IN CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTION, DISTRICT COURT GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF CRUISE LINE ON CLAIM OF APPARENT AGENCY BASED ON FINDING THAT THE LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN THE CRUISE TICKET CONTRACT NULLIFIED ANY REASONABLE BELIEF THAT THE PLAINTIFF COULD HAVE REGARDING THE SHIP BOARD DOCTOR’S AGENCY STATUS.

Elise R. LOBEGEIGER, Plaintiff, v. CELEBRITY CRUISES, INC., et al., Defendants.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida. No. 11–21620–CIV–ALTONAGA/Simonton

April 13, 2012.

PROCEDURAL POSTURE:

Passenger brought action against cruise line and others, alleging, inter alia, negligence by apparent agency, and fraudulent misrepresentation arising out of injuries passenger allegedly sustained aboard cruise ship. Cruise line moved for partial summary judgment.

OVERVIEW:

The matter arises from injuries Plaintiff sustained as a passenger aboard the Celebrity Mercury.  Plaintiff booked a cruise with Celebrity by entering into a ticket contract which contains numerous limitations.  On boarding the Mercury, Plaintiff signed a check in form that stated that she read and accepted all of the conditions stated on the cruise ticket contract.  Celebrity moved for summary judgment on the Apparent Agency claim and argued that the Ticket Contract between Plaintiff and Celebrity precluded a reasonable belief that the shipboard doctor was Celebrity’s agent.  It was undisputed that the Ticket Contract and Medical Form clearly describe the shipboard doctor as an independent contractor, not under Celebrity’s control.  The Court finds there is no genuine issue of fact as to whether Plaintiff could have had a reasonable belief in the shipboard doctor’s apparent agency, given her undisputed knowledge of the Ticket Contract.  The Court therefore grants summary judgment for Celebrity on this count.

OUTCOME:

District Court granted summary judgment in favor of cruise line, finding the cruise line was not liable in negligence under theory of apparent agency.