On April 25th, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued a decision in the case of Marjorie Cogburn v. Carnival Corporation. The federal court determined that a Florida court improperly dismissed a cruise ship passenger’s personal injury case. The claim has now been revived and the matter will be re-evaluated by the lower court. Here, our Houston, TX cruise ship accident lawyers provide a more in depth overview of the decision from the federal court of appeals.
Cruise Ship Passenger’s Personal Injury Case Analysis: Marjorie Cogburn v. Carnival Corporation
Background and Facts
The plaintiff, Marjorie Cogburn, took a vacation on a cruise ship operated by the Carnival Corporation. While on board the cruise liner, she slipped and fell in a puddle of liquid. The liquid was reportedly brown in color. It was the second day of the cruise and the ship was located just off of the coast of South Florida. While she initially reported moderate pain, Ms. Cogburn was eventually diagnosed with a broken femur and advised by a physician that she would need surgery.
She filed a lawsuit against Carnival Corporation. However, after the discovery stage of litigation, the Florida court determined that the plaintiff (Ms. Cogburn) failed to provide sufficient allegations that the cruise company had “constructive notice” of the property defect (the slippery spot). This despite the fact that the court acknowledged that Ms. Cogburn was able to identify a number of other incidents in which cruise ship passengers fell on the same type of granite flooring.
The Legal Issue
There is no dispute that cruise ship companies owe a general duty of care to their passengers. Among other things, this duty of care involves a responsibility to address slip and fall hazards. As a general rule, a cruise passenger filing a personal injury claim against a cruise company needs to prove that the company had constructive notice of the safety hazard. Constructive notice means that:
- The cruise liner (or its employees) were aware of the safety hazard; or
- The cruise liner (or its employees) should have been aware of the safety hazard.
Appeals Court Revives Claim
Upon review, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit determined that the cruise ship slip and fall claim was wrongfully dismissed for lack of constructive notice. The federal appellate court found that Ms. Cogburn provides evidence that enough similar incidents have occurred that the cruise company should have been aware of the safety hazard.
Contact Our Texas Cruise Ship Passenger Injury Attorneys Today
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Houston, TX cruise ship passenger’s personal injury lawyers are knowledgeable, trial-tested advocates for injured passengers. If you or your loved one was hurt aboard a cruise ship, we are more than ready to help. Reach out to us by phone or contact us online to arrange your no cost, no obligation case evaluation. From our Houston law office, our maritime injury lawyers handle cruise ship accident claims throughout the region.