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Maritime Law--Carnival's Week is a "Draw"--Won One, Lost One

In a case lost by Carnival, Terry v. Carnival, case no.: 1:13-cv-20571, a group of passengers whose four-day cruise turned into a nightmare in February 2013 have been awarded compensation by a court. The CARNIVAL TRIUMPH broke down after an engine fire, crippling its propulsion, electrical and plumbing systems. Passengers sued Carnival Corp., claiming they endured three days of deplorable, unsafe, unsanitary and hot conditions, including a lack of working toilets. The allegations were that the company knew the ship was not seaworthy even before an engine room fire knocked out power and created overflows of raw sewage. 
The passengers accused Carnival of breach of maritime contract for failing to provide them with safe passage on a seaworthy vessel, adequate food and sanitary and safe living conditions, and also alleged the company committed fraud and made negligent misrepresentations about a luxurious, stress-free vacation.

Shortly after the incident, Carnival said that all guests on the voyage wound receive a full refund of the cruise and transportation expenses, a credit to spend on a future cruise of equal value, reimbursement of all purchases made onboard — except for money spent at the ship's casino — and additional compensation of $500 per person.

Defense counsel argued that, under the circumstances, the ship's crew handled the unexpected situation very well, and there was adequate medical care, food and water onboard. The court found otherwise, awarding the group $118,500 in total damages.


In a case won by Carnival, Lancaster v. Carnival, case no.: 1:14-cv-20332, a cruise passenger, Kenneth Lancaster sued Carnival Corp. after he allegedly tripped and fell over luggage in a crowded cruise ship corridor in October 2012. Lancaster claimed he injured his head. The plaintiff's maritime safety expert opined that Carnival's debarkation procedures were not reasonable under the circumstances.

Carnival's liability expert opined that both the luggage and the group of people in the corridor were open and obvious conditions. The jury sided with Carnival, finding the cruise ship owner was not negligent in the manner claimed by Lancaster.

Carnival seems to have obtained a neutral week with these two cases. If you are interested in contacting me or wish to receive copies of the orders in these case, please feel free to contact me a





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