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Gerry McGill
Gerry McGill
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 615

Cruise tickets limit where cruise lines can be sued.

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Last week I discussed how the cruise lines use the passenger ticket to limit the time an injured passenger has to file suit against a cruise line. In addition, provisions are inserted in tickets to specify the only place where the cruise lines can be sued. For example, if you are injured on a Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruises vessel you will be limited by a ticket provision to file suit only in the state or federal courts of Dade County (Miami), Florida. Carnival Cruise Lines, which is the largest cruise line, goes even further and specifies that suit can be filed only in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida located in Dade County, Florida. Holland America Lines require suit to be filed in the Federal District Court in Seattle, Washington. Perhaps the most curious is Disney Lines which requires suit either in the state court in landlocked Brevard County, Florida or the Federal District Court for the great "seaport" of Orlando, Florida. These forum selection clauses are one of the most effective techniques used by the cruise line industry to limit personal injury litigation. The cruise lines are well aware that most of their passengers do not live near these ports and probably do not live in the same state. By requiring that all lawsuits be brought in only one inconvenient location, many otherwise valid lawsuits will never be pursued because of the victim’s reluctance or inability to travel back to the area for depositions and trial.