A federal judge denied Carnival Cruise Lines’ motion to punish a teenager who admitted that she lied when claiming that the cruise ship’s security personnel forced her to remove her tampon in a search for marijuana.
Courthouse News Service reports that one of Carnival’s security officers noticed that a 17-year-old passenger on Sensation cruise ship dropped a container of what he believed to be marijuana in an elevator.
The chief security officer subsequently ordered a search of the girl’s cabin. This is when the girl claimed that a female security officer strip-searched her and made her remove her underwear and tampon. The search apparently took place without the girl’s mother present.
The minor and her mother were removed from the cruise ship. The girl spent the night and most of the next day in jail in the Bahamas until the U.S. Embassy intervened and the girl was released.
A lawsuit followed and the case headed to trial. But during trial, the girl testified that although she felt like she "had to" take off her underwear and remove her tampon, she admitted that she voluntarily did so that the search "would be over with."
After a jury found for Carnival, the cruise line sought to punish the girl by forcing her to pay all of the the cruise line’s attorney fees. The federal court refused to impose the sanctions sought by Carnival, citing her young age and her efforts to set the record straight. The judge also found that the girl was under the influence of her mother who encouraged her to pursue the legal claim in the first place.
The court also took into consideration that the young woman, now 19, is unemployed and is a student on financial aid at a small college. The court already taxed costs of $4,364.06 against her out of the $9,305.14 sought by Carnival. The court concluded that fining her additional money for the cruise giant’s attorney fees would be meaningless.
You can read the order here.
Photo Credit: Wknight94 via Wikipedia