International Law

Appeals court nixes Florida suit over fatal Italian shipwreck of Costa Concordia

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Although the parent company of a sunken ocean liner is based in Miami and five plaintiffs are U.S. residents, a Florida appeals court last week nixed a U.S. lawsuit over the fatal 2012 shipwreck.

Because the Costa Concordia struck a coral reef off the Italian island of Giglio, the 3rd District Court of Appeal dismissed a Miami-Dade Circuit Court lawsuit by 57 plaintiffs on forum non conveniens grounds, according to the Daily Business Review (sub. req.) and the Miami Herald (sub. req.).

Allowing the case to proceed in Florida would be unjust to Carnival Corp. and other defendants because almost all the evidence and witnesses are located in Italy, said the court in its unanimous written opinion. “The wreckage, voyage data recorder, bridge voice recorder, ship cameras and the vessel’s electronic navigation system are all in the custody of Italian authorities.”

The ship ran aground and sank after the captain sailed too close to the shoreline of the island. He is appealing his manslaughter conviction. A total of 32 people died and thousands of passengers and crew members had to be evacuated.

Related coverage: “Captain guilty in Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed 32; gets 16 years”

ABA Journal: “For vacationers encountering trouble on cruise ships, U.S. laws may provide little help”

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