Florida Judge Dismisses Costa Cruise Accident Lawsuit Saying Case Must be Filed in Italy

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

A Florida judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Italian businesses against the Miami-based cruise line company Carnival Corp. over the Costa Concordia tragic cruise ship accident. U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum sided with Carnival, saying that the lawsuit should be filed in Italy, not the U.S.

As many as 1,000 businesses in Giglio, the island where the cruise accident happened, have sought to sue Carnival in United States courts because it is Costa’s parent company. The Concordia capsized on Jan. 13 after hitting a rock, which caused damage to the hull of the ship. A total of 32 people were killed and many others seriously injured both physically and mentally. Authorities are still investigating the accident and are blaming both the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, and several crewmembers for actions that contributed to the accident itself and the injuries and losses thereafter.

Captain Schettino has been blamed for abandoning ship before passengers and crew were safely evacuated and was also accused of manslaughter. Many crewmembers were also alleged to have been disoriented during the evacuation and unfamiliar with emergency procedures in general. A hearing to discuss whether eight negligent crewmembers played a role in the Concordia tragedy has been scheduled for October in Italy. The ship’s owner, Costa Crociere, is also under investigation for allegedly waiting an unacceptable and unreasonable period of time to notify authorities about the accident.

There are also several lawsuits regarding the Costa Concordia capsizing accident in the U.S. that have been filed on behalf of the passengers that were onboard the ship. Carnival is trying to get their cases moved to Italy and motions have also been filed to have the passenger cases consolidated so they can be tried by a single judge, which could save the “Fun Ship” a lot more money if found liable for negligence.

This wouldn’t be the first time a major cruise line corporation has tried to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Cruise lines will bring attention to the fine print on cruise tickets or, in this case, try to divert the cases to another country so as not to deal with the repercussions, but our maritime lawyers know better. Concordia passengers have a right to file an injury lawsuit against Costa Crociere, seeing as how several crew (and the captain) have been blamed for the incident. Our attorneys have the years of experience it takes to ensure successful recovery against Costa, and know exactly how to handle ticket contract stipulations. Not only are there admiralty and maritime aspects to this case dealing with jurisdiction and venue, there are also issues of limitation of damages under the Athens convention and possible limitation of liability. Most laws have never handled these types of situations but in the case of a mass tort, will endeavor to get involved even though they may not have the depth of experience that might be necessary to make a successful recovery.

Filing a Concordia lawsuit in the U.S. wastes valuable time – and resources – for victims and their loved ones. Our admiralty lawyers know not to file a suit in the U.S. to begin with, since the Concordia flew the Italian flag, was owned by an Italian company, the accident took place in Italian waters, and the cruise ticket specifies that a suit should be filed in Genoa, Italy. While there are exceptions that may allow a lawsuit to be brought in Florida, instead of Italy, in this particular situation, our attorneys would not have wasted time and filed the suit abroad.

Our firm has successfully handled cases against owner Costa Crociere in both Genoa, Italy and in the U.S. and our admiralty lawyers will work diligently to protect your rights. Call our cruise accident lawyers today to discuss your options in filing a case against Costa Cruises.