May 22, 2015

Florida Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Cruise Line, Finding that Plaintiff Failed to Establish Negligence

cruise shipIn Poole v. Carnival Corporation, No. 14-20237, a cruise ship passenger filed a lawsuit against Carnival Corporation, alleging that she suffered injuries when she walked into a glass door. Following the cruise, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida, and the defendant cruise line filed a motion for summary judgment. Finding that the plaintiff failed to successfully establish that the cruise line breached its duty, the court granted the defendant's motion and dismissed the case.

According to the court's order granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff was attending a comedy show with her husband and decided to return to their cabin to check on their son. To get to the cabin where their son was located, the plaintiff walked through a nightclub located on the cruise ship. The plaintiff claims that she used the same route on her return trip back to the comedy show, but "she did not remember if the glass door she walked into had a handle, a sticker strip, or a frame." The plaintiff admitted, however, that the area around the door was lit and that she recalled seeing a man with his arms crossed standing near the doorway.

A representative for the cruise line testified that the glass door featured a sticker strip placed horizontally across door at approximately waist level height. The representative also testified that the door had a left-side handle, a sign that said push, and a metal door frame.

To recover compensation in a personal injury action, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care and that the defendant failed to act according to that duty. Applied here, the court determined that although the defendant admitted to owing the plaintiff a duty, the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant breached that duty. For example, none of the evidence provided by the plaintiff showed that the defendant created a dangerous condition. The court found the glass door to be an obvious condition, and it concluded that the cruise ship had no duty to warn the plaintiff about the door.

Next, the court concluded that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the cruise ship's conduct caused the plaintiff's injuries, primarily due to the plaintiff's failure to provide expert witness testimony according to the time schedule provided by the court. Since the plaintiff was unable to satisfy the elements of a negligence claim, the court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissed her lawsuit.

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries as the result of a premises owner's negligent conduct, including dangerous conditions, slippery surfaces, and unsafe staircases, you may be entitled to compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano have several years of experience representing injury victims in premises liability cases throughout Southwest Florida, including Cape Coral, Naples, and Fort Myers. We offer a free consultation, so there's no harm in meeting with us to learn more about your potential legal rights. Call us now at 800-283-7442 or contact us online to set up your appointment.

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