Leagle just published a decision from New Jersey which illustrates what can happen when a cruise passenger does not read the fine print in the ticket issued by the cruise line.
Costa cruise passenger Audrey Winograd sailed on the Costa Magica from Florida to the Dominican Republic. While ashore in the shopping district of La Romana, several men with knives stole her passport, drivers license, credit cards, and other personal effects.
Nearly two years after the robbery, Ms. Winograd filed suit in New Jersey seeking damages for physical and emotional injuries.
The trial court dismissed the case because there is a one year limitations period in the cruise ticket issued by Costa.
On appeal, the appellate court affirmed and held that even if the case was not subject to the one-year limitations, the passenger would still be required under to bring her claim in Broward County, Florida. "Such a forum selection clause in a cruise ticket contract is clearly valid. Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585, 593-96, 111 S. Ct. 1522, l527-28, 113 L. Ed. 2d 622, 631-33 (1991)."
So it turns out that cruise passenger Ms. Winograd lost twice – first by being robbed in a Caribbean port and, secondly, by filing suit a year late and in the wrong courthouse.
We have written about these issues in prior blogs:
Limitations Period: Cruise Ship Statute of Limitations? – One Year for Adults! Three Years for Minors.
Forum Clause: Cruise Ship Accident and Injury Law – Miami Florida – Forum Selection Clauses
Crime in the Caribbean: Crime in Caribbean Ports of Call Against Cruise Passengers
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Costa Magica commons.wikimedia.org (Daniel78)