US DISTRICT COURT, FORT LAUDERDALE
A cruise ship passenger was awarded $1.2 million after tripping over a cleaning bucket in the ship’s dining area.
Joyce Higgs, then 67, claimed she could not see the hazard as she approached because the bucket was placed around a corner. The plaintiff’s maritime expert alleged the ship’s owner and operator, Costa Crociere S.P.A. Co., failed to comply with an industry standard to eliminate tripping hazards whenever possible.
Defense counsel claimed the bucket was in its proper location in front of the busboy station, and the defense’s marine expert stated Higgs should have been able to see it from 10 feet away. Moreover, the defense maintained the bucket was an open and obvious condition.
Case: Higgs v. Costa Crociere
Case No.: 0:15-cv-60280-JIC
Plaintiffs attorneys: Nicholas A. Homan and Robert A. Chaffin, The Chaffin Law Firm, Houston
Defense attorneys: Cooper Jarnagin and Richard J. McAlpin, McAlpin Conroy, Miami