Cruise passengers often are injured on cruise excursions. These are the side trips for which the cruise lines’ contract with local companies.
The excursions are part and parcel of the cruise itself. The excursions are why many people take one particular cruise over another.
The cruise lines market the excursions on the cruise lines’ websites. The passengers pay for the excursion online on those sites or onboard the ship from cruise employees. The cruise line and the excursion then split the gross revenues of the tickets.
And the cruise lines have detailed contracts and lists of requirements of the excursion and excursion companies. For example, the standard contract with the excursion companies provides that the excursion companies must submit detailed, written proposals to the cruise lines describing each leg or aspect of the excursion. If the excursion as described does not meet with the cruise lines’ standards or vision or does not seem safe, the cruise line can “suggest” changes. If the excursion company does not implement the changes, the cruise line will choose another excursion. That is the ultimate control.
For years, the courts dismissed claims against the cruise lines for accidents which happened on an excursion. But recently, decisions from the federal courts in the Southern District of Florida (which includes Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Palm Beach) have denied the cruise lines’ motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment on these claims. In a recent case, Dudley v NCL, the Court denied a motion to dismiss as to joint venture and negligent choice of excursion among other theories. In Dudley, the court in its order on motion to dismiss recited some of the facts of the case:
- Count II: Negligent Selection and Retention
“Though cruise ship owners … cannot be held vicariously liable for the negligence of an independent contractor, it is well-established that they may be liable for negligently hiring or retaining a contractor.” […] Negligent hiring occurs when, “prior to the time the employee is actually hired, the employer knew or should have known of the employee’s unfitness, and the issue of liability primarily focuses upon the adequacy of the employer’s pre-employment investigation into the employee’s background.”
In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that:
NCL knew or reasonably should have known that the tour operator, Blue Lagoon was incompetent or unfit to conduct the subject excursion as:
- The subject Segway tour had insufficient safety orientation, training and instruction;
- Other passengers were injured on the subject Segway;
- NCL received complaints from previous passengers about incompetent and/or unfit and unsafe operation of the subject Segway tour;
- NCL was told by its passenger(s) that they suffered injuries, and or/near miss and/or harrowing incidents during the subject Segway tour as a result of the operator’s negligent operation of the subject excursion;
- NCL reviewed complaints of prior passengers that were posted on the internet, including its own websites, industry and cruise websites, at its own guest relations desk, and end of cruise comment cards or as received during cruises, discussing the unreasonably hazardous conditions on the subject Segway tour, including but not limited to the tour operator’s incompetent and/or unfit user orientation, training and operation of the excursion; and/or
- The tour operator’s provision of an inherently dangerous activity, and it’s [sic] known, discoverable and foreseeable hazards, incompetence and/or unfitness existed for a sufficient length of time so that NCL, through exercise of reasonable care and due diligence, under the circumstances, should have known these inherently dangerous circumstances, when visiting the site to ensure it is safe to sell the subject excursion to its passengers[.]
Those allegations include more facts supporting a claim for negligent selection and hiring than the complaints the courts considered in Ferretti or Chaparro. Because the facts are plausible and “raise a reasonable expectation that discovery could supply additional proof” of NCL’s liability, the Court finds that Plaintiff has sufficiently pled facts to support each element of a claim for negligent selection and/or retention.
Hickey Law Firm specializes in “life changing injuries”®. Call us first. Call us now. 800.215.7117.
Hickey Law Firm has handled numerous cruise excursion injury cases. We have handled cases involving:
- 4 wheeler excursions where cruise passenger on 4 wheeler falls off bridge with no railing, hits head on a rock, and dies.
- Zip line excursions where the cable breaks and cruise passenger falls to her death and others where severe injuries occur.
- Slips and falls on islands owned and operated by the cruise lines or their subsidiaries.
- Rapes and sexual assaults on excursions marketed by the cruise lines.
- Car, truck, and bus crashes which happen on excursions.
At Hickey Law Firm, we are specialists in cruise ship injuries and accidents. Attorney John H. (Jack) Hickey is double board certified by The Florida Bar in Civil Trial and Admiralty and Maritime Law. He is also board certified in Civil Trial by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA). His specialties include personal injury and wrongful death. Hickey used to be a lawyer for the defense companies; he knows how they think and operate.
Call us or use our contact page today to schedule a free consultation. We only receive compensation if we secure a settlement or favorable verdict for you. You pay nothing to hire us. We are based in Miami but serve cruise ship passengers across the country.
Attorney John H. (Jack) Hickey and his team handle a wide range of cases, including but not limited to cruise ship accidents, admiralty and maritime accident cases, medical malpractice, wrongful death, premises liability, railroad accidents and car accidents. We represent victims from all over the nation, the world and the state of Florida.