World News – AU – Royal Caribbean takes legal action against families in White Island volcano tragedy


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Royal Caribbean Cruises is trying to prevent some victims of the White Isles volcanic disaster from suing in the US by bringing them to court in Australian federal court.

Australians Marie and Stephanie Browitt, who lost family members in the outbreak, and American couple Paul and Ivy Reed, who sustained serious injuries, ran a separate business in Florida, where the company is based Litigation to seek damages.

Last week, Royal Caribbean Cruises petitioned the Australian federal court for a ruling to prohibit the Reed and Browitt families from continuing their lawsuits.

Peter Gordon, an attorney for the Browitt family, told ABC that « in the weeks, months, and years leading up to the 9th. December 2019 numerous indications that this is literally a volcano that is ready to erupt « . .

« There have been a number of geological and scientific organizations ringing alarm bells about volcanic activity on the island, » he said.

« Royal Caribbean has a duty to ensure that its passengers are not sent to locations where there is an unreasonable risk of serious injury. « 

Marie Browitt’s daughter Krystal Eve Browitt (21) was the first victim of the volcanic eruption officially named by the New Zealand police.

She was on the island with her father Paul, who later died of his injuries, and sister Stephanie, who was seriously injured.

Most of the 47 people on White Island when it erupted last December were on a day trip from Ovation of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

« The wrongdoing is that Royal Caribbean saw the warnings and was under an obligation to get its passengers out of the way, » said Gordon.

« If they knew that an Ebola outbreak was happening in a certain location, they would cancel the shore excursion because it requires reasonable care by a company, » he said.

In their US case, Mr and Mrs Reed claim the outbreak caused « permanent and disfiguring scars » and « less use of their limbs and extremities, » according to a Guardian report.

Relatives who lost loved ones in the White Island outbreak are suing Royal Caribbean cruises, saying they were not warned of the risk

Royal Caribbean has failed to file a defense on either of the Browitt and Reed families in the US and has argued in their filing in the Australian Federal Court that a clause in their cases can only be heard in local New South Wales courts Cruise ticket contract.

« The claim that Royal Caribbean provided the Browitts with a contract stating that all New South Wales prosecutions must be negotiated is simply not true, » said the Browitt family lawyer.

Declined to respond to questions raised by the ABC, Royal Caribbean said in a statement: « Our thoughts go with everyone affected by this tragedy, but we do not comment on any pending litigation. « .

This service may contain material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service that is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, 10 hours before GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Whakaari / White Island, cruise line, cruise ship

World News – AU – Royal Caribbean takes legal action against families in the White Island volcano proposition
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