Earlier this week, a federal district judge in California dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of two cruise passengers against Carnival arising out of the January 2012 Costa Concordia disaster, ruling that the case must be pursued in Italy where Costa Crociere is located.
The name of the lawsuit is Patricia Sandoval et al. v. Carnival Corporation et al., Case No. 2:12 CV 05517, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Judge Fernando M. Olguin applied the doctrine of forum non conveniens, where the courts determine the appropriate location of lawsuits.
The Court concluded that the majority of the physical evidence and witnesses are located in Italy and the passengers can obtain an appropriate remedy in Italy. The decision is not surprising at all.
The Costa cruise line is based in Italy where the company is incorporated. Its principal place of business is in Genoa, Italy. It registers its ships like the Concordia in Italy. Much of the crew is Italian, including the captain, and cruise the ship departed from an Italian port and sank in Italian waters. The Italian Coast Guard responded to the disaster and of course there is an Italian criminal trial which has been ongoing for year. The passenger ticket specifies Italy as the location where litigation must be pursued.
Our firm advised Concordia passengers long ago not to waste time and money filing suit in the U.S. because their cases would likely be dismissed.
We advised our clients to proceed directly to Italy and retain Italian lawyers to pursue compensation. Here is one of such articles, published back in January 2010: Are Lawyers Taking Costa Cruise Survivors Into Dangerous Legal Waters?
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Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Jean-Philippe Boulet Creative Commons 3.0