Jane Doe v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A - Maritime Lawyer

September 06, 2013

Jane Doe v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd.

Complaint

Injuries can happen in many different ways aboard cruise ships. Sometimes, even a well intentioned but misguided act by a crewmember can result in a passenger being hurt. In this case, a disabled passenger was attempting to disembark a cruise ship when a crewmember tried to help with her wheelchair. When he was trying to help, the crewmember lost control of the wheelchair, causing the wheelchair to fall off the edge of the gangway and the Plaintiff to fall to the ground below.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
MIAMI DIVISION
CASE NO.
JANE DOE,
Plaintiff,

v.

NCL (BAHAMAS) LTD.,
A Bermuda Company
Defendant.
__________________________/

COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff sues Defendant and alleges:

PRELIMINARY ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff is a citizen of the state of Maine.

Defendant NCL (BAHAMAS) LTD., A Bermuda Company (hereinafter “NCL”) is a corporation incorporated under the laws of Bermuda having its principal place of business in Miami, Florida.

The matter in controversy exceeds, exclusive of interest and costs, the sum specified by 28 U.S.C. 1332.

In the event this matter does not come under diversity jurisdiction of the court, then this matter is being brought under the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the court.

5.Defendant, at all times material hereto, personally or through an agent;
a. Operated, conducted, engaged in or carried on a business venture in this state and/or county or had an office and/or agency in this state and/or county;
b. Was engaged in substantial activity within this state; and/or
c. Operated vessels in the waters of this state; and/or
d. Committed one or more of the acts stated in Florida Statutes, §§ 48.081, 48.181 or 48.193; and/or
e. The acts of Defendant set out in this Complaint occurred in whole or in part in this county and/or state.
f. The Defendant was engaged in the business of providing to the public, and to the Plaintiff in particular, for compensation, vacation cruises aboard their vessel.

Defendant NCL is subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts of this state.

The causes of action asserted in this Complaint arise under the General Maritime Law of the United States.

At all times material hereto, Defendant NCL owned, operated, managed, maintained and/or controlled the vessel Jade.

On or about December 7, 2012, Plaintiff was a paying passenger on Defendant’s vessel, which was in navigable waters.

COUNT I – NEGLIGENCE

Plaintiff realleges, adopts and incorporates by reference the allegations in paragraphs one through nine as though alleged originally herein, Plaintiff further alleges:

It was the duty of Defendant to provide Plaintiff with reasonable care under the circumstances.

On or about December 7, 2012, Defendant and/or its agents, servants, and/or employees breached its duty to provide Plaintiff with reasonable care under the circumstances.

On or about the previously mentioned date, Plaintiff was injured while aboard the vessel as follows: Plaintiff is disabled and confined to a wheelchair. As Plaintiff’s husband was wheeling Plaintiff’s wheelchair down a gangway from the ship to visit a port-of-call, an NCL crewmember grabbed the wheelchair. The NCL crewmember then slipped and/or lost his balance while holding the wheelchair, causing the wheelchair and Plaintiff to fall over the side of the gangway and down several fleet to the pavement below, causing Plaintiff severe injuries.

13. Plaintiff’s injury was due to the fault and/or negligence of Defendant, and/or its agents, servants and/or employees as follows:
a. Failure to use a reasonably safe gangway, and/or;
b. Failure to promulgate and/or enforce adequate policies and procedures for use of gangways, and/or;
c. Failure to have a non-slip or non-skid surface on the subject gangway, and/or;
d. Failure to have an adequate flooring surface for the subject gangway, and/or;
e. Failure to warn Plaintiff of the dangers presented by the gangway, and/or;
f. Failure to adequately train crewmembers in the assistance of passengers using the gangway, and/or;
g. Failure to respect the wishes of the Plaintiff, who specifically asked NCL’s crewmember not to touch her wheelchair, and/or;
h. Failure to promulgate and/or enforce adequate policies and/or procedures regarding the disembarkation of passengers, and/or;
i. Failure to promulgate and/or enforce adequate policies and/or procedures regarding the assistance of disabled passengers, and/or;
j. Failure to adequately train crewmembers regarding how and when to assist disabled passengers during disembarkation, and/or;
k. Failure to adequately and/or reasonably assist Plaintiff during disembarkation, and/or;
l. Failure to comply with safety codes and standards designed and promulgated to reduce the risk of the type of accident the Plaintiff suffered, from happening, and/or;
m. Failure to have adequate risk management procedures in place designed to reduce the occurrence of the type of accident suffered by the Plaintiff , and/or;
n. Failure to implement available safety and ergonomic standards designed to reduce and/or prevent the type of accident the Plaintiff suffered from happening, all of which resulted in the Plaintiff being injured, and/or;
o. Knowing from previous similar incidents of the likelihood of such an accident, yet failing to take steps to correct the conditions causing the accident.

At all times material hereto, Defendant had exclusive custody and control of the above named vessel.

At all times material hereto, Defendant negligently failed investigate and/or determine the hazards on the vessel to Plaintiff, failed to eliminate the hazards, failed to modify and/or minimize the hazard and failed to properly warn Plaintiff of the hazard. In addition, Defendant violated the International Safety Management Code and failed to have a proper, adequate and safe Safety Management System Manual. All the above caused the Plaintiff to be injured.

The Defendant knew of the foregoing conditions causing Plaintiff’s accident and did not correct them, or the conditions existed for a sufficient length of time so that Defendant in the exercise of reasonable care under the circumstances should have learned of them and corrected them.

As a result of the negligence of Defendant, the Plaintiff was injured about her body and extremities, suffered severe physical pain, mental and emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, physical disability, impairment, inconvenience in the normal pursuits of life, disfigurement and other mental and/or nervous disorders. Suffered aggravation of any previously existing conditions therefrom, incurred medical expenses in the care and treatment of her injuries and suffered physical handicap. The injuries and damages are permanent or continuing in nature and Plaintiff will suffer the losses and impairments in the future. In addition, Plaintiff lost the benefit of her vacation cruise for which she incurred expenses, including, but not limited to the cost of the cruise ticket for herself and others as well as transportation costs.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment for all damages recoverable under the law against the Defendant and demands trial by jury.

LIPCON, MARGULIES,
ALSINA & WINKLEMAN, P.A.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
One Biscayne Tower, Suite 1776
Miami, Florida 33131
Telephone: (305) 373-3016
Facsimile: (305) 373-6204

By: /s/Eric C. Morales
ERIC CHARLES MORALES
FLORIDA BAR #91875

Dated: September 6, 2013