Concordia Passengers Lawsuit Against Costa Cruise Lines, Inc Can be Turned Away by U.S. Federal Court, According to Attorney Aria Vatankhah

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Six passengers have filed a $460 million lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines and Costa Cruises Lines

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Aria Vatankhah

Aria Vatankhah of Aria Law Group, although not representing the victims in the Costa Concordia lawsuit [Geoffrey SCIMONE, Nancy Scimone, Mario Lofaro, Nancy Lofaro, Ernesto Carusotti, Paola Falcovi, Plaintiffs, v. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES, Costa Cruise Lines, Inc., John DOEs John DOEs, Inc., Defendants. No. 12 - 3496 CA 4. 2012 WL 256473 (Fla.Cir.Ct.)], discusses this event from the perspective of a personal injury lawyer, and bringing attention to a most recent issue in the news as a platform to discuss impact of maritime law on outcome of cruise ship accidents cases.

The above cited lawsuit has been filed in Miami, against Costa Concordia and its parent company, Carnival Corp. Plaintiffs have prayed for judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally in excess of $10 million dollars for Economic and compensatory damages and $450 million dollars as punitive damages for the six named plaintiffs.

The "Complaint" (cited above) generally alleges that the captain's actions were reckless and the crew was not prepared for an emergency evacuation of the ship. They believe the reckless conduct of the Captain and the cruise line will ultimately subject the defendants to punitive damages in this matter.

San Francisco Personal Injury Attorney, Aria Vatankhah, states that the first obstacle for plaintiffs’ attorneys is to determine the party or parties that are responsible for the accident that resulted in injuries or wrongful death of victims.

Plaintiffs are holding Costa Cruise Lines, Inc. and their parent company, Carnival, responsible; however, defendants are blaming the captain of the ship Francisco Schettino. They claim that the captain did not follow the charted electronic course. ("The Telegraph")

The second uphill for the plaintiffs is the “choice of forum” clause on tickets purchased by passengers. Generally, cruise tickets include a contract with a "choice of forum" clause stating the proper venue for potential lawsuits. Defendants can challenge the jurisdiction of U.S. court over this case if the tickets purchased and signed by the plaintiffs before the ship capsized the coast of Italy have this clause. The clauses in the cruise industry are different than other forms of travel. Lawsuits against airlines can be brought almost anyplace they do business.

San Francisco Injury Lawyer, Aria Vatankhah, says that, because of maritime law, these clauses are valid and similar cases have been turned away by the U.S. Supreme Court and that the expense of filing a lawsuit in a foreign court has deterred many plaintiffs in the past. The cruise lines are able to use maritime law and international treaties to alter consumers' rights in their passage contracts and make it almost impossible for victims to recover for cruise injuries.

In August 2010, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a forum clause in a case involving a Californian woman, who fell and broke her leg aboard a foreign cruise ship sailing from Tahiti. [Nina Janet Seung v. Regent Seven Seas Cruises Inc. Docket No. 0:08-CV-60695-MGC] Her ticket required foreign cruise lawsuits to be filed in Paris, and the appeals court rejected her challenge.

San Francisco Accident attorney, Aria Vatankhah, advises cruise passengers to obtain and read their documents closely. If the forum clause mandates that lawsuits be filed in a foreign country, he recommended that passengers simply redact the words "I agree" on the document. Then if a tragedy does occur, the passenger has a strong argument for filing her lawsuit in the United States.

At Aria Law Group our accident attorney aims to get you the financial compensation you deserve and to help you through the legal process. If you retain the Aria Law Group you can focus on recovery while we focus on the complex legalities involved.

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