A Connecticut resident who sued businesses in two Caribbean countries after he was injured in a freak accident in St. Lucia had a federal judge dismiss his lawsuit in Connecticut.
Judge Jeffrey Meyer Tuesday granted a motion to dismiss Scott Herlihy’s lawsuit against Sandals Resort International Ltd., which has its principal place of business in Jamaica, and La Toc Holding Ltd., based in St. Lucia.
Meyer found that Herlihy, who suffered severe and disabling injuries after a tree branch fell on him during his daughter’s wedding at the Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa in St. Lucia, did not prove his claim that the U.S. District Court for Connecticut had personal jurisdiction over the hotel companies.
The plaintiff had filed the federal diversity lawsuit in May 2018 alleging negligence, recklessness and public nuisance against the foreign companies for the incident that occurred in June 2016. His lawsuit says Herlihy suffered injuries to his head, shoulder, spine and legs.
But the judge found no connection between the defendants and the U.S. court.
“Neither Sandals nor La Toc are or were incorporated in Connecticut or had any offices, property, employees, agents, or other physical presence in Connecticut,” Meyer wrote in his six-page ruling on Tuesday. “Sandals and La Toc were not registered to do business in Connecticut and have not paid any taxes in Connecticut.”
Herlihy, who was a Connecticut resident when he filed his lawsuit, argued he was familiar with Sandals because of their advertising and marketing presence in the Nutmeg State, which in his view meant he could sue them in Connecticut.
But Meyer noted in his ruling that Sandals contracts with Panamanian company Unique Travel Corp. to conduct all of its worldwide marketing efforts. In turn, Unique Travel subcontracts its marketing and promotion services to a Delaware company named Unique Vacations Inc., which operates the Sandals worldwide website.
Defense attorney John Socolow, of Stamford-based Fitzpatrick & Hunt, Pagano, Aubert, told the Connecticut Law Tribune Thursday Meyer made the right call.
“I’m pleased with the ruling,” Socolow said. “As far as I’m concerned, the court took all the relevant facts into account and reached the correct decision.”
With regard to Herlihy, Socolow said, “I’m sorry for his accident and the injuries he suffered, and I hope he is making a full recovery. We do have a duty to represent our clients.”
Three attorneys represented Herlihy: Paul Cordella and I. Bryce Moses of Wingate Russotti Shapiro & Halperin in New York City, and Benjamin Pomerantz with the Stamford offices of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey. Cordella and Moses did not respond to a request for comment Thursday while Pomerantz referred all comment to Moses.