In Cordani v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd., William Cordani’s estate brought a wrongful death claim against NCL (Bahamas) Ltd., a cruise company and its medical team. The lawsuit was filed after Cordani died due to sickness while on a cruise ship. Cordani’s estate brought a multiple-count complaint against the cruise company as well as the health care providers who tended to Cordani. As a reply to these claims, NCL filed a motion to dismiss the estate’s general negligence claims, negligent hiring and/or retention claims, and vicarious liability claims grounded on joint venture.
A court may grant a motion to dismiss a claim if there is a “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In other words, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state enough facts to constitute a claim for which relief would be possible on its face. This happens when a plaintiff pleads facts that permit the court to infer that the defendant is liable for the wrongdoing that is claimed. A motion to dismiss must be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
The court then examined the estate’s maritime negligence claim. Typically, a negligence claim requires showing that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care, the defendant violated that duty, the plaintiff was harmed as a result, and actual damages arose. Reasonable care is usually defined as how a prudent person would act in the same or similar circumstances. In the context of a maritime negligence claim, cruise ship owners owe each and every passenger a duty of reasonable care. This duty varies depending on the specific situation of the particular case. Here, the court noted that the facts, when examined in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, supported a possible negligence claim. Due to this, the court declined to dismiss the estate’s negligence lawsuit against the cruise company.
Next, the court addressed the negligent hiring/retention claim. To assert this type of claim, a plaintiff must establish that a worker was not fit to perform his or her duties, the employer was aware or should have been aware that the worker was not fit to perform his or her duties, and the worker’s ineffectiveness was the direct reason of the plaintiff’s injuries. The court explained that a claim for negligent hiring/retention does not arise simply because a mistake was made. Instead, the worker must be qualified and capable. Here, the court ruled that the estate did not explain why or how the health care provider was incompetent, so the cruise company’s motion to dismiss was granted with respect to this issue.
Lastly, the court held that the plaintiff had a valid joint venture claim, since the complaint stated that the defendants worked together in order to share in any profits and losses. Consequently, the court refused to dismiss the plaintiff’s joint venture claim.
If you or a loved one was harmed on a cruise ship, it is important to seek the help of a qualified Miami boating accident attorney. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our team is well versed in all areas of personal injury law and can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. We proudly serve clients throughout South Florida. For more information, do not hesitate to call us at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or contact us online.
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Florida Supreme Court Clarifies the Collateral Source Rule, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, January 4, 2016
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Ordinary Negligence vs. Medical Negligence in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, December 9, 2015