The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reached a rather controversial opinion last month in the case of Pizzino v. NCL (Bah.) Ltd., 2017 U.S. App. (2017), where it essentially endorsed the position that even if a cruise line employee creates a hazardous condition resulting in an accident, the plaintiff must prove actual or constructive notice in order to receive compensation for resultant injuries.
In the case, an employee of the cruise ship was engaging in his duties that required him to mop the area within a coffee bar area. He transported two buckets, one filled with a water and bleach solution, and another with clean water (presumably to cleanse the area following the bleach). On the evening of the incident, although the employee testified that he did not spill the water nor see it spilled, the plaintiff’s husband testified that the surveillance footage of the area seemed to indicate that one of the buckets tilted and collided with the employee’s knee, perhaps spilling the water. There was no evidence mentioned in the appeal that anyone else may have spilled water.
Shortly after the employee had retrieved the buckets of water, the plaintiff slipped and fell forward sustaining several injuries including broken wrists. Though she did not see any water prior to her fall, after the incident she noticed that there were four to six inch puddles of water on the floor. There was no wet floor sign present at the scene.