Southern District of Florida Rules Cruise Ship Passenger Failed to Establish Negligence Following Injury Accident

In Poole v. Carnival Corp., a woman was allegedly injured while traveling aboard a cruise ship. According to the woman, she suffered serious harm when she walked into a glass door. Although the woman claimed she did not know if the door she walked into had a frame on it, a handle installed, or a sticker strip to increase visibility, the woman admitted that the area where she was hurt was well lit. A representative for the ship’s owner offered testimony that the glass door at issue had a metal handle and door frame installed. In addition, the representative claimed the door also included a sign that read “push” and a sticker strip across the width of the door installed at waist level. The cruise ship security officer who investigated the woman’s injury accident also stated there was a sticker strip installed in the middle of the door at the time of the incident.

After returning home from her cruise vacation, the hurt woman filed a negligence lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida against the owner of the ship on which she was hurt. In response, the cruise company filed a motion for summary judgment. According to the ship’s owner, summary judgment was warranted because the woman failed to successfully establish her negligence claim.

The federal court first stated a motion for summary judgment may be granted when there is no genuine issue of material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In addition, any inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. The court also said a genuine issue of fact is one that is supported by the record.

In order to establish negligence, a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty and breached that duty, and the defendant’s breach directly resulted in harm to the plaintiff and caused actual damages. Since the cruise ship company admitted it owed the woman a duty, the Florida court next examined whether the woman successfully established that a breach of that duty occurred. According to the court, the woman failed to establish that the ship’s owner breached its duty of care to her. The federal court stated the woman did not successfully demonstrate that the cruise company created the allegedly dangerous condition that caused her harm. In addition, the court said the business had no duty to warn the woman about an obvious condition that she should have noticed.

After that, the Southern District of Florida found the woman did not successfully show that the owner of the cruise ship proximately caused her injuries because the woman did not furnish timely expert witness testimony as directed by the court. The court also held that the woman failed to offer evidence to establish that the cruise company caused her damages. Since the injured woman did not provide sufficient evidence to support her negligence claim, the Southern District of Florida granted the cruise ship owner’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit.

If you were injured while traveling aboard a cruise ship, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover damages related to your harm. To schedule a free consultation with a seasoned cruise ship accident lawyer, give the experienced personal injury advocates at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. a call today at (305) 448-8585 or contact us online.

Additional Resources:

Poole v. Carnival Corp., Dist. Court, SD Florida 2015

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