Royal Caribbean Ordered to Pay $1,250,000 to Injured Crewmember

An Arbitration panel in Miami, Florida has ordered Royal Caribbean Cruises to pay $1,250,000.00 to a crewmember following an injury aboard the Jewel of the Seas cruise ship.

The crewmember, who is from Serbia, sustained a serious back injury in June 2008 when a crew member violently slammed a door into her back while she was walking down a narrow hallway.  She sustained a large herniated disc.  She reported to the ship infirmary and the ship doctor found her unfit for duty.  However, her supervisor instructed her to continue working.

Jewel of the Seas - Cruise Ship Medical Care - Crew Member - ArbitrationThe ship doctor thereafter refused to take her medical condition seriously, and did not take an x-ray or order a MRI at a port of call.  After seven weeks of continuous work, her medical condition deteriorated badly.  She collapsed and had to be taken from the cruise ship on a stretcher with a IV morphine drip to manage her pain.

Royal Caribbean sent her back to Serbia and refused to arrange for medical treatment.  It paid her only $12 a day for lodging and food, which is impossible to live on.  It paid her consistently late.  It took the cruise line over five months to finally authorize back surgery in January 2009.  The doctor then performed surgery at the wrong level.  Royal Caribbean thereafter refused to arrange or pay for her rehabilitation or arrange for follow-up x-rays or a MRI.

After she retained Walker & O’Neill to represent her, the cruise line continued to refuse to meet its legal obligation to provide her with the necessary medical treatment.  When our firm complained, the cruise line terminated her living expenses. One of the in-house lawyers overseeing the cruise line’s medical department, Tony Faso, decided to abandon her.  Mr. Faso sent an email to Walker & O’Neill stating:

"I am sure any arbitrator will agree with me. I am sure that I will get some ridiculous response from you. I really don't care . . ."

Walker & O’Neill then flew the crew member here to Miami, and arranged for her to see a U.S. board certified orthopedist who determined that the first surgery was a failure.  Royal Caribbean nonetheless refused to reinstate the crew member’s benefits or provide her with the necessary medical care.

The three member Arbitration panel found Royal Caribbean’s refusal to pay maintenance and cure benefits to be:

" . . . not reasonable.  The denial of those benefits lacked any reasonable defense . . . "

The Arbitrators awarded the crew member $1,250,000.00.

Royal Caribbean was also found responsible for $11,650.00 for the administrative costs of the International Center for Dispute Resolution ("ICDR") as well as $48,970.00 for compensation of the Arbitrators.  

This award is the highest arbitration amount awarded to an injured crewmember since cruise lines began arbitrating cases. The award demonstrates the consequences of a cruise line unlawfully abandoning an ill crewmember and spitefully terminating her medical benefits. 

The crew member was represented by James (“Jim”) Walker and Lisa O’Neill of Walker & O’Neill P.A. and Jonathan Aronson of the Aronson Law Firm.

Royal Caribbean was represented by Curtis Mase of the Mase, Lara & Ebersole law firm.

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
http://www.cruiselawnews.com/admin/trackback/249383
Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jo - May 24, 2011 12:13 PM

Great job Mr Jim,congratulations !!

Kimmie - May 26, 2011 2:07 PM

"The award demonstrates the consequences of a cruise line unlawfully abandoning an ill crewmember and spitefully terminating her medical benefits"... Kind of like when they abandoned Amy Lynn Bradley?

Sandra - June 9, 2011 1:42 PM

Well done :)this article really cheer me up...I worked for this company 5 years and they treated us like slaves...u have to work even 18 hours with flu or injured. They just don't care...to quit this company was best decision I've ever made. To harm my health for 500$\month....no thanks!!

RCCL is one of the worst companies I've ever worked...

FCA - March 23, 2012 8:55 AM

GREAT JOB AND CONGRATULATIONS....... ROYAL CARIBBEAN IS THE WORST COMPANY I EVER WORK FOR THEY TREAT CREW LIKE S#$!*&^% THE STATEROOMS ATTENDANT HAVE TO WORK LIKE CRAZY MORNING AND EVENING FOR 7 MONTHS WITH NO DAYS OFF ,AND IF YOU GET A BAD RATING FOR THE GUESS THEY TAKE YOU FROM YOUR SECTION OF WORK FOR TWO WEEKS, AND YOU WILL NOT GET SALARY(TIPS)THE ROOM ATTENDANTS DEPEND OF TIPS ONLY NOT THE COMPANY SALARY $50 US DOLLARS A MONTH...THIS PEOPLE ARE HUMANS NOT MACHINES,HOUSEKEEPING DEPARTMENT IS THE MOST SLAVERING JOB IN ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Brian Bamber - March 25, 2012 2:34 PM

Well done Jim when my son returns tomorrow safe I will gather his evidence he was injured on the Allure of the Seas this week and has been detained in some office for six hours and is due to be taken to the airport 2 hours before his flight.
He has been detained and treated like a criminal
May Royal Caribbean ships grow square and fester at the ends

Post A Comment / Question Use this form to add a comment to this entry.







Remember personal info?
Send To A Friend Use this form to send this entry to a friend via email.