Today we take a look at another lawsuit that Hickey Law Firm, P.A. has filed against a cruise company, this time Royal Caribbean. Practically every Royal Caribbean fan is familiar with the company's famous Windjammer buffet, where thousands of passengers go to eat daily. One of our clients was seriously injured in the buffet area in early 2019, when Royal Caribbean allowed the area to become dangerously slippery, resulting in a nasty fall and a broken wrist.
Below is an excerpt from the complaint we filed on behalf of our client:
"Ever since Liberty of the Seas’ first voyage, RCCL has owed its passengers a reasonable duty of care under the circumstances. Those circumstances include a reasonable duty to properly monitor, clean, maintain, select a safe flooring surface, warn, and/or dry walking surfaces which are in a wet, contaminated condition. In this case, a wet, dangerously slippery flooring is what faced [The Plaintiff] on March 20, 2019 and caused her injuries.
Royal Caribbean knew or should have known that its flooring inside the Windjammer Cafe and at the Jade Buffet station on Liberty of the Seas (part of the larger Windjammer Café selfservice buffet set-up), was dangerously slippery when wet prior to the fall suffered by [The Plaintiff]. First, like all or nearly all of the RCCL ships, the Liberty of the Seas features a self-service style buffet area. The buffet, the Windjammer, is located on one of the most heavily trafficked decks (Deck 11) and also contains other popular amenities like pools, bars, and/or recreation spaces. As a result, RCCL knows or should know to monitor and warn about the dangerously slick tiles inside the Windjammer and at the Jade buffet, which can and regularly do accumulate water and liquids as a result of foreseeable exposure to food and drink spills, passengers who’ve just exited the pools, and/or other foreseeable contaminants. The accumulation of water and other contaminants are frequent occurrences and have in the past resulted in other slip incidents involving passengers and have also resulted in passenger complaints about the slipperiness inside Windjammer Cafes like the one found on Liberty of the Seas.
One such example involving this Defendant and its Windjammer Café concerns the case of cruise passenger, Irene Diaz. Ms. Diaz suffered a slip and fall on November 29, 2018 on a similar hard-tiled, wet flooring inside the Windjammer Café found onboard RCCL’s Independence of the Seas cruise ship. Similar to [The Plaintiff's] incident, Ms. Diaz fractured her right wrist. Ms. Diaz alleged that Royal Caribbean failed to maintain the self-service buffet style Windjammer’s flooring in a safe condition, failed to warn her about the slippery conditions, and failed to provide a reasonably safe flooring, among other breaches.
Based upon information and belief, Royal Caribbean has also actively put down yellow slippery when wet warning signs on the tile flooring before [The Plaintiff's] incident in the Windjammer Café on the same and/or similar flooring surface to which caused Plaintiff’s incident. This evidence can be found on publicly posted video and photo content on the internet. One YouTube video from a February 2019 cruise on Liberty of the Seas shows that Royal Caribbean had posted a yellow slippery when wet sign to warn passengers of its dangerously slippery flooring near the Jade Buffet inside the Windjammer Café. RCCL’s act of warning about the slippery nature of the flooring on which [The Plaintiff] fell before [The Plaintiff's] incident illustrates RCCL’s prior knowledge that the cruise line knew this subject flooring was dangerously slippery when wet. Thus, RCCL knew or should have known of the dangerous condition faced by [The Plaintiff] before she slipped and fell on March 20, 2019 for the reasons stated above.
As a result, RCCL’s duty of due care under the circumstances includes the duty to maintain its floors in a dry, slip-resistant, and safe condition as well as to adequately and specifically warn passengers that its floors are slippery when wet inside the Windjammer Cafés, including the Windjammer Café on Liberty of the Seas. RCCL, in conjunction with its duty to maintain, owed and continues to owe a reasonably duty of care to select and/or replace its flooring so that such flooring will be reasonably safe under the foreseeable conditions of use.
On March 20, 2019, RCCL breached its duty of care, acted unreasonably, and permitted an area of hidden water to remain present on the floor near the Jade Buffet for at least 20 minutes such that RCCL allowed the water to spread into an area at least five feet wide by five feet long in the walkway. RCCL did not reasonably and properly warn [The Plaintiff] of the dangerous accumulation/spill of water in the walkway near the Jade Buffet station of the Windjammer Cafe. Nor did RCCL post or provide reasonable warnings of its slippery tile flooring. RCCL failed to reasonably clean up, maintain, and keep the walkway in a safe condition. These failures caused [The Plaintiff] to slip and fall and suffer a displaced, right distal radius fracture as well as a right, ulnar styloid fracture on March 20, 2019.