Teresa Doe as parent and natural Guardian of Jane Doe v. Carnival Corp

Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

October 01, 2012

Teresa Doe as parent and natural Guardian of Jane Doe v. Carnival Corp

Complaint

Our maritime and admiralty lawyers are experienced in handling cases of sexual assaults at sea. When families go on vacation, they often do not realize that crimes happen aboard cruise ships at an alarming rate. If you or someone you know is a victim of a crime at sea contact the attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. In this case, a mother is bringing suit on behalf of her daughter for a sexual assault committed by a Carnival crew member and our attorneys have filed suit in the Southern District of Florida.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
MIAMI DIVISION
CASE NO.
TERESA DOE, as parent and
natural guardian of JANE DOE, a minor,
Plaintiff,

v.

CARNIVAL CORP.,
Defendant,
___________________/

COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff sues Defendant and alleges:

I. PRELIMINARY ALLEGATIONS

1. TERESA DOE and JANE DOE are citizens of the State of Mississippi. Defendant is a Corporation organized under the laws of Panama with its principal place of business in Miami, FL.

The matter in controversy exceeds, exclusive of interest and costs, the sum specified by 28 U.S.C. §1332. In the event diversity jurisdiction does not apply, then this matter is brought under the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of this Court.

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 country or had an office or agency in this state and/or county;
b. Was engaged in substantial activity within this state;
c. Operated vessels in the waters of this state;
d. Committed one or more of the acts stated in Florida Statutes, §§ 48.081, 48.181 or 48.193;
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, as a common carrier, was engaged in the business of providing to the public and to the Plaintiff in particular, for compensation, vacation cruises aboard the vessel, Liberty.

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

JANE DOE is a Minor. Her name has been changed to protect her identity due to the sensitive nature of the facts of this case. JANE DOE is represented in this action by her mother and natural guardian, TERESA DOE.

TERESA DOE’s name has been changed to protect the identity of her daughter, JANE DOE. The identity of Plaintiff is well known to Defendant.

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

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

9. On or about November 5, 2011, JANE DOE was a paying passenger on Defendant’s vessel, which was in navigable waters.

10. On or about November 5, 2011,>JANE DOE, who was 14 years old, was sexually assaulted and/or raped by one of Defendant’s crewmembers aboard Defendant’s vessel, Liberty.

11. Instances of rapes and/or sexual assault occur aboard Defendant’s vessels at an alarming rate. Yet Defendant Carnival fails to take adequate steps or provide adequate security to prevent such rapes and/or sexual assaults, and fails to warn its passengers of the growing epidemic and rape and sexual assault at sea. Carnival’s motive for failing to warn its passengers is financial in nature; that is, Carnival willfully chooses not to warn its passengers about rapes and sexual assaults aboard its ships so as not to scare any prospective passengers away. Such willful and outrageous conduct on the part of the defendant exposes them to punitive damages. See Lobegeiger v. Celebrity Cruises, Inc., No. 11-21620, 2011 WL 3703329, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93933 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 23, 2011).

II. CAUSES OF ACTION

COUNT I – NEGLIGENCE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT/RAPE

Plaintiff realleges, adopts and incorporates by reference the allegations in paragraphs 1 through 11 as though alleged originally herein.

At all times material hereto, it was the duty of Defendant to provide JANE DOE with reasonable care under the circumstances while she was a passenger aboard the Liberty.

14. On or about the above date, JANE DOE was injured due to the fault and negligence of Defendant, and/or its agents, servants and/or employees as follows:
a. Failing to provide reasonably safe conditions for Plaintiff JANE DOE aboard Defendant’s vessel. Said safe conditions include, but are not limited to, the prevention of permitting an atmosphere to exist wherein persons could rape and/or sexually assault passengers; and/or
b. Failing to undertake reasonable investigation of the offending person’s background, criminal record and employment history prior to hiring the crewmember; and/or
c. Negligently hiring a crewmember who Defendant knew or should have known was a danger to female passengers; and/or
d. Continuing to employ and retain as a crewmember a person who Defendant knew or should have known posed a dangerous threat to the passengers, especially female passengers, including the Plaintiff; and/or
e. Failing to adequately monitor and control the conduct of their crewmembers/employees; and/or
f. Failing to adequately monitor passengers; and/or
g. Failing to protect their passengers, especially minors, from sexual assaults, physical batteries and/or rapes by Defendant’s crewmembers/employees; and/or
h. Failing to provide adequate training for their crewmembers/employees in regard to interactions with passengers; and/or
i. Failing to adequately warn passengers of the dangers presented by its crewmembers/employees; and/or
j. Failing to adequately monitor passengers, especially minor passengers, so as to keep them away from dangerous crewmembers/employees and/or dangerous situations; and/or
k. Failing to adequately monitor common areas on the ship to protect passengers; and/or
l. Failing to provide adequate supervision and/or security for minor passengers aboard its vessels; and/or
m. Failing to promulgate and/or enforce policies and/or procedures designed to prevent crewmembers from sexually assaulting and/or raping passengers aboard the ship; and/or
n. Failing to promulgate and/or enforce policies and/or procedures designed to prevent passengers from becoming sexually assaulting/raping passengers aboard the ship; and/or
o. Defendant violated the International Safety Management Code by failing to have an adequate Safety Management System Manual and/or by failing to adequately implement and follow the Safety Management System Manual they have, as it related to protecting passengers from sexual assault and/or rape aboard Defendant’s ships, all of which caused Plaintiff to be injured.

15. As a direct and proximate result of the negligence of Defendant, JANE DOE was directly and proximately caused to be sexually assaulted and/or physically battered and/or raped by a crewmember.

As a result of the foregoing, the Plaintiff JANE DOE was injured about Plaintiff’s body and extremities, suffered physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, disfigurement, aggravation of any previously existing conditions therefrom, incurred medical expenses in the care and treatment of Plaintiff’s injuries, suffered physical handicap and her working ability has been impaired. The injuries are permanent or continuing in nature and Plaintiff will suffer losses and impairments in the future. Further, Plaintiff lost the value of her vacation cruise.

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

COUNT II – VICARIOUS LIABILITY

Plaintiff realleges, adopts and incorporates by reference the allegations in paragraphs 1 through 11 as though alleged originally herein.

At all times material hereto, the crewmember that raped and/or sexually assaulted the Plaintiff was hired and retained by, as well as in the employ of, Defendant for service as a crewmember during said voyage.

At all times material hereto, Defendant was and is vicariously liable for the tortuous actions of its crewmembers/employees.

Defendant breached its contractual duty to the Plaintiff when Defendant’s crewmember/employee attacked and raped the Plaintiff aboard Defendant’s vessel, Liberty.

As a result of the foregoing, the Plaintiff JANE DOE was injured about Plaintiff’s body and extremities, suffered physical pain, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, disfigurement, aggravation of any previously existing conditions therefrom, incurred medical expenses in the care and treatment of Plaintiff’s injuries, suffered physical handicap and her working ability has been impaired. The injuries are permanent or continuing in nature and Plaintiff will suffer losses and impairments in the future. Further, Plaintiff lost the value of her vacation cruise.

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

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

By /s/Michael Winkleman
MICHAEL A. WINKLEMAN
FLORIDA BAR NO. 36719
Date: October 1, 2012