U.S. Appeals Court Rules Carnival Must Face Suit In Death of 15-Year-Old Girl

Miami-based Carnival Corporation must face a negligence lawsuit brought by the family of a 15-year-old girl who was shot and killed during an onshore excursion in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A federal court judge had dismissed the suit in August 2011, but the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta recently reinstated it.

Bloomberg reports the incident that sparked the lawsuit occurred in July 2010 when the teen’s family left the Carnival cruise ship to take a day trip to Coki Beach on the island of St. Thomas. According to the complaint, the open-air bus the family was traveling in got stuck in traffic on the way back from the beach excursion due to a gang member’s funeral that was being held in the area.

The suit alleges that “gang-related retaliatory violence” erupted and the teen was fatally shot during the melee.

The family claims that a ship employee encouraged them to visit the beach and that Carnival didn’t warn them that the area had been the scene of past violent incidents.
Carnival countered it could not have foreseen the circumstances that led to the teen’s death and that it has no duty to warn passengers of every possible danger in a port of call.

In overturning the lower court’s decision, the appeals court cited a 1959 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that stated “a ship owner owes the duty of exercising reasonable care towards those lawfully aboard the vessel who are not members of the crew.”

Carnival did not comment on the pending litigation.

A cruise ship has a duty to provide care for its passengers. If you have questions regarding your legal rights after a cruise ship incident – whether it’s onboard or onshore – calling a cruise ship accident attorney in Florida at Farah & Farah makes sense. Your call to (800) 533-3555 gives us an opportunity to answer your questions and discuss your legal options.