Monthly Archives: April 2012

Proudly Representing Cruise Ship Cases in Miami, Nearby Areas of Florida and Nationwide

DESCRIPTION OF THE INCIDENT

 

The Defendant cruise line, Carnival Corporation d/b/a Carnival Cruise Line, owns and operates the cruise ship, Carnival Spirit. Carnival Corporation actively participated in the design and construction of this ship.  The cruise line contracted with the design firms to design the interior elements including the decking of Deck 10 (Sun Deck) where this accident occurred, contracted with the shipyard to build this ship, stationed representatives at the shipyard to oversee construction and design elements, and through the contract documents and the relationship as owner had the ultimate ability to accept or reject the design, construction, and materials chosen, including but not limited to the decking material on Deck 10 (Sun Deck).  The decking material on Deck 10 (Sun Deck) of the Carnival Spirit is thought to be a resin material.

Before installation of the material on this deck, Carnival either knew or should have known of the dangerous and inappropriate properties and characteristics of the subject flooring.  Carnival should never have chosen this material, should never have allowed this material to be installed on its ships, and should never have provided this material for an area where passengers are allowed and encouraged to walk especially in an outdoor setting where the flooring is subject to getting wet by the elements, by other passengers, and/or by mopping or cleaning by Carnival employees as the Carnival employees did on this day.

After installation of the material on this deck, Carnival was made aware of problems with the surface and the unsafe character of the surface.  Carnival knew and certainly should have known about the dangerous characteristics of this surface especially when wet, that the material is not appropriate to have on an open, exterior deck exposed to the elements including rain water and humidity, that the material was not appropriate to wash and/or mop without cordoning and blocking it off, and not appropriate to allow passengers walk onto the surface in general as any water or moisture makes this surface slick and slippery.  Carnival should have changed out the flooring, treated or altered the flooring to make it safe, cordoned off and blocked off the area whenever cleaning or mopping to prevent anyone from walking onto the surface, and warned anyone who was in the area about the dangers of the floor and the fact that the Carnival employees were or had been cleaning or making the flooring wet and therefore slick and slippery.

Further, the defendant cruise line’s employees failed to maintain this floor and failed to keep the floor clean and dry and safe to walk on.  More specifically, the cruise line cleaner on the day of this incident mopped this deck with a liquid, slick substance and failed to cordon off the mopped and slick area and failed to post sufficient warning signs in that mopped and slick area.  The cleaner as of the time of the incident remained in the area and failed even to warn the Plaintiff as she was walking onto the wet, slick area that the area was wet and slick.

The slick and slippery condition of the flooring on this deck is made worse by the wetting of the deck by the Carnival crewmembers who mopped or put down some liquids on that day.  The slick and slippery condition of that flooring is also made worse by the  accumulation of spilled drinks, food, and suntan oils and lotions of passengers who are allowed to eat, drink and sun themselves on that deck, all of which Carnival knows or certainly should know.  For all of these reasons, the maintenance of this flooring by Carnival employees is especially important.

 

As a result of Defendant’s negligence, the Plaintiff on the day and time of the accident, walked into the area and slipped and fell causing serious, debilitating, and permanent injuries.  The Plaintiff in this case suffered, among other things, a tear of the meniscus of her right knee requiring surgery and physical therapy. Additionally, she injured her left hip and back.  These injuries are permanent.  The Plaintiff has had surgery on her knee as a result of this injury and may require further surgery in the future. 

DESCRIPTION OF THE INCIDENT

 

The Defendant cruise line, Carnival Corporation d/b/a Carnival Cruise Line, owns and operates the cruise ship, Carnival Spirit. Carnival Corporation actively participated in the design and construction of this ship.  The cruise line contracted with the design firms to design the interior elements including the decking of Deck 10 (Sun Deck) where this accident occurred, contracted with the shipyard to build this ship, stationed representatives at the shipyard to oversee construction and design elements, and through the contract documents and the relationship as owner had the ultimate ability to accept or reject the design, construction, and materials chosen, including but not limited to the decking material on Deck 10 (Sun Deck).  The decking material on Deck 10 (Sun Deck) of the Carnival Spirit is thought to be a resin material.

Before installation of the material on this deck, Carnival either knew or should have known of the dangerous and inappropriate properties and characteristics of the subject flooring.  Carnival should never have chosen this material, should never have allowed this material to be installed on its ships, and should never have provided this material for an area where passengers are allowed and encouraged to walk especially in an outdoor setting where the flooring is subject to getting wet by the elements, by other passengers, and/or by mopping or cleaning by Carnival employees as the Carnival employees did on this day.

After installation of the material on this deck, Carnival was made aware of problems with the surface and the unsafe character of the surface.  Carnival knew and certainly should have known about the dangerous characteristics of this surface especially when wet, that the material is not appropriate to have on an open, exterior deck exposed to the elements including rain water and humidity, that the material was not appropriate to wash and/or mop without cordoning and blocking it off, and not appropriate to allow passengers walk onto the surface in general as any water or moisture makes this surface slick and slippery.  Carnival should have changed out the flooring, treated or altered the flooring to make it safe, cordoned off and blocked off the area whenever cleaning or mopping to prevent anyone from walking onto the surface, and warned anyone who was in the area about the dangers of the floor and the fact that the Carnival employees were or had been cleaning or making the flooring wet and therefore slick and slippery.

Further, the defendant cruise line’s employees failed to maintain this floor and failed to keep the floor clean and dry and safe to walk on.  More specifically, the cruise line cleaner on the day of this incident mopped this deck with a liquid, slick substance and failed to cordon off the mopped and slick area and failed to post sufficient warning signs in that mopped and slick area.  The cleaner as of the time of the incident remained in the area and failed even to warn the Plaintiff as she was walking onto the wet, slick area that the area was wet and slick.

The slick and slippery condition of the flooring on this deck is made worse by the wetting of the deck by the Carnival crewmembers who mopped or put down some liquids on that day.  The slick and slippery condition of that flooring is also made worse by the  accumulation of spilled drinks, food, and suntan oils and lotions of passengers who are allowed to eat, drink and sun themselves on that deck, all of which Carnival knows or certainly should know.  For all of these reasons, the maintenance of this flooring by Carnival employees is especially important.

 

As a result of Defendant’s negligence, the Plaintiff on the day and time of the accident, walked into the area and slipped and fell causing serious, debilitating, and permanent injuries.  The Plaintiff in this case suffered, among other things, a tear of the meniscus of her right knee requiring surgery and physical therapy. Additionally, she injured her left hip and back.  These injuries are permanent.  The Plaintiff has had surgery on her knee as a result of this injury and may require further surgery in the future. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Hickey – Miami Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Attorney

 

The battle continues between the citizens of Charleston and the powerful cruise industry, backed by the government of Charleston.  The citizens have been waging a legal battle for 2 years to prevent the spread of cruise lines calling on their city.  With the Carnival Fantasy permanently docked in Charleston, and other cruise ships frequently calling on the city, the residents are afraid of what will happen to Historic Charleston.

The residents complain of the noise, traffic, and pollution brought about by the frequent use of their waters by cruise ships.  They even worry about a sort of visual pollution, saying that the very sight of the cruise ships takes away from Charleston’s historical charm.  Adding to the claim, the citizens’ groups have noted that the size of the ships’ smoke stacks violate building codes.

The cruise industry, backed by the local government, have denied the pollution and traffic concerns.  They insist that the ships are clean running, and not in violation of local pollution standards.  Furthermore, the pro-cruise side contends that the economic boon brought about by having the ships call on Charleston is too great to pass up.  The city Key West, Florida as a model of how a small town can continue to have its charm, while working with the cruise industry to allow the ships which bring millions in revenue every year.

With a proposed $35 million cruise terminal set to being construction soon, the fight seems to be far from over.  The citizens’ groups oppose the location of the terminal.

 

 

Jack Hickey – Miami Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Attorney

If you are on a cruise ship, on the pool deck for example, and you slip and fall, injuring yourself – is that your fault?  This kind of question is very important because it really goes to the heart of many of the cases we see here at the Hickey Law Firm.  The fact is that many times what the victim does not know, can hurt them.

There are many hazards which may arise from operating a cruise ship.  The cruise company is responsible for making sure that the ship is safe for the passengers to enjoy and use, including all public areas of the ship.  They are responsible for making sure the food is safe to eat, and the water is safe to drink.

So, let’s go back to the earlier example, a slip and fall on the pool deck.  The first thing you may think is “pool decks are slippery because of the water.”  But this is not necessarily the case.  We recently had a case in which a woman slipped and fell on the pool deck, injuring herself very badly.  It turns out that the cruise line had coated the pool deck with a very slippery coating which they knew could cause people to slip and injure themselves.

If you have an injury aboard a cruise ship, or during an off shore excursion, do not just assume that you are at fault.  Give us a call and allow us to review your case.

Jack Hickey – Miami Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Attorney

Yesterday we brought you a blog post about the dangers of cruise line excursions.  We told you that cruise line excursions can result in serious injury or death, and not to automatically trust the cruise line, or the excursion provider, if the excursion seems dangerous.

Today we bring you the story of John Dresp to illustrate the point of the dangers of cruise line excursions.  In 2005, John sailed on the Norwegian Dream with his brother and his brother’s wife.  The group decided to take a shore-side excursion at the Belize barrier reef, offered by Discovery Divers.

The story, written by John’s brother, begins by saying that the group, a total of 47 on the excursion, was given equipment, but not told how to use it – nor were they warned of dangerous conditions in the water:

 

“She did not ask who was a beginner, our gear was not checked, no one met us in the water and we were not warned of a moderate to strong current moving away from the boat and the snorkeling area,” he said.

John was described as a strong swimmer, in good physical condition.  Despite this, after John’s brother had his own problems battling the current, John too was carried away by the strong waves.

“I didn’t wear flippers and was quickly carried out by the current, he said.”  ”My brother John was a first time snorkeler but a good swimmer. John worked out daily and was in good physical health. My wife Winifred was last in the water. She and my brother were within twenty feet of the catamaran when she asked John where I was and he told her “way out there.” She said “if you’re all right, I’ll go get help for Don and be right back.” Winifred called up to the boat for help and I was promptly rescued. When she went back to John she could not find him.”

John was missing.  As the pair, his brother and his brother’s wife, continued to search, they were told by Discovery Divers that John was “probably with the other guests at the reef.”  The couple spent the next 12 days looking for John, but he was never found.
 

 

 

Jack Hickey – Miami Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Attorney

Cruise ship disappearances occur more common than you would think.  Recent tallies by some news organizations put the tally as high as 165 disappearances in recent years.

So, how does a cruise ship disappearance happen?  Why do we not hear more about this in the news?  Let’s take a look at the case of Amy Lynn Bradley to get an idea.  This is her story as told by her parents.

In 1998 23-year old Amy sailed with her brother and her parents in the Caribbean.  She left out one morning to have a smoke, taking her cigarettes and lighter, but not wearing any shoes.  Obviously, she did not intend to be gone very long.

This was the last time she was seen alive.  This is often the case with cruise ship disappearances.  There are no witnesses, and very few clues.  The case leaves behind a lot of unanswered questions.

Amy’s mother, who wrote the report of her daughter’s disappearance, seems to think there may have been foul play.  She says:

“The last person seen with Amy during the early hours of that morning was a cruise ship band member, known as ‘Yellow’ from a group called ‘Blue Orchid.’  There were other crewmembers that had also had contact with Amy during the cruise… a girl who worked in the casino, and three cruise ship waiters who were stationed at our dining table.  The waiters were very over-attentive towards Amy from the moment they met her.”

This is far from conclusive.  Like so many families of the missing, the Bradleys feel that the cruise line did not adequately help them, including performing an inadequate search.  The F.B.I.  got involved, and the case was even featured on ‘America’s Most Wanted,’ but Amy was never found.

 

 

Jack Hickey – Miami Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Attorney

The following is a description of the accident in a complaint we recently filed on behalf of JEFFREY WEINGART in his litigation against ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD.,:

  1. DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCIDENT. The Voyager of the Seas cruise ship, owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Ltd. (“RCCL”) provides booths for the public in the 19th Hole Lounge. One of those booths, believed to be the second from the right when one walks in the front door of the lounge, was weak in condition and defective, and was not maintained properly by the cruise line. The Plaintiff, JEFFREY WEINGART, sat in the booth, placed an order, and after a brief period of time, the booth collapsed. The Plaintiff did absolutely nothing to cause the collapse. The booth was used in the manner in which, if not for negligent maintenance, it should not have broken.
  2. The cause of this accident, the booth, and the negligent maintenance of the booth, is not one that would in the ordinary course of events, have occurred without the negligence on the part of the one in control of the booth, that is, the Defendant cruise line.
  3. The negligent maintenance and defect in the booth caused the crash to the ground. The impact of the crash caused the Plaintiff to suffer severe, debilitating, and permanent injuries requiring surgery.

 

 

 

Jack Hickey – Miami Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Attorney

The following is a description of the accident in a complaint we recently filed on behalf of Bonnie Satarsky in her litigation against BONNIE SATARSKY, Plaintiff, vs.  KING COLE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION, INC., and DIEGON, LLC.,:

  1. DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT AND DUTIES OF THE DEFENDANT:

The Defendant, KING COLE, owns and has a responsibility for the maintenance and safety of the common areas of the condominium association building located at 900 Bay Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33141.  The duties of the Condominium Association to maintain and keep safe these common areas arise under the common law of the state of Florida and under Florida Statutes, including but not limited to Florida Statute Section 718.113(1) (2007) which provides, inter alia, that “maintenance of the common elements is the responsibility of the association” and Florida Statute Section 718.111(3)(2007) which provides, inter alia, “for these purposes, the powers of the association include, but are not limited to, the maintenance, management, and operation of the condominium property.”

  1. The duties of the Defendant, KING  COLE,  also arise under and pursuant to the bylaws of

the association which provide, inter alia, that the powers and duties of the Board of Directors shall include:

a)    Operating and maintaining the common elements;

b)   Determining the expenses required for the operation of the condominium and the association;

c)    Employing and dismissing the personnel necessary for the maintenance and operation of the common elements;

d)   Adopting and amending the rules and regulations  necessary for the details of the operation and use of the condominium property, subject to a right of the unit owners to overrule the Board as provided in Article 13 hereof.

e)    Making repairs, additions, and improvements to, or alterations of, the condominium property, and repairs to reference to the restoration of the condominium property in accordance with the provisions of the Declaration, after damage or destruction by fire or other casualty, or as a result of condemnation of eminent domain proceedings or otherwise.

f)    Contracting for the management of the condominium and delegating to such contractor such powers of the duties of the Board of Directors as the Board may deem appropriate under the circumstances, except those which may be required by the Declaration, the articles, or these bylaws to be approved by the Board of Directors or by the unit owners;

 

(Amended and Restated Bylaws of KING COLE, August 5, 1999).

 

  1. The duties and responsibilities of the Defendant, KING COLE, are also provided by and in pursuant to the Declaration for the Condominium.  The Declaration for the Condominium provides, inter alia, that, “the Association shall be the entity which shall be responsible for the operation of the condominium. The powers and duties of the Association shall include those set forth in the bylaws and articles of incorporation of the Association, as amended from time to time.” (Paragraph 12 of the Amended and Restated Bylaws of KING COLE, August 5, 1999). The Declaration also provides, inter alia, that, “the Association shall be responsible for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the common elements and all portions of the condominium property not required to be maintained, prepared, and/or replaced by the unit owner(s).” (Amended and Restated Declaration for the KING COLE, August 5, 1999, Paragraph 13(c)(2).  The accident in this case was caused by and occurred in an area within the common elements which the unit owners were not required to maintain, repair, and/or replace.
  2. The duties of the Defendant, DIEGON, LLC., arise from the contract, oral or written by and between the Defendant, DIEGON, LLC., and the Defendant, KING COLE.  The Defendants have copies of the contracts and addenda and amendments thereto.  The Plaintiff does not have a copy of such contract and addenda and amendments thereto.
  3. The duties of the Defendant, DIEGON, LLC., also arise from the fact that the Defendant, DIEGON LLC. undertook demolition, repairs, and reconstruction of the flooring of the common area to the entrance of the elevator on the fourth floor of the condominium building.  As such, the Defendant, DIEGON, LLC  had a responsibility, duty, and obligation to conduct such demolition, repair, and reconstruction reasonably and in a safe manner to ensure the safety of people such as the Plaintiff herein walking through the area and stepping onto the elevator.
    1. The Defendant, KING COLE as a result of its contractual responsibilities and

duties of the maintenance, and therefore, safety of the common areas and element, had a duty and responsibility to (a) Maintain a safe area despite the contractor performing demolition, repair, and reconstruction.  This includes, but is not limited to (b) Inspect the area on a regular basis and interval in order to ensure the safety of the walking surface within the common area and element; (c) Require that the contractor, and Defendant, DIEGON, LLC. do what is necessary to maintain a safe walking area and threshold to the subject elevator; (d) Provide written or other types of warning to people such as the Plaintiff herein who would be walking on the flooring and into the elevator; (e) Cordon off or block off an area which has unsafe flooring and threshold for the people walking through the area and onto the elevator;  and (e) Select and retain only contractors who are professional and who will maintain and ensure a safe area for residents of the condominium and others such as the Plaintiff herein to walk onto the area and into the subject elevator.

  1. The Defendant, DIEGON, LLC. had a duty and responsibility pursuant to the contract between the Defendants and pursuant to its common law duty to provide due care when it is undertaking activity such as demolition, repair, and reconstruction to provide a safe place for the residents of the condominium to walk and to enter the elevator.
  2. The Defendant, for an extended period of time on and before the date of this accident during demolition and the removal of the wood parquet flooring on the fourth floor in the common area hallway leading up to the entrance of the elevator, created a trip hazard at the threshold to the elevator.  When the parquet wooden flooring was removed, it created a lip which was higher than the concrete slab which was underneath the wood parquet flooring.  This lip which was left exposed for an extended period of time during the demolition and repair caused the front portion of the Plaintiff’s shoe to get caught as the Plaintiff was walking into the elevator.  This caused the Plaintiff to fall forward into the elevator.  When the Plaintiff fell forward, she hit her head on the back of the elevator, suffering a laceration to her head, loss of consciousness, and brain damage.  These injuries are debilitating, significant, and permanent.

 

 

Jack Hickey – Miami Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Attorney

Local citizen’s groups in Charleston, South Carolina - such as Coastal Conservation League and Charleston Preservation Society – are continuing to fight expansion plans by the cruise industry and the government of their state.  The next chapter in the fight is likely to be on April 18, 2012 – when The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management holds a public forum to discuss a proposed $35 million pier, which is currently in the planning phase.

The pier, which would be located in the north end of Union pier, is just one area of contention between the powerful cruise industry and the citizens of Charleston.  The main complaints of the citizens’ groups is that the cruise industry in Charleston needs to be more tightly regulated, with limits on the number of ships using the port, and limits on pollution.

The situation in Charleston is not new.  There has been a long standing history of the cruise industry using its immense influence to gain the support of local and national governments.  The cruise business brings tourism.  Tourism equals money.

In the case of Charleston, it is exactly the same.  Though the citizenry seems to be opposed to the cruise line expansions, the mayor of Charleston actually came out in favor.  The State’s Ports Authority also gave the plans its stamp of approval.

As for now, it is too soon to tell what will happen.  Like many legal battles, this process is long and drawn-out.  However, for the sake of the citizens of Charleston, let’s hope that in this case – David can slay Goliath again.

 

Jack Hickey – Miami Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Attorney