Articles Tagged with Miami cruise ship accident attorneys

Last week, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard made the decision to call off the search for a man who fell overboard while sailing on a Carnival Cruise ship. Security cameras on board the ship recorded 24-year-old Kevin Wellons falling from the 11th deck of the ship while the vessel was sailing near Abaco, Bahamas. The cameras did not record how or why the Warner Robins, Georgia man fell from the Carnival Elation, and only caught his descent into the water.

Wellons fell overboard at about 2:45 a.m. on the morning of February 13, 2017. Wellons’ wife reported him missing to the ship’s authorities after she awoke around 8 a.m. By 11 a.m., the ship had deployed rescue boats, helicopters, and had notified the Coast Guard, but had no luck locating Wellons. The search was called off a week after the accident with Wellons presumed dead.

The Coast Guard states that they do not suspect foul play involved in Wellons’ death, and his presumed drowning was likely an accident. Further investigation will show if the cruise line was negligent in failing to prevent Wellons’ death. If you or a loved one was injured or suffered an accident while on a cruise ship, the Florida cruise ship accident lawyers at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., can help.

Earlier last week our Cruise Ship Lawyers sought and received a court order under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37 (b) in the  form of issue based sanctions against Defendant Carnival Cruise Lines in a lawsuit brought by Mrs. Esperanza Viletta in the case of Viletta v. Carnival Cruise Lines, Case No. 11-20930. The sanctions were ordered by United States Magistrate Judge John O’Sullivan and were upheld by United States District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga in a six (6) page written order. Click this link to read the Order. The sanctions were issued based on a myriad of discovery violations including express denials by Defendant Carnival concerning the failure to disclose and otherwise hide the existence of certain documents, reports, and based on record testimony by Carnival’s Corporate Representative in deposition. In her order, Judge Altonaga held that the sanctions entered were warranted and over Carnivals objections, were not contrary to the law despite their severity and should “deter” Carnival and p0tentially others from similar conduct in the future.

In the October 30, 2014 order, the court determined the appropriate sanctions were a determination that as a matter of law that 1.)Notice of a dangerous condition and the existence of a dangerous condition was established prior to trial and 2.) Defendant’s affirmative defense as to lack of notice was stricken.  Junior Partner, Nicholas I. Gerson, of the Miami personal injury law offices of Gerson & Schwartz, PA served as lead counsel and argued the matter in the United States District  Court for the Southern District of Florida. At an October 28, 2014 hearing, Gerson argued that the type of sanctions were necessary in order to cure the prejudice against his client and that absent such relief would only benefit Carnival and would ultimately reward Carnival for hiding important evidence. The Court agreed.

At issue was Carnival’s express denial that it had not made any changes to the yellow tile floor surfaces in the Lido market place restaurant on the Carnival Breeze. Despite their denials,  Carnival had in fact applied a slip resistant coating to the market place floor surfaces on the vessel and had even conducted tests to check the floors for slip resistance before the application. The existence of reports and Carnivals’ findings of  test results were also repeatedly denied by Carnival throughout the lawsuit. Yet as it turned out the floor surfaces were changed and documented proof of the testing performed confirmed the floors fell  below the standard of care for slip resistance and were dangerous as alleged by the Plaintiff. The reference to reports were buried in several emails that were produced and after numerous hearings where Carnival took the position that no documents existed. The reports were eventually ordered to be produced by the Court and when they were disclosed the reports showed Carnival was aware about the dangers of the floor surfaces prior to Ms. Viletta’s incident and were even specific to the area where Ms. Viletta had fallen. The Miami personal injury lawyers  of Gerson & Schwartz represent  injury victims on land and sea. If you or a loved one are in need of  aggressive legal representation contact the Miami Florida personal injury attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA at 1-877-475-2905 , or visit www.injuryattorneyfla.com. All cases are handled on a contingent fee.

 

Over the weekend Royal Caribbean’s was struck another blow when two of its ships, the Adventure of the Seas and the Navigator of the Seas, had problems returning to port. The Adventure of the Seas lost propulsion Saturday night after the cruise ship leaked oil and barely made it to San Juan on Sunday. Navigator of the Seas was unable to make port on time due to an oil spill caused by a collision between a ship and a barge. Although the ships were delayed for different reasons, the handling of the incidents by Royal Caribbean is causing the company huge headaches.

Cruise ship

It would appear that neither passengers arriving to board the Adventure of the Seas in San Juan, nor those entering Houston to embark on the Navigator of the Seas were advised of the ship’s delays. One of the most common complaints about cruise industry is the cruise lines are woefully unprepared to deal with emergency situations onboard their ships. Further, when problems arise, passengers are kept in the dark as to the nature, extent, and possible duration of any complications. It would appear that Royal Caribbean remains among the ranks of those cruise lines that has failed to develop sufficient procedures to effectively communicate with its customers, both onboard and on ground.

Royal Caribbean’s recent woes are yet another in a seemingly never-ending string of cruise mishaps, made worse by cruise liners continued policy of denial and concealment of such issues. As our cruise ship accident attorneys recently discussed on this blog, although some cruise liners are now volunteering statistics regarding the safety of their vessels, those companies are unscrupulously artificially deflating crime numbers and diluting crime statistics through several underhanded tactics.

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