Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, LLP — This week, victims of the doomed Costa Concordia Cruise Ship that capsized off the Italian coast in January filed a new Complaint against Miami headquartered Carnival Corp., the builder of the Costa Concordia, for product liability, against Carnival’s Miami-based architect for defective ship design and against Carnival for a pattern and practice of concealing and/or delaying notification of life threatening situations to passengers on board their cruise ships, amongst other causes of action. Another claim, alleging wrongful death on behalf of several other parties, is to be filed shortly.
The suit alleges that Carnival was aware that the ship’s hull design and power systems were defective. In February 2010 the hull of Carnival’s Costa Europa was punctured against a dock in Egypt creating a small hole, roughly 1/30th (6 feet) the size of the hole in the Costa Concordia’s hull, yet that ship flooded and listed severely at the cost of multiple lives. To date, the company refuses to release the incident report relating to the Europa accident to the public.
In November 2010, Concordia’s sister ship the Carnival Splendor caught fire and was stranded off the coast of Mexico due to a catastrophic failure of a generator in one of the engine rooms. Splendor’s second generator, located in another engine room, should have kicked in but failed to work. At the time, Carnival Cruise Lines’ CEO Gerry Cahill was quoted in Travel Weekly: "Having two engine rooms like we do is pretty much the norm in the cruise industry". Cahill added that Carnival had determined that "there are certain things that we can do to increase the effectiveness of that redundancy." Cahill also said that these lessons would likely be applied to Carnival’s sister brands in the Carnival Corp. group, but the Concordia was plagued by multiple electrical failures after the crash, causing tremendous loss of life and property, personal injury and terror for those on board.
Indeed, as Marc Jay Bern of Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, LLP, co-lead attorney along with Mitchell Proner of Proner & Proner, representing Costa Concordia victims recently noted, "No one got off the Concordia unscathed. Even those who survived and avoided serious physical injuries will never be the same after the horror they lived through. These people trusted a well-known cruise industry brand and had every reason to believe they were in responsible and experienced hands but unfortunately that proved to be anything but the truth."
Law firms Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik & Associates, LLP (with offices in New York and Florida) and New York-based Proner & Proner, along with the Italian firm CODACONS, are representing the plaintiffs in their litigation against the Carnival Group and the other responsible parties. At least $2 million dollars in compensation per passenger is sought and attorneys plan to request $590 million dollars in punitive damages.
The action, filed in State Court before the Florida Circuit Court (11th Judicial Circuit) in Miami-Dade County, Florida is against Carnival Corporation, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Costa Cruise Lines, Inc. and Costa Crociere SPA, are all registered in the State of Florida and face state law claims for Maritime Negligence, Gross Negligence, Negligence – Product Defect as to Carnival Corp., Professional Negligence of the Ship’s Architect, Intentional Failure to Warn, Intentional Failure to Abandon Ship, Intentional Failure to Notify Authorities, Corporate Pattern and Practice of failure to warn, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligent Retention (by the Cruise Line of Captain Schettino), Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Fraudulent Inducement.