John Doe. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., et al

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

November 11, 2013

John Doe. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., et al

Motion to Compel Better Answers to Plaintiff’s Initial Interrogatories

Our experienced cruise ship lawyers fight for our clients at every stage of their case. In this filing, our maritime attorneys ask the Court to force Royal Caribbean to provide better answers to written interrogatories propounded by the Plaintiff as part of the discovery process. By ensuring that all relevant evidence comes to light during the discovery process, our experienced admiralty lawyers ensure that each of our client’s cases are prepared for trial.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO.:13-cv-20984- MARTINEZ/MCALILEY
JOHN DOE,
Plaintiff,

v.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD,
ALBERTO BERRIO (Ship’s Doctor),
DANIELA CROITORU, (Ship’s Nurse),
CHRISTIAAN HERBST, (Ship’s Nurse),
DOCTOR DOE, (Ship’s Doctor),
NURSE DOE, (Ship’s Nurse),
Defendant.
___________________________/

PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL BETTER ANSWERS TO PLAINTIFF’S INITIAL INTERROGATORIES FROM DEFENDANT  ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD

Plaintiff, JOHN DOE, by and through his undersigned counsel, and pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of the Southern District of Florida, hereby files this Motion to Compel Better Responses to Plaintiff’s Initial Interrogatories from Defendant Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (“Royal Caribbean”), and for good cause relies on the following:

Introduction

On July 29th, 2013, the Plaintiff propounded Interrogatories to Royal Caribbean. After several extensions of time to respond, Royal Caribbean served its responses to Plaintiff’s Interrogatories on October 11, 2013. Royal Caribbean made numerous objections in its responses. The parties held a 7.1 conference and were able to narrow the issues for the consideration of the Court to the following requests:

Interrogatories to Royal Caribbean

# 15, 16, 17, and 18: Interrogatory and response attached hereto as Exhibit 1.

Argument: Plaintiff’s interrogatory number fifteen asks how many passengers have been evacuated from Royal Caribbean ships by helicopter or boat during the 5 year period preceding the date of the incident alleged in the complaint. The request then asks the Defendant to identify the condition the evacuee was suffering from, who made the decision to evacuate, the name and location of the ship at the time of the accident, and the means of evacuation. Interrogatory number sixteen then asks the Defendant to provide the weather conditions and sea state at the time. Interrogatories number seventeen and eighteen ask the same questions above, but with regard to diversions to unscheduled ports of call, or with regard to speeding the ship up to arrive early in a scheduled port of call. In response to these interrogatories, Royal Caribbean provided boilerplate objections stating that Plaintiff’s interrogatories are overbroad, unduly burdensome and not sufficiently limited in time or scope. Defendant also objects and states that Plaintiff’s Interrogatories are not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Defendant’s objections should be overruled as insufficient pursuant to numerous rulings out of the Southern District of Florida which generally hold that “[o]bjections that state that a discovery request is vague, overly broad, or unduly burdensome are, standing alone, meaningless and do not comply with both the Local Rules and Rule 34’s requirement that objections contain a statement of reasons. A party objecting on these grounds must explain the specific and particular way in which a request is vague, overly broad, or unduly burdensome. In addition, claims of undue burden should be supported by a statement (generally an affidavit) with specific information demonstrating how the request is overly burdensome.” Sallah v. Worldwide Clearing LLC, 855 F. Supp. 2d 1364, 1376 (S.D. Fla. 2012) (internal citations omitted). Further, this request will lead to admissible evidence. The Defendants intend to argue that they were not negligent for failing to evacuate the Plaintiff from their vessel because 1) his condition did not merit an evacuation and/or 2) an evacuation would have been impossible. Accordingly, whether passengers have been evacuated (or the ship has diverted or sped up) for similar injuries (or less life threatening injuries) previously and the manner of that evacuation is relevant to determine whether an evacuation should have been ordered in this case.

# 19, Interrogatory and answer attached hereto as Exhibit 1.

Argument: Interrogatory number nineteen asks whether Royal Caribbean pays any penalties, fines, or fees when a vessel arrives to a planned port-of-call late, or misses a port-of-call entirely. Royal Caribbean again lodges a boilerplate objection stating that this request is irrelevant, overbroad, unduly burdensome, and not sufficiently limited in time or scope. This objection should again be overruled pursuant to the numerous cases holding that non-specific objections are insufficient. See Sallah v. Worldwide Clearing LLC, 855 F. Supp. 2d 1364, 1376 (S.D. Fla. 2012).

Even if the Court looked past the insufficiency of Defendant’s objection, this information is still relevant. If Royal Caribbean faced a monetary loss if it chose to divert or slow its vessel in order to evacuate the Plaintiff, then its decision to keep Plaintiff on the Oasis of the Seas instead of diverting or slowing the vessel to allow for a medical evacuation by helicopter or speedboat could have been made in Royal Caribbean’s best interest, rather than the Plaintiff’s.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED,
LIPCON, MARGULIES, ALSINA & WINKLEMAN, P.A.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
Suite 1776, One Biscayne Tower
Miami, Florida 33131
Telephone: (305) 373-3016
Facsimile: (305) 373-6204
By: /s/ Eric Charles Morales
ERIC C. MORALES
FL BAR NO. 91875

CERTIFICATE OF CONFERENCE

Undersigned counsel hereby certifies that in accordance with local rule 7.1, he conferred with counsel for Royal Caribbean in an effort to avoid the filing of the present motion. After a lengthy discussion, the parties were able to narrow the issues to those presented above and now require the aid of the Court.