Today, Miami lawyers filed suit on behalf of a cruise passenger who sailed aboard the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas on Sunday, February 7th. The Lipcon law firm, based here in Miami, has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Royal Caribbean in Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Anyone who has read this blog in the last two weeks knows how I feel about the cruise in question. There is little doubt that the cruise line acted recklessly by ignoring weather forecasts of hurricane strength winds and 30 foot waves of this Altantic winter storm. The winds strengthened, as to be expected in a storm like this, to well over 100 MPH. Many passengers experienced terrifying experiences where some passengers were fearful of losing their lives and those of their loved ones on the cruise ship.
The Anthem of the Seas returned to New Jersey with severe damage to its propulsion system, among other damage.
The captain of the Anthem of the Seas said during a talk to the passengers after the storm that he expected waves of only 12 to 15 foot waves. But weather forecasts indicate that much higher waves, to over 30 feet, were expected. This means that the cruise line did not provide accurate weather reports to the captain or he ignored them. Navigation officers are required to up load "passage plans" pursuant to the the International Safety Management (ISM) codes before they sail. This information will quickly reveal exactly what weather conditions the captain anticipated during the ill-fated cruise in question.
ABC reports that any passenger who was on the ship can be represented in the lawsuit, which covers both passengers who suffered physical injuries and those passengers who are alleging only severe emotional, psychological and emotional stress.
At least one other lawsuit was filed last week by a lawyer in Houston, Texas.
Our firm will be representing passengers who sustained physical injuries during the storm.
Cruise lines ordinarily have a duty of only "reasonable care" under the circumstances. But in instances of rough weather, cruise lines have a much higher duty of care toward the passengers. Some characterize this duty as the "highest duty of care" of the passengers when the ship is expected to encounter rough weather.
Can it seriously be argued that Royal Caribbean exercised "high care" when it sailed 4,500 passengers, including the elderly and children, into a winter storm forecast to bash the ship with hurricane strength winds and waves over 30 feet?