Appellate Court Denies Appeal in Florida Cruise Ship Case

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion in an appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida involving a negligence claim by a plaintiff against a cruise ship operator following an injury on the ship. According to the record, the plaintiff states that the district court erred in finding that his amended complaint failed to allege sufficient facts in support of his negligence claim that the cruise ship operator was on notice for the alleged hazard that result in his injury. In response, the cruise ship operator filed a motion to dismiss, stating that the plaintiff failed to raise a plausible negligence claim due to inadequate evidence. The district court granted the motion to dismiss, holding that the plaintiff failed to satisfy the pleading standard in question. The appellate court upheld the district court decision, denying the plaintiff’s claims.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a passenger on one of the defendant’s cruise ships, descending from Deck 5 to Deck 4 when he slipped on a wet or slippery transient foreign substance. The plaintiff claims that due to the fall, he suffered serious injuries, including a complete rupture of the right knee patella tendon. The injuries required surgical repair and physical therapy. The plaintiff alleges that the staircase in question is one of the most highly trafficked regions of the cruise ship and that it is flanked on both sides by shops staffed by dozens of crew members. Additionally, the plaintiff claims that several hundred guests and crew members traverse the staircase on a daily basis, many carrying drinks, resulting in frequent spills. As a result, the plaintiff claims that the cruise ship operating company had constructive notice of the dangerous conditions, and knew or should have known about the spills.

In an amended complaint, the plaintiff makes two claims against the defendant, (1) vicarious liability for negligent maintenance; and (2) vicarious liability for negligent failure to warn of a hazard. Regarding the negligent maintenance claim, the plaintiff alleges that there was actual or constructive knowledge of the hazardous conditions and that crew members failed to maintain the stairs in a reasonably safe condition. On the second claim, the plaintiff asserts that the cruise ship operator had actual or constructive knowledge of the conditions and that crew members failed to warn him of the danger before he fell and became injured.

The appellate decision holds that the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient facts to support his claims. Specifically, the court found that the plaintiff failed to identify specific crew members, occurrences of individuals spilling drinks in that specific location, similar incidents involving slips and falls, and evidence of how long the liquid was present when he slipped on it himself. As a result, the appellate court upholds the district court decision, denying the plaintiff’s appeal.

Have You Suffered Injuries on a Florida Cruise?

If you or someone you love has been injured or died on a Florida cruise incident, let the attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada fight to help you recover the damages you deserve. Expenses and injuries sustained in an accident can quickly become overwhelming, and having an experienced roster of accident attorneys by your side can make a world of difference in the compensation you receive. Our experienced attorneys have successfully represented injury victims at every stage of their claims, ensuring that they obtain the damages that they deserve. With our team, you can have faith that your claim is being pursued properly. If you have questions about your case, call us today at 877-448-8585 and schedule a free and no-obligation initial consultation with a Miami injury lawyer at our office.

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