US District Court in Florida grants summary judgment in favour of Bermuda cruise ship company

In a judgment dated 15 December 2016, Lavora v Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL (Bahamas) Ltd) (a Bermuda incorporated company), District Judge Marcia Cooke of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida has granted summary judgment to the Defendant Bermuda cruise ship company on a personal injury claim asserted by a passenger that allegedly tripped and slipped on a cruise ship, while walking down the steps leading from the hot tub deck.

The Defendant relied upon four arguments in support of its summary judgment application:

(1) surveillance footage proved that the Plaintiff did not slip in water — rather, she missed a step and fell of her own accord;

(2) there was no evidence that the Defendant was on notice of the alleged risk-creating condition;

(3) the risk of water being present on the hot tub stairs was open and obvious to a person through ordinary use of their senses; and

(4) there was no evidence that the Defendant negligently maintained or inspected the stairs, failed to train or supervise its crewmembers, or negligently designed the stairs and flooring material.

The Defendant also pointed out that there was evidence, from the drink receipts that it kept, that the Plaintiff had purchased fourteen drinks — eight beers and six shots of tequila — on the day of the incident, and she herself admitted to drinking both beer and tequila that day.

Having reviewed the surveillance footage ‘dozens of times’ (which the Judge described as ‘dispositive’), the Judge was confident that no reasonable jury could find in favour of the Plaintiff, and summarily dismissed her claim.

Common sense prevails.

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