August 17, 2015

ttorneys in an overseas law firm demonstrated the power of
intensive investigation and evidence gathering in their defense of
a class action injury lawsuit against a cruise line. We don’t hear
too much about these types of cases because the injuries are
not as tangible as traditional types of
cruise ship accidents and
injuries involving slip and fall, accidental door closings, objects
dropping from upper decks, assault, falling overboard, fire, or
instances involving alcohol or some form of negligence or
unseaworthiness on the part of the cruise line.

However, gastrointestinal illnesses at sea are part of legally
actionable claims that cruise lines can be liable for. Although
these food poisoning outbreaks are not as common as the
traditional physical injury, the lawsuits they present are fraught
with legal challenges in terms of hygienic practices, shipboard
sanitation, and evidentiary issues. In a recent norovirus case, the
United Kingdom-based law firm defending the cruise line against
the plaintiffs succeeded in obtaining a court decision in favor of
its client.

According to the British law firm, this class action lawsuit
involved an outbreak of gastroenteritis aboard the cruise ship
Thomson Spirit, chartered by TUI UK and operated by Louis
Cruise. The class of plaintiffs included 43 passengers, with 28 of
them alleging they bacterial illness and the remainder alleging
breach of contract. Lawyers for the cruise line showed that
onboard systems onboard had been fully implemented by
officers and the crew to bring the virus under control. Attorneys
produced documentation and evidence to support this position.
The law firm also demonstrated that the cruise line tested for
pathogens and the deployment of systems beyond levels
required for the numbers of illness. (Ref: Hill Dickinson)

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