Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fun in the Sun is What Cruise Ship Passengers Expect—Not Injuries

Fun in the sun is what cruise ship passengers expect—not injuries, but this happens more often than most people realize. There are more cruise ship injuries that occur annually than most people deciding to go on one of these vessels for a vacation. The fun they expect to have changes rapidly when there is a incident in which they are injured. Cruise ship passengers that are injured can suffer severe injuries from slip and falls that happen in wet stairwells and passageways or areas where there is debris that cause a fall.

When this type of injury occurs it is due to the negligence of the cruise ship crewmembers, because they are responsible for keeping these areas safe, as well as the rest of the ship where passengers can go. The cruise line is also responsible for providing a safe environment for the passengers that buy passage on their ships. The passenger that is injured can suffer head trauma, back and neck injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, along with cuts and bruises. These will take time to heal, in some cases there might be permanent disabilities caused by the cruise ship accident and it can also mean ongoing medical care.

Fun in the sun is what cruise ship passengers expect—not injuries and when injuries is what does happen on a cruise the passenger has the legal right to hold the cruise line accountable. They are responsible to provide a safe and secure vessel for passengers. With many of these cruise ships leaving from Southern California, the San Diego passenger that is injured has the right to have the representation of a cruise ship injury attorney. The cruise ship injury attorney understands all the laws that protect the San Diego cruise ship passenger on the water, because these are different than the laws that apply on land.

This accident injuries attorney will also know that most cruise ships are not registered in the United States, which makes the case more complex and the cruise line will have attorneys representing them, since they do not want to be held accountable. Being held accountable will mean paying out compensation to the cruise ship passenger that was injured on their vessel while taking a cruise, when they should have been safe. Not any personal injury attorney has the experience in this area of the law to represent the cruise ship injury victim effectively.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lack Of Security For Passengers On Cruise Ships Is A Reality

If you read the website of a personal injury lawyer (see example here), you will often see that most of them want to defend you for personal injuries taking place on cruise ships. The way they want to represent people in their cruise ship injury cases show that they are fighting against something big. It really is true that they are fighting against something big. Not only do these companies have a lot of power but cruise ship companies also have the law molded according to their suitability.  This allows them to evade any security checks and punishments for causing injuries to their passengers.

 ICV Stands For Justice 


There aren’t many agencies and organization that would stand for you if you have a personal injury case against some cruise ship company.  There aren’t many organizations working for the right of people traveling on these huge ships. However, ICV (International Cruise Victims) has emerged as one organization that has dedicated all of its efforts to get protection for passengers on cruise ships. The work of ICV is not to demolish the shipping industry but to push, support and speak for laws that strengthen and improve the level of security provided to passengers of cruise ships.

ICV has achieved a lot while doing these endeavors for cruise ship passengers. Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act that passed in 2010 was the speaking proof of the successful efforts of ICV. Congressional Coast Guard Reauthorization Act had many points included in it last year due to the efforts of the organization.

These measures will make the reporting of any incidents on cruise ships easier and urge people to report these incidents immediately. Senate and the House are now going forward to make regulations on cruise ships stricter with new legislation – all because of the efforts of the organization.

Why ICV Is Doing All Of This? 


There are planes, trains, buses and other privately owned vehicles but ICV is specifically after cruise ship injuries. Is there a particular reason for that? Yes, there is definitely a particular reason for that. It has been known for decades that the level of security provided to passengers on cruise ships is little to none and law has not done much about this condition. There are many ways available to cruise ship companies to evade the grip of the law even if something goes wrong and reported to the higher authorities. The new legislation that will make security measures on cruise ships better is also facing full resistance from cruise ship companies.

On July 19 an article was printed in New York Times’ front page that talked about the discrepancies found in the law surrounding security on cruise ships and in the overall shipping industry. This particular article in the newspaper clearly mentions that most of the violence and crime taking place on cruise ships is not being brought forward. This article clearly states that the lawlessness in the shipping industry is one that you can’t find anywhere in the world. The author states it in clear words that many crimes take place on the ships only because there is apparently no punishment for the crime taking place on the cruise ships.

The article says again and again that lawlessness on cruise ships does not have another example on the planet. An Article In New York Times About The Matter The article on the newspaper talks about how governments of several countries have laws present to regulate whatever is happening on the ships. Ships and the crew on these ships should be under pressure of these maritime pacts and laws but they are not. It is because most of these laws are so ambiguous that they are either not easy to apply or very easy to evade.

It also talks about the role of agencies that are working for safety on cruise ships, nationally and internationally. It tells the readers that these agencies cannot do anything about such lawlessness and lack of security for passengers because their resources are not enough to fight with the cruise ship giants. The latest rules that shipping companies follow make it even easier for them to keep away from any punishment and legal proceedings if something wrong happens on the cruise ships. A layman might not be able to see any big cause behind the flagging system that has become the new rule for cruise ships but this particular rule keeps them safe from a lot of stuff they should face for the security of their passengers.

It tells about a Coast Guard official of the US who says that only 1% of the cases that take place on cruise ships are ever pursued by the people. The captains never want any investigations because these investigations can delay their operations and also bring them under the eye of the police. When military ships and law enforcement agencies try to pursue cruise ships for some crime that was committed on them, they can’t do so – the flagging system saves the cruise ships in this scenario.

The cruise ship companies agree to follow the laws of a particular country and by doing so it can hoist the flag of that country on it. What happens due to this is that when law enforcement agencies want to get on these ships for investigating a matter, they have to obtain permission from the country whose flag is flying on the cruise ship. The permission is never given and no pursuit of the crime takes place. Later parts of the article were printed in the newspaper on its next day edition. It was again featured on the first page so more and more people could take notice of it.

What’s Cruise Line Industry Doing Right Now? 


Cruise line industry is doing what it was expected to do. Instead of supporting the new legislation and making security laws stronger in the favor of its passengers, the cruise line industry is trying to use its PR in the elites of the country. It is hiring people for its top jobs that have been part of the government in the past. This gives them a chance to be represented in the congress by people who have some value in the congress.

The industry is spending millions of dollars to hire these people and make them use their power to prevent such legislation from being implemented. Many articles about this particular issue have also been printed. ICV wants to work for the safety of the passengers of cruise ships. It does not intend to throw cruise ship industry out of business.

However, it definitely wants the industry to provide better measures for the safety of its passengers. The organization does not have the best resources and biggest funds. However, it is still fighting against the giant industry for the sake of passengers. The organization wants the legislation to pass in the US first and then wants to move further to make the laws for passenger security on cruise ships stronger in other parts of the world as well.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Family on Disney Cruise Ship Forced to Leave Vacation Early Over Age of Daughter

An aggrieved family claims that they were forced to leave their vacation early while traveling on a Disney cruise ship in the Bahamas due to the young age of their infant daughter. The family says they were told the infant was too young to be aboard the cruise ship.  According to Dave Berg he and his family boarded the Disney Wonder cruise ship in Miami, December 30th for a five day cruise.

Berg’s family consisted of 30 other members including his four-month-old granddaughter. The cruise was to fulfill one of his mother-in-laws wishes who is ill. Two days after leaving Miami the infant became ill, spitting up, and her mother, Jennifer Moak, took the infant to the ships physician, and was given medicine for seasickness.

Within hours of the visit to the ship’s doctor the mother received a call to return for a checkup on the infant. This is when the Moak’s were given the news their stay aboard the ship would be terminated due to the age of the infant stating safety reasons for not keeping the infant on the cruise liner.
The mother, her husband Dan Moak and Berg disembarked in Nassau after being told to leave the ship. The family was provided a Disney care team member and an agent to assist in booking accommodations, but the family claims the conditions of the lodgings were unsafe and the hotel in poor condition.

According to Berg if their accommodations were safe, comparable to the cruise ship and they were brought home they would have understood about the situation. Berg claims Disney was deceitful and as stated in the brochures getting off in a foreign country can be dangerous.

Disney cruise line has not commented on the situation or specifics about the infant being removed from the ship. Disney spokeswoman cited medical privacy about the infant and did not say the family was told to remove the child due to age, but because the ship’s doctor believed the infant required land based medical treatment at a hospital. The take away for all my viewers is this, even when a cruise ship doctor assumes a duty of care over you, the skipper can kick you and your sick child off at anytime. Think about that before going on a dream cruise.

Disney stated they have apologized to the family and because of New Year’s Day, along with last minute bookings the options were limited. The cruise line company said they offered to assist with the family’s trip insurance claim. The Moak family has stated the cruise line should have handled the situation better and their safety as top priority.

The Disney Cruise Line policy for infant travel was updated last summer and until recently infants 12 weeks and older were allowed onboard the cruise ships. As of January 1st infants must be six months or older; however the company did state they would honor all families with infants below the six month age limit with existing reservations. Disney did not honor that claim with the Moak family and the four-month-old infant.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cruise Ships to Be Inspected by Coast Guard

The National Transportation Safety Board stated Coast Guard began inspecting cruise ships at U.S. ports beginning with vessels that have a history of safety issues at its first forum on safety concerns on board the ships.

The inspection policy will involve regular twice annual inspections of 140 cruise ships that are based in the U.S. ports Coast Guard Captain Eric Christensen said. He said that in 2013 there were 351 deficiencies with the most common issues being with fire doors and lifeboats.
This program began this month, due to the population of cruise ships that were known to have deficiencies Captain Christensen said. He said that efforts should be focused on the cruise ships that have the largest incidence of deficiencies.

Captain Christiansen said the vessels do not know they are coming, but this is a way that they can determine how the ships operate and then substandard cruise ships can be found with the company being held accountable. When the U.S. Coast Guard finds safety issues they must be addressed prior to the ship being permitted to allow any passengers to board the vessel at U.S. ports.

In Washington a hearing was held and webcast around the globe by the National Transportation Safety Board, after there were 3,000 passengers stranded on a Carnival Triumph cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico in unclean conditions. In the Pacific Ocean the Carnival Splendor had a fire that knocked the power out in 2010 that stranded passengers at sea and the ship had to be towed to port.

The worst incident was the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized in 2012 off of the coast of Italy. This accident resulted in the deaths of 32 people onboard the ship. Recent accidents and other incidences aboard the large cruise ships is increasing and some of the ships can carry 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crewmembers, NTSB chairwomen Debbie Hersman said. Hersman said that annually worldwide there will be over 22 million people taking cruises this year.  She said it is essential to ensure the safety of every trip.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Where Do I File My Cruise Line emergency Case - Can I Sue in a State Other Than My Passenger Ticket?

 By Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys Los Angeles at Ehline Law Firm - Where do I file my cruise line accident case and may I sue someplace else than my passenger ticket depends upon a heap of factors. One element is the passage contract itself, and another element is admiralty-maritime law.
In most instances, cruise lines try to have the legal actions versus them heard in one state by a venue, or forum selection clause. Carnival Cruise Lines tries to keep lawsuits versus them in Florida, while Princess Cruises try and keep lawsuits versus them in Los Angeles, California.

In this article, we talk about the issue of may I file a cruise ship case in a state other than the one on my passage contract? As of the writing of this article, the following laws used and we make no representations that this will be the law at the time of the reading of this article and this is not to be construed as legal advice, but rather as an instructional resource under the reasonable use doctrine.

You are encouraged to hire an experienced cruise line lawsuit lawyer to explore in more detail your case, but invite you to read this legal research, to acquaint yourself with the legal principles contained herein.

LAW ON FORUM NON-CONVENIENS

Can I sue in a state other than on my passenger ticket? One of the best arguments in avoiding a forum selection clause, in effect keeping a Carnival Cruise Ship lawsuit in California, as opposed to Florida, is to argue forum non-conveniens, or inconvenient forum if you prefer. The federal maritime law applies a two-prong test to determine the enforceability of a forum-selection clause.

First, the terms of the contract must be “reasonably communicated” to the passenger. (Deiro v. American Airlines, Inc., 816 F.2d 1360, 1364 (9th Cir.1987).) Second, the forum-selection clause ought to be “fundamentally fair.” (Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585, 111 S.Ct. 1522, 1528, 113 L.Ed.2d 622 (1991).)

“the proper test of the reasonable observer is an analysis of the overall circumstances on a case-by-case basis, with an examination not only of the ticket itself but likewise of any extrinsic constituents indicating the passenger’s capacity to become meaningfully informed of the contractual terms at stake.” Id. at 1364 (citing Shankles, 722 F.2d at 866)

A passenger of a mutual carrier is contractually bound by the fine print of passenger ticket if the contract “reasonably communicate[s]” the existence of terms and conditions that affect legal rights. (Deiro v. American Airlines, Inc., 816 F.2d 1360, 1364 (9th Cir.1987) (quoting Shankles v. Costa Armatori, S.P.A., 722 F.2d 861, 863-64 (1st Cir.1983)).

Forum-selection clauses are presumptively valid and will have to be esteemed “absent a good deal of compelling and countervailing reason.” Id. at 1231 (quoting The Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1, 12, 92 S.Ct. 1907, 32 L.Ed.2d 513 (1972)).

A court may refuse to enforce forum-selection clause for any of three reasons:

  1. “if the inclusion of the clause in the agreement was the product of fraud or overreaching”; 
  2. “if the party wishing to repudiate the clause would efficaciously be deprived of his day in court were the clause enforced”; and
  3. “if enforcement would contravene a strong public policy of the forum in which suit is brought.” (Murphy, 349 F.3d at 1231-32.)
And the Supreme Court has noted, a cruise line has a “special interest” in controlling the fora in which claims versus it may be litigated. Shute, 499 U.S. at 593. A cruise ship may carry passengers who reside in an assortment of locations, which could subject the cruise line to litigation in assorted dissimilar fora. Id.

Additionally, the forum-selection clause, by establishing beforehand the proper emplacement of the suit, may spare the litigants, and courts, the time and expense of lengthy disputes regarding what forum is proper. Id. at 593-94.

These economies in litigation may gain passengers in the form of lower fares. Id. at 594. Carnival also has a good reason for calling for litigation in Florida: this is where it is an indispensable place of business is located. As in Shute, here there appears to be “no indication that [Carnival] set Florida as the forum in which disputes were to be resolved as a means of discouraging cruise passengers from carrying out or participate in rightful claims.” Id. at 595.

But in Walker v. Carnival Cruise Lines (2000) 107 F.Supp.2d 1135 the Passengers sued cruise line and travel agents under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state law (Unruh?), based on alleged failure to provide appropriately accessible accommodations on a cruise ship.
On motion of cruise line to dismiss or to transfer based on forum selection clauses, and motion of agents to dismiss, the District Court, 63 F.Supp.2d 1083, dismissed cruise line, based on forum selection clause in ticket specifying suit in Florida.

Passengers moved for reconsideration. The District Court, Henderson, J., kept that: (1) uttermost severity of passengers’ handicaps, and their poverty, supported retention of jurisdiction, and (2) retention was supported on grounds that public policy favored encouragement of private actions to enforce ADA. Motion to dismiss denied.

Can Minors Avoid a Cruise Liner Forum Selection Clause Easier than an Adult?


Almost each case I could find when it comes to minors concluded that a minor child who was injured while a passenger on a cruise ship is bound by the passenger contract also. In Morrow v. Norwegian Cruise Line, Ltd., 262 F.Supp.2d 474 (M.D.Pa.2002), at issue was the forum selection clause printed on the cruise ship ticket.  

Morrow relied on three cases, all of which involved forum selection clauses, rather than arbitration clauses. See Igneri v. Carnival Corp., 1996 WL 68536, ( E.D.N.Y.2002) (granting defendant’s motion to transfer plaintiff’s case from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida), Harden v. Am. Airlines, 178 F.R.D. 583, 585-86 (M.D.Ala.1998) (granting Defendant American Hawaii Cruises’s motion to dismiss on the ground of improper venue based on a forum selection clause which required that any lawsuit arising out of the cruise “must be brought and litigated, if at all, before a court located in the State of Hawaii, to the exclusion of the courts of any other country or located in any other state of the United States” (emphasis added)); Paster v. Putney Student Travel, Inc., 1999 WL 1074120, ( C.D.Cal.1999) (concluding that exclusive jurisdiction for the plaintiff’s action versus the defendant was in the courts of Vermont, rather than the United States District Court for the Central District of California).

Transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1406?

Section 1406(a) provides: “The district court of a district in which is filed a case laying venue in the faulty division or district shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer such a case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.” 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Under § 1406, a court may transfer a pending case to another state, or dismiss the action altogether.

“Normally transfer will be in the interest of justice because normally dismissal of an action that could have been brought elsewhere is time-consuming and justice-defeating.” Miller v. Hambrick, 905 F.2d 259, 262 (9th Cir.1990) (addressing transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1631).

Other Cases Where a Forum Selection Clause Was Held Unenforceable

The state courts in the following cases kept that a forum selection clause in a cruise ticket was unenforceable, under the facts and circumstances presented. In Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Superior Court, 234 Cal. App. 3d 1019, 286 Cal. Rptr. 323, 1992 A.M.C. 320 (2d Dist. 1991), an action by passengers on a cruise ship versus the owners for injuries sustained for the duration of a storm at sea, the court held that the forum selection clause which provided that all disputes arising beneath or in connection with the ticket contract for passage on the cruise ship would be litigated in

Florida courts, was unenforceable as to any queer plaintiff if the trial court, upon remand, determined that such a plaintiff did not have sufficient detect of the forum selection clause prior to entering into the contract for passage; absent such notice, the requisite mutual consent to that contractual term would be missing out, and no valid contract with respect to such clause would exist.

The court in Casavant v. Norwegian Cruise Line, Ltd., 63 Mass. App. Ct. 785, 829 N.E.2d 1171 (2005), in which potential passengers for a vacation cruise brought an action versus the cruise ship operator, relating to the operator’s failure to honor their request to assign a new time and place for an event for their ticket, based on safety worries following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the trial court granted the operator’s motion to dismiss, based on the contractual forum selection clause, and the plaintiffs appealed, held that the passengers did not impliedly receive the forum selection clause, and the forum selection clause was not enforceable under federal maritime law.

The court kept that the proof did not establish that the potential passengers impliedly accepted, as a binding contract, the terms and conditions of the vacation ticket, which included the forum selection clause, as the passengers made repeated requests to assign a new time and place for an event for their ticket, in light of safety worries following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


That court likewise held that the forum selection clause was not enforceable underneath federal maritime law, where the potential passengers could not reject the forum selection clause with impunity. Because the manner and means of the deliverance of the terms of the contract for passage did not reasonably concede the passengers “the option of rejecting the contract with impunity,” and because in the fixed time frame allotted, the passengers did not receive the ticket as a binding contract, beneath controlling federal maritime law and Massachusetts contractual law, the Florida-dictated forum selection clause was not enforceable, and the court kept that a suit may hence proceed in the Massachusetts courts.

In Cismaru v. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Inc., 2001 WL 6546 (Tex. App. Amarillo 2001), the court, reversing the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ negligence action versus a cruise line pursuant to a forum selection clause in cruise tickets purchased by the plaintiffs, necessitating suit to be brought in Broward County, Florida, kept that the clause was unenforceable where the passengers firstborn received observe of it upon receipt of their respective cruise tickets, and each passenger received his ticket at a time wherein he could not have canceled without incurring a penalty, and the clause was, therefore, basically unfair.

In Stobaugh v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd., 5 S.W.3d 232, 2001 A.M.C. 215 (Tex. App. Houston 14th Dist. 1999), the court held, under federal maritime law, a forum selection clause, appearing in minuscule print on the back of a cruise line passenger ticket, requiring suit to be brought in Florida, offended notions of reasonable play and rudimentary fairness, and thence was unenforceable versus passengers in their personal injury action versus the cruise line, where the 111-page promotional brochure sent to passengers did not incorporate the clause, the passengers did not receive the ticket until after they paid for the cruise in full, and they had no chance to reject the clause without a penalty at the time they received the ticket.

The court noted, initially, that issues relating to the enforceability of a forum selection clause in a cruise line passenger ticket are issues of admiralty, and are accordingly governed by federal maritime law, which preempts state law.

The court continued, underneath federal maritime law, forum selection clauses that are negotiated are in general enforceable. A forum selection clause that is not negotiated may be enforceable in a good deal of situations, the court said, but the clause will have to be fundamentally reasonable to the party versus whom it is being enforced.

The court, recognizing that the state has a significant interest in providing it is citizens with a forum in which to resolve civil disputes, for purposes of forum selection clause analysis, concluded that parties who intend to deprive Texas citizens of the right to use their courts by way of a forum selection clause ought to give observe of that intent in an effective manner, and at a time that affords an chance to reject such a term without penalty, so as to comport with rudimentary fairness.

In Pozero v. Alfa Travel, Inc., 856 S.W.2d 243 (Tex. App. San Antonio 1993), a suit by purchasers of cruise tickets and trip cancellation insurance underneath the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. §§ 17.41 et seq. (DTPA), for alleged misrepresentations and failure to make disclosures, the court, reversing the trial court’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction and improper venue, held that the forum selection clause in the cruise ticket contract, requiring suit to be brought in San Francisco, California, did not implement to the purchasers’ claims, which did not raise issues when it comes to the content of the contract, or undertake to enforce or challenge rights emanating from the contract.

In Johnson v. Holland America Line-Westours, Inc., 206 Wis. 2d 562, 557 N.W.2d 475 (Ct. App. 1996), where cruise ship passengers who were forced to cancel their trip less than 15 days before departure requested a refund or credit of the ticket price of $9,806, the court, reversing the trial court’s dismissal of the complaint based on the forum selection clause in the cruise ticket, held that the clause, set forth in fine print, calling for disputes to be litigated in Seattle, Washington, was unfair and unenforceable.

The court, recognizing that a passenger ticket for an ocean voyage is a maritime contract whose interpretation and enforcement is governed by maritime law, explained that maritime law applies a two-prong test to determine the enforceability of a forum selection clause contained in a passenger ticket: the terms will have to be reasonably communicated to the passenger; and the forum selection clause will have to be fundamentally fair.

Reasonably Communicated Test

Under the “reasonably communicated” test for enforceability of a forum selection clause in a passenger ticket, the court will have to determine whether the contract reasonably communicated to the passenger the existence of indispensable terms and conditions that affected the legal rights of the passenger. Reasonable notice, the court explained, is a question of law, and the court ought to thoroughly and closely question or examine circumstances surrounding the buy of the ticket, the purchaser’s familiarity with the ticket and the incentive to study the provisions and notices received.

In the instant case, the court found, the forum selection clause was unfair and unenforceable where the passengers received the ticket less than 45 days before departure, and under the plain terms of the ticket, the passengers would have had to forfeit one-half of the entire buy price of $9,806 if they had rejected the contract and canceled the trip on receipt of the ticket.

State trial court’s conclusion that forum selection clause in cruise ship ticket contract was not somewhat communicated to passengers, so that clause was not enforceable beneath federal admiralty law, was not versus manifest weight of evidence; passengers testified they never received ticket booklet containing bus and cruise tickets, passengers were unable to provide bus and cruise tickets to ship owner’s representatives, and perforated sheet that passengers signed dockside when they were unable to provide bus and cruise tickets was not attached to a more prominent document containing forum selection clause. Mack v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., 297 Ill. Dec. 593, 838 N.E.2d 80 (App. Ct. 1st Dist. 2005).

CONCLUSION

If a minor is involved you may undertake and argue that your state, such as California (“CA”), has a special state interest in protecting it is own children and rudimentary fairness dictates the minor litigate his/her case here in CA based upon the above cases.

In all events, assuming it is a Carnival lawsuit, you would still need present compelling proof that Florida law provides less shelter than CA law if arguing state interest in protecting a minor. (Gagnon v. Ryerson, Inc., No. 07-68-AS, Slip Op. at 4. ( D.Or.Fed.1, 2007).

And do not forget that underneath Harden v. American Airlines, 178 F.R.D. 583, 587 (M.D.Ala.1998), a minor may not void a contract to escape the forum selection clause contained therein if the minor has already accepted the gains under the contract); Holland v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co., 270 Cal.App.2d 417, 421, 75 Cal.Rptr. 669, 671 (1969) (asserting that minors choosing to disaffirm a contract ought to “disaffirm the entire contract, not just the irksome portions”).

Assuming a minor child was raped on a cruise liner, for example, the question becomes, is a minor being raped is an acceptance of a benefit or a misrepresentation of safety? If fraud then you have a basis to void the clause. Where do I file my cruise line accident case will depend upon whether or not you may void the forum selection clause and file a cruise ship case in a state other than the one your passage contract that is more commodious to your or the injured victim attempting to recover damages like medical bills, psychological bills and physical and mental pain and suffering damages. To learn more, contact Ehline Law Firm.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cruise Worker Facing Charges in Passenger Sexual Assault and Attempted Murder Holland

American Line cruise ship worker was arrested and charged after sexually assaulting a passenger in her cabin on Friday. The FBI has arrested cruise ship worker Ketut Pujayasa age 28, when the ship docked at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Indonesian citizen is facing federal charges of aggravated sexual abuse and attempt to commit murder in the incident that occurred on Valentine’s Day. According to the FBI the incident took place while the ship was in international waters that was on a seven day western Caribbean charter cruise. The victim of the attack has been identified as a 31 year old woman, who was assaulted in her stateroom in the early hours Friday morning. Pjuayasa said in the FBI criminal complaint said that he went to the woman’s stateroom to deliver room service, knocking three different times. He said then the woman said “wait a minute son of a b----” through the door. He said this disrespected him and his parents and he spent the rest of the day extremely angry.

The cruise ship worker went on to say that while he was off duty, he used his company issued master key to enter the woman’s stateroom and hid on the balcony, while he waited for her to return. Pujayasa told investigators that he then waited for the woman to get into bed, where he then immediately choked her and punched her numerous times. He said the woman attempted to fight back and while he was attacking her, he struck her with her curling iron and laptop. He attempted to strangle the woman with the cord from her curling iron and the woman escaped the attack by using a corkscrew to stab him.

Once the 31 year old woman escaped, a passenger in the hallway offered her assistance. According to the company Pujayasa was placed under guard, then they notified FBI and other authorities immediately. The woman who was attacked was taken to the infirmary onboard the cruise ship and then disembarked the ship Saturday in Roatan, Honduras. She was then flown to a U.S. hospital, the cruise line said. Holland America Line said that they are providing full support to the woman and have flown her family to be with her while receiving medical treatment.

The cruise line said that Pujayasa was immediately fired. According to Holland America Line in a statement, they said they were saddened that an assault took place on the MS Nieuw Amsterdam. Their hearts and prayers go out to the woman and her family and they are shocked at such an event taking place onboard the ship. The company said they plan to take steps to ensure nothing like this will ever happen again. Pujayasa is being held in the Broward County Main Jail for the Valentine’s Day alleged sexual assault and attempted murder.  At least one attorney, Michael Ehline, says that installig cameras and man overboard systems would make it less attractive for criminals to rape and kill while aboard cruises. (See below links)

Citations: NBC Miami Story on Rape and Assault: http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Holland-America-Line-Cruise-Ship-Worker-Sexually-Assaulted-Woman-in-Room-Officials-and-FBI-Say-246047671.html Could Rape Attempt on Cruise Ship Have Been Prevented With Safety Legislation that Was Shelved?: http://cruiseshipaccident.ehlinelaw.com/enhanced-had-stopped-the-rape-and-murder/

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Concern for Safety Issues on Cruise Ships Addressed in GAO Report Supporting ICV

A major report has been released by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) that is based on a wide-ranging review of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, which was requested by Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Rep. Matsui (D-CA). The report confirms that there has been a lack of progress on many of the safety issues that were addressed in the original legislation.

 It is indicated in the GAO report that there has been a failure by cruise lines to implement key provisions of the CVSSA and allegations for never opened or published investigations. There has been concern about the lack of complete crime occurrences on cruise ships, since the public does not have the statistics they are unable to make educated decisions about taking cruises.

It can be years before the data is made public making it not current information, since the information is not made public until the case is closed, which can take months and then the time it takes to make it public. There are still technologies that have not been implemented by the cruise industry, such as the man overboard technology that will alert the crew when it is detected that a person has fallen overboard.

The ICV’s position is that the man overboard systems (MOB) are available and the legislation enacted requires ships that are not equipped must install this technology. Without this technology there is very little chance of a person overboard being saved and during 2013 there were 18 cases of overboard passengers. During the last few weeks of the year there were five people reportedly overboard and this shows the need for the cruise ships to be compliant in the installation of MOB systems.

There were other major issues covered in the report that requires attention and legislation has been introduced to Congress to tighten the provisions that have been enacted. Rep. Poe and Rep. Matsui in the House have introduced legislation H.R. 2800 and in the Senate Sen. Rockefeller has introduced S.1340. It is believed if the cruise industry has concerns about passenger safety they would support the necessary changes, but to date there has been little interest shown in making these changes that would improve crime reporting and the man overboard systems.

Citations: 
 GAO Report
Personal Injury Warriors Magazine Report on MOB's.