the major cruise companies, the industry is shifting toward using lifeguards to improve passenger safety.  With the announcement by Royal Caribbean and Norwegian that they will be implementing a water safety program, Carnival remains the only remaining major cruise company not to use lifeguards.  In this blog, our Miami cruise injury lawyers examine this announcement and trend in the wake of recent drownings and near drownings on cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise ships have averaged at least one drowning or near drowning incident annually since 2013.  An eight-year-old boy was reportedly on life support after being found unconscious in a swimming pool of Royal Caribbean’s “Anthem of the Seas’ in July 2016.  In another incident, an eight-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool on Royal Caribbean’s “Liberty of the Seas,” which did not have a lifeguard on duty in December of 2015.  A near drowning incident in January of 2015 prompted publication of an article in the Miami Herald regarding the risk pools posed to children traveling on cruises because of the absence of lifeguards.  These are merely a few recent examples of drowning and near drowning incidents on these two cruise lines in recent years. Continue reading →

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When passengers choose a cruise as their mode of travel, they reasonably anticipate that the crew will provide an enjoyable and safe experience.  The last thing cruise guests expect is that they will become a violent crime victim with the perpetrator being a member of the staff or crew hired to make the experience an enjoyable voyage.  Unfortunately, stories of passengers being attacked, raped, or killed by the criminal acts of cruise ship personnel appear far too frequently in media reports.  In this blog post, our Miami cruise ship accident attorneys review such an incident that resulted in a confidential settlement between the cruise line and the passenger.

The Sun Sentinal published an article late last year after the former cruise ship worker complained in front of a federal judge that the former employee was having a difficult time dealing with the violence in prison.  The former employee of a major cruise line was sentenced to thirty years in prison after a violent attack during which he brutally assaulted and attempted to kill a female cruise passenger.  Prosecutors described the incident that occurred on a cruise that left from Port Everglades as an extraordinarily violent and cruel attack. Continue reading →

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Because cruise companies often are based in foreign countries and operate their ships in navigable waters, there are many complex issues that have nothing to do with the merits, such as jurisdiction, choice of law, and venue issues.  Personal jurisdiction essentially refers to the authority of the court to exercise power over the defendant.  While this issue is fundamental to pursuing a lawsuit against a cruise excursion operator, the issue can be particularly difficult for a plaintiff.  Excursions offer cruise passengers many opportunities for tours, recreation, and adventure, but these outings frequently occur in foreign countries that lack the safety laws and practices observed by U.S. tour operators.  In this blog, our Miami cruise injury lawyers analyze an appellate court decision regarding personal jurisdiction of an excursion operator.

In the Florida 3rd DCA case of Haughey v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., et al, a passenger bought a ticket in Puerto Rico to take part in an Island Sea-Faris tour excursion on Antigua.  The trial court denied a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction over the excursion operator.  The Managing Director of the tour company submitted an affidavit in support of the motion contending the company had no contacts with Florida.  The excursion operator argued that no statute justified personal jurisdiction nor did the company have sufficient contacts with Florida. Continue reading →

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Although cruises offer virtually unlimited access entertainment, activities, culinary delights, and tours, passengers can suffer serious physical and emotional injury when cruise line operators fail to provide adequate security.  Attacks against passengers and crew members that include rape, sexual battery, and other violent offenses occur on cruise ships and during shore excursions more often than you might think.  Cruise ships have a duty to properly screen their crewmembers to prevent hiring individuals prone to commit criminal acts and to implement security procedures to keep passengers safe.  Despite these duties, cruise lines sometimes fail to provide adequate security resulting in devastating consequences for cruise passengers.  In this blog, our cruise injury lawyers discuss a recent incident reported by the media demonstrating exactly the wrong way for a cruise line to handle a passenger who reports a criminal attack.

This tragic incident involved an accomplished violinist and competitive swimmer named Mary who was enthralled by the idea of cruises.  She collected cruise brochures when she would happen to pass a travel agency.  Her fascination with cruises suddenly turned dark when she suffered a sexual assault on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, which was reported in the New Times.  While experiencing a sexual assault is a horrific event under any circumstances, the cruise line was so dismissive regarding the consequences of this passenger’s experience that they made they situation worse. Continue reading →

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If you have been on a cruise vacation involving any of the major cruise lines, you know that many of the recreational activities, tours, and shopping trips occur during excursions.  Despite the fact that you might have heard of an excursion from a crew member and signed up aboard the ship, cruise lines will work diligently to avoid liability for accidents that occur because of negligence during these activities.  The ticket contract that you did not sign, and almost certainly did not read closely, will include a provision expressly indicating that the cruise company is not liable for injuries caused by the negligence of the individuals and companies sponsoring or hosting these activities.  In this blog post, our cruise injury lawyers examine a recent lawsuit filed against Royal Caribbean cruise lines for injuries sustained by passengers during an auto accident while on a shore excursion.

According to the Miami Herald report, the crash caused injury to more than a dozen passengers and the death of another passenger.  The passengers were injured while riding on a tour bus in Jamaica that collided with a truck on its way back to the Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas.  The news report indicated that passengers of cruise ships that participate in such excursions are routinely “shocked” by the erratic driving of the Jamaican tour drivers on narrow winding roads.  Continue reading →

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When parents decide to take their family on a cruise, they do not anticipate their children will be exposed to sexual abuse.  Despite these expectations, you might not learn about such incidents from the cruise company when they occur.  In late January, a cruise employee allegedly enticed a teenage girl into performing a sex act.  According to a report by Local 10 News, a waiter aboard the Holland America cruise ship, MS Veendam, was arrested after he had a 15-year-old girl perform a sex act. The employee was charged with a lewd and lascivious act involving a minor.  The news source learned of the incident and reported it to the public.  The tactics used by the cruise line to avoid disclosing the incident focus attention on the difficult task of determining the risk of being the victim of a crime when deciding to take a cruise.

Our Miami cruise accident lawyers at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano know that most people that schedule a vacation on a cruise anticipate that the cruise company will implement adequate security measures.  Passengers also might be inclined to assume that the cruise line will elect to work with tour and recreation providers that screen their employees and adopt appropriate security practices.  Although these beliefs might seem reasonable, people are victims of crimes like rape, sexual assault, sexual molestation and other offenses on cruises each year.  Because certain cruise lines might be lax regarding security measures and protocols, travelers should investigate the security record of a cruise line before making a choice.  This task is not as easy as it might seem because of crime reporting practices in the cruise industry. Continue reading →

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Cruise ships often accommodate 3,000 guests or more. These massive floating cities have significant security needs.  At Greenberg, Stone & Urbano, our cruise ship attorneys understand the critical importance of security cameras on cruise ships. Cruise ships are equipped with pools, casinos, restaurants, and numerous other areas that could pose a threat to passengers.  Cruise ship surveillance provides important benefits, such as:

  • Crime prevention: Surveillance cameras can help to deter crimes, including theft and acts of violence. When crimes occur, footage of the incidents will prove important for prosecution.
  • Missing persons: There have been several cases of missing persons on cruise ships, and cameras are often the only way to trace the missing individual.
  • Accidents: Accidents happen on cruise ships and when they do, camera footage of the accident can be critical to determining the cruise line’s liability.

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Cruise ship negligence cases, as with all negligence claims, center around the issue of whether the cruise ship and its employees failed to fulfill a duty of care owed to a passenger under the circumstances. As the case below illustrates, the extent of the duty of care owed depends on the facts of each case.

In Carroll v. Carnival Corp., a person was a first-time passenger who suffered two separate cruise ship injuries. The passenger first slipped and fell in one of the cruise ship’s elevators and broke her elbow. Two days later, the passenger slipped and fell again in one of the cabin bathrooms and broke her femur. After returning to port, the passenger filed a negligence suit in a federal district court in Miami against the cruise ship company alleging two counts negligence. Additionally, the passenger claimed that the cruise ship company’s duty of care to her increased after the initial accident.

During the trial, the plaintiff indicated that she was not under any form of special restrictions after the initial accident. According to her testimony, she received treatment at a port of call by a local doctor, who placed her arm in a sling. The doctor gave her no special instructions to refrain from certain activities, walk in a particular manner, or wear specific clothing. The plaintiff did not ask the ship staff for assistance in moving about the cruise ship, and later, she slipped while in the bathroom after some difficulties with her clothing. Continue reading →

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The life of 28-year-old Tristin was changed forever when she was held down and raped repeatedly by two Carnival crew members.  She is far from alone.  It is estimated that over 150 cruise ship passengers have been raped since 2010. Many of these rapes were committed by cruise ship crew members.

The sheer number of crew member rapes and sexual assaults has spurred some investigative agencies to examine the attitude of staff members towards passengers.  Inside Edition took on the quest, sending a staffer on a four-night cruise. The undercover staffer spotted several instances of inappropriate contact between employees and passengers, including dancing, kissing, and propositioning.  In Part II of this two-part series, we discuss the issue of crew member rapes and sexual assaults, along with liability for these catastrophic happenings. Continue reading →

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