MIAMI — A judge in a negligence lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines and a travel company it partners with has ruled two expert witnesses for the plaintiff will be allowed to testify as experts and that the defendant’s doubts about their credibility as experts is best addressed in cross-examination.

Carnival had filed a Daubert motion in its defense of a negligence lawsuit brought by passenger David Carideo. “Daubertizing” is a term lawyers use when trying to challenge expert witness testimony from the opposition. 

In the ruling in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, where such motions are common, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman ruled that Dr. Ross Klein and Dr. Howard Wood will be allowed to testify for the plaintiff. Klein will testify as an expert on the cruise industry and will focus on the foreseeability of a crime being committed aboard a cruise ship. . Wood is a security and counterterrorism specialist who seeks to testify about Carnival’s security measures and whether they could prevent a crime being committed on board. 

The motion required the court to decide whether a party can testify as an expert witness if he or she has no formal academic training or actual work experience in the field but has obtained knowledge of the topic through comprehensive review and research.

The lawsuit stems from an attack on board what was billed as a “Groove Cruise” in 2015 during which Carnival partnered with Whet Travel, Inc. The cruise included parties offering alcohol both on the ship and during shore excursions. The plaintiff’s suit alleges he was attacked by two fellow passengers over a dispute involving a woman. 

During that attack, the suit alleges the assailants threw Carideo to the ground and beat and kicked him resulting in fractures to his skull and permanent injuries to his head, including nerve damage. The lawsuit alleges the attack was fueled by alcohol, and that Carnival and Whet Travel, Inc., benefited financially from selling profuse amounts. It also alleged Carnival’s security measures were insufficient in ensuring passengers’ safety and that both companies are liable for his injuries.

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