Florida Court Dismisses Slip-and-Fall Case Against Cruise Line: Torres v. Carnival Corp.

The Southern District of Florida has dismissed a slip-and-fall case against a cruise ship operator. In Torres v. Carnival Corp., a passenger on a cruise ship filed a negligence and failure to warn lawsuit against the company that owns the vessel on which she traveled, seeking damages for the injuries she allegedly sustained in a slip-and-fall accident on an exterior deck. According to the woman, she tripped over a raised threshold that was obscured by a rug while walking through an opening during disembarkation.

In response to the woman’s lawsuit, the cruise ship company filed a motion for summary judgment. When a party to a lawsuit files such a motion, the party is asking the court to find that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. When considering a motion for summary judgment, a court must view all of the evidence offered by each party in the light that is most favorable to the non-moving party. When a summary judgment motion is granted, a court is essentially stating a jury trial is not required based on the facts of the dispute.

To prove negligence, an injured person is required to demonstrate that an at-fault party owed him or her a duty, violated that duty, and directly caused his or her harm because of that violation. According to the Southern District of Florida, the woman failed to carry her burden of proving negligence because she did not demonstrate the carpet lying on the threshold was unreasonably dangerous. In fact, testimony offered to the court suggested exactly the opposite was true. In addition, the court stated that even if a dangerous condition existed, the cruise ship did not fail to warn the woman because Florida does not require any warning for an obvious hazard like a rug.

Next, the court dismissed the woman’s claim that the cruise ship breached its duty to assist her in disembarking because there was no evidence offered to suggest the defendant failed to assist her or anyone else while leaving the vessel. In addition, the federal court said an owner is not automatically liable for damages just because someone falls on his or her property. Finally, the Southern District of Florida granted the cruise ship’s motion for summary judgment because it found that “no rational fact-finder could” determine the cruise ship operator committed negligence.

If you were injured on a cruise ship, you may be entitled to collect damages for your harm. The hardworking Miami personal injury lawyers at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. may be able to help. To discuss your personal injury case with a knowledgeable cruise ship injury attorney, do not hesitate to contact Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. through our website or give us a call today at (305) 448-8585.

Additional Resources:

Torres v. Carnival Corp., Dist. Court, SD Florida 2014

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