The Greenwich Time newspaper reports that a trial scheduled for tomorrow in the disappearance of George Smith IV has been postponed.
The case arises out of the highly publicized disappearance of George Smith who was sailing on Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship, the Brilliance of the Seas, in July 2005.
A year later, the Smith family filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean which was dismissed at the trial court level, then re-filed and dismissed again. An appellate court in Miami affirmed the dismissal.
Mr. Smith’s widow, Jennifer Hagel, elected not to file suit and reached a proposed settlement with the cruise in the amount of $1,085,000. In addition to the settlement funds, the cruise line agreed to permit Ms. Hagel and George Smith’s family to review Royal Caribbean’s internal investigation materials which would otherwise be privileged and immune from discovery.
The Smith family objected to the settlement and tried to remove Ms. Hagel as the administrator of her husband’s estate.
After two years of litigation, in 2008 a probate court denied the Smith’s family’s motion to remove Ms. Hagel. The Court approved the settlement, finding that it was reasonable and in the best interests of all concerned.
The Smith family appealed the probate court’s order. Appeals of probate cases in Connecticut result in new trials, rather than a decision by an appellate court. The Smith family has been litigating against Ms. Hagel for the last two years and is continuing to try and remove her as the administrator of the estate.
The trial scheduled for tomorrow has now been continued until October.
Our firm represented Ms. Hagel in her case against the cruise line.