Monday, November 10, 2014

Cruise Line Appeals $2.5 Million Judgement Awarded to an Ex-Worker

On Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal has decided to reconsider and reopen a case that—in September 2013—awarded plaintiff Vicente J. Fernandes a $2.5 million compensation to be used for damages arising from injuries that he sustained while on the job as a seaman.

In 2009, Fernandes was working on a cruise ship owned and operated by Celebrity Cruises Inc., a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., when he was seriously injured by a co-worker.

There was an alleged confrontation at the linen closet on the cruise line. Both workers needed towels and bedding to appease the passengers on board, but there was a shortage of said materials. The co-worker, who was likely insistent on securing the last of the linens, attacked Fernandes and sent him hurdling into a part of the ship, fracturing his right leg.

The next day, because of the location of the cruise ship, Fernandes underwent extensive surgery in Spain, around 6,000 miles from his hometown of Goa, India.

The day after, however, he was sent home with no compensation for the necessary means of living such as “food, shelter, medical care, therapy, or medication.” Because he was no longer able to work, he hadn’t a way to obtain the money for said necessities.

These actions—or lack thereof—by Celebrity Cruises Inc. are what led Fernandes to open a negligence case in his defense. Instead of pursuing the co-worker directly for the sustained injuries, he aimed to hold the company liable for the poor maintenance and treatment of employees.

With little to no questioning of the opposing party’s story, a low-level court awarded Fernandes an astounding $2.5 million default judgment and closed the case.

Celebrity Cruises Inc. argued that Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge
David C. Miller was wrongful in his actions by sending the case directly to the jury and rejected the defendant’s pleadings.

This caused a court of higher authority, the Third District Court of Appeal, to give Celebrity a second chance at a proper, fair case for another shot at defending themselves adequately. 

Fernandes—alongside his attorneys—is ready for another legal battle. Ervin A. Gonzalez, one of the primary lawyers fighting for the plaintiff, is confident in receiving the same, or possibly greater, verdict after the new jury “hears the way Mr. Fernandes was treated by Celebrity.” 

On the other hand, Celebrity Cruises Inc.—who is being represented by Rodolfo Sorondo Jr. and Christopher N. Bellows of Holland & Knight LLP—is planning to win the jury’s approval when presented with the proper chance to pitch their defense.

Florida has the second highest amount of coastline of any state in the country and boasts 5 major cruise ports.  As such, millions of passengers embark upon vessels each and every year. If you are injured or assulated on a cruise ship you have rights and may be entitled to compensation for your damages.  Maritime Law cases may be extremely complex for a litany of reasons.  Trust your representation to the experienced litigation team at Dolman Law Group. For more information on this case, or for a free consultation and case evaluation by an experienced personal injury attorney, contact Dolman Law Group or visit our website at

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900

Practice Area: 
Maritime Law