Skip to main content

Maritime Law--Concordia Pax Ordered to Bring Suits in Italy

On January 27, 2016,  a 3-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida has ruled unanimously that lawsuits filed by passengers on Costa Concordia, the infamous cruise ship that ran aground and sank in Italy in January 2012, should be heard in that country. The appellate court found that 57 plaintiffs, including five U.S. residents, should not be allowed to pursue their lawsuit against Miami-based Costa parent Carnival Corp. in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, which dismissed the case on forum non conveniens grounds.


Costa Concordia sank off the Italian island Giglio in January 2012 after its captain allegedly changed course to do a sail-by salute and hit a coral reef. More than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members were evacuated--32 people died. 
The court reasoned that the evidence is located in Italy. The court also noted that the wreckage, voyage data recorder, bridge voice recorder, ship cameras and the vessel's electronic navigation system are all in the custody of Italian authorities. The appellate court remanded a second set of Costa Concordia claims filed by 17 U.S. residents to Miami-Dade Circuit Court, finding that the trial judge in that companion case, which was consolidated with the first reported case, did not properly conduct a "private interest" analysis with respect to the U.S. plaintiffs. The court found that the court had to analyze the elements of the plaintiffs' causes of action. The court must then consider the necessary evidence required to prove and disprove each element and make a reasoned assessment as to the likely location of such proof. Because the trial court failed to undertake this analysis in the second case, the court reversed and remanded that portion of the trial court's ruling for further determination.
If you are interested in receiving the court's opinion or wish to contact me, you may do so by writing to me at



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Maritime Law--U.S. Crewmember Required to Arbitrate Claims Applying Norwegian Law

In Alberts v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., No. 15-14775 (11th Cir. Aug. 23, 2016), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that a U.S. citizen, working aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship is required to arbitrate his claims against Royal Caribbean.
Plaintiff, a United States citizen, worked as the lead trumpeter on a passenger Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The ship is a Bahamian flagged vessel with a home port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Royal Caribbean, the operator of the vessel, is a Liberian corporation with its principal place of business in Florida. After plaintiff became ill while working for Royal Caribbean, he filed suit alleging unseaworthiness, negligence, negligence under the Jones Act, maintenance and cure, and seaman’s wages and penalties. Royal Caribbean moved to compel arbitration, and the district court granted the motion. This appeal presented an issue of first impression: Whether a seaman’s work in international waters on a cruise ship that calls o…

Maritime Law--Jury Hits Royal Caribbean Cruises With $20.3M Verdict for Officer's Hand Injury

In Spearman v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Case No. 2011-023730-CA-01, a Miami-Dade County, Florida jury has awarded $20.3 million to a former crewmember of Royal Caribbean Cruises, whose hand was crushed while coming to the aid of a fellow worker during an emergency test in 2008. After a three-week trial, the jury found the Miami-based cruise company negligent in operating an unseaworthy ship and 100 percent liable for the injuries suffered by Lisa Spearman, who was working an officer on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

Spearman sued the company in 2011, three years after her right hand was caught in a watertight power door during a fire-safety drill. According to her lawyers, Spearman was trying to prevent the door from closing on the ship’s nurse when her hand was pulled into a recess pocket of the sliding door and crushed. The nurse allegedly breached the company’s safety protocol when she stumbled through the door, prompting the response from Spearman.
According to allegations m…

Maritime Law--Tour Boat Captain Implicated in Tragedy Off Nicaragua

As reported in the Daily Business Review on January 25, 2016, Nicaragua's police, army and navy will investigate the captain of a tourist boat and his assistant for the deaths of 13 Costa Rican passengers killed on January 23rd when the vessel capsized in bad weather. The Reina del Caribe, Spanish for "Caribbean Queen," was carrying 33 people when it went down Saturday amid rain and strong winds as it ferried between the Corn Islands, a popular tourist destination, off Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. The Daily Business Review article can be accessed here=> Daily Business Review article.

The government clarified on the 24th that the boat was carrying 25 Costa Ricans, two Americans, two British citizens, a Brazilian and three Nicaraguans. Previous reports had said there were 32 people on board, including four Americans. All the dead were Costa Ricans.

Nicaragua's naval commander for the southern Caribbean region said the boat's captain was detained because the …