Cruise ship in crystal blue water with blue sky

Huge Victory for Medical Malpractice Claims Against Cruise Lines’ Physicians and Nurses

Posted by HolzbergLegal | November 17, 2014

Royal Caribbean Cruise This week the 11th Circuit court of Appeals issued a long overdue opinion in Patricia Franza v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., overturning the Barbetta case which has prevented many otherwise meritorious negligence cases for Cruise operator/owners’ vicarious liability in medical malpractice cases committed by ships’ physicians and nurses. Here is the link to the well reasoned opinion by Judge Stanley Marcus.

This opinion pulls down the shield that all cruise lines have used since Barbetta became law, immunizing them from any medical malpractice, no matter how egregious, against passengers, by doctors and nurses hired by cruise lines. These doctors and nurses are part of every ship’s crew, typically from foreign countries, of widely different backgrounds and training, and have little to no jurisdictional contacts with the US and especially Florida where all major cruise lines require a passenger to sue them in Federal Court in Miami. Even when we have spent considerable time and money to find and serve these foreign doctors with service of process, the cruise ship’s lawyers routinely get them dismissed for lack of in personam jurisdiction. See the Mottersbaugh case.

I have rejected countless sad cases of death and lifetime significant injuries caused by ship’s doctors and nurses, in clear cases of malpractice, because of this bad precedent. Finally cruise passengers will get the justice they deserve, including at least 3 current clients whose cases, after injuries caused by negligence on the ship or on excursions were made worse, or killed because of malpractice. Bravo to Judge Marcus. Now watch RCCL appeal to the US Supreme Court and lets see what they do. Reversal would serve a gross injustice to many deserving passengers who without this decision have no remedy in court.

Image via ZTopics

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I was extremely pleased with the result of this offices' work. Their knowledge of the situation brought me to discover that I had further medical issues. They took time to explain what needed to be done at each step and what the result would be. I am extremely pleased with the outcome. Martha
★★★★★
When you want someone to take on the big guys, Holzberg Legal is who I had and would want in the fight. The big corporations have big and powerful legal teams fighting you all the way. You want the hard working staff and sharp legal minds and advice on your side. It is a fight that is stacked against you. Get the best. David
★★★★★
Mr. Glenn Holzberg did an excellent job for my brother, Querobino, Mr. Holzberg was very active in the lawsuit and was determined to either go to trial or get my brother a settlement. His persistence and patience proved to be in our best interest. I would have no second thoughts in recommending Glenn in other similar litigations. Lavinia