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Monday, September 16, 2019

Norwegian Cruise Line passengers in 'bomb cyclone' told to refile claims


By Marian Johns | May 23, 2019

MIAMI - A federal judge has told a group of more than 175 plaintiffs who were passengers on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship during a 2018 "bomb cyclone" that their complaint claiming two counts of negligence contains "inconsistent" allegations, while also giving them time to refile.

According to the May 14 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Miami Division filing, the defendant, NCL Bahamas Ltd., doing business as Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), asked the court to dismiss a consolidated amended complaint filed by the plaintiffs, Morris Wilson and others, that alleges the cruise operator's "negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress."

The plaintiffs, who were on the NCL cruise ship Breakaway that sailed through a severe winter storm in December 2018 known as a "bomb cyclone," faced more than 30-foot waves.  The plaintiffs allege the cruise caused them physical and emotional injuries as a result of the ship being tossed around for hours by hurricane-force winds and that NCL "knowingly and intentionally" sailed into the cyclone despite the weather forecasts when it should have waited out the storm in The Bahamas.  The plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages in their amended complaint.

NCL called the plaintiffs' most recent complaint "an impermissible shotgun pleading" and argues the plaintiffs' claims "are predicated on allegations of "non-existent," "meaningless" and "unexplained duties."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman stated that the plaintiffs' complaint "suffers from a more basic flaw" because it does not show a consistent "applicable standard of care."

Goodman took exception to the plaintiffs' "heightened/enhanced duty of care" and "reasonable care" allegations, ruling they were "indisputably inconsistent" and said their claim of "heightened standard of care" superseding "reasonable standard of care" was "legally incorrect" and confusing. 

NCL was granted its motion to dismiss with prejudice while giving the plaintiffs 14 days to file an amendment.

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