A Fort Lauderdale federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by three passengers and their parents against Miami-based Carnival Corp. over the 2012 capsizing of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy.
U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas agreed with Carnival that the lawsuit should be filed in Italy, not in the United States. Passengers and Italian businesses have filed lawsuits against Carnival in federal court in the Southern District of Florida because Costa’s parent company is based there.
The cruise line disaster left 32 passengers and crew members dead.
Three of the five plaintiffs are siblings. Adrian, Amanda and Brian Warrick claim they were injured in the wreck. Their parents, Wilhelmina and Ceilito Warrick, sued because they were not allowed to board the Costa Concordia. All are Massachusetts residents.
The Warricks’ tickets each state that all disputes would be resolved in Italian courts, under Italian law. As U.S. citizens, the Warricks asked that their suit be heard in Florida, contending it was a more appropriate forum — a request that is often granted.
But Dimitrouleas found that Carnival would suffer a material injustice if forced to litigate in the U.S. Not only is the ship and other physical evidence located in Italy, so are many of the crew members who might be called to testify. Furthermore, much of the evidence will be in Italian and would require translation if heard in the U.S.
Last year U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum dismissed a lawsuit by a number of Italian businesses seeking damages for financial losses due to the capsizing on similar grounds.