Although a cruise line obtained the dismissal of a personal injury lawsuit, it failed to recover its attorneys' fees and costs. This was the correct outcome and the cruise line was doing what, in my opinion, they do -- throwing their weight around. You see, during the lawsuit which was pending in state court, the cruise line employed a procedural mechanism whereby if a defendant prevails after having offered to settle it may be entitled to recover its fees' and costs. However, the general maritime law -- and not state law -- governed this case involving a passenger that alleged she fell while aboard the ship meaning it was improper to allow the cruise line to recover fees and costs under a state law theory. That is, it was a maritime case and federal law governs substantive issues, including attorneys' fees. So while the passenger may have slipped aboard ship, at least her maritime attorney helped her safely navigate the maritime law.
John Fulweiler is a maritime attorney and represents injured cruise line passengers on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States.
Underway and making way.
By John Fulweiler
Newport, Rhode Island