Home Actualité internationale World News – AU – Royal Caribbean takes legal action against survivors of New Zealand’s White Island volcanic disaster
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World News – AU – Royal Caribbean takes legal action against survivors of New Zealand’s White Island volcanic disaster

The cruise line has filed a lawsuit in Australian federal court to prevent survivors from suing them in the United States

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The cruise line has filed a lawsuit in Australian federal court to prevent survivors from suing in the US

Royal Caribbean cruise line has taken legal action in Australia to prevent victims of the New Zealand White Island outbreak in Miami, where it is headquartered, from being sued.

In a lawsuit in Miami, American couple Ivy and Paul Reed, who were badly burned in the White Island volcano eruption a year ago, and Australians Marie and Stephanie Browitt, who lost their families in the disaster, have owned Royal Caribbean accused of failing his duty to keep passengers safe by allowing a day trip to White Island despite warnings the volcano could erupt.

But last week the cruise line moved to federal court in Australia for a ruling banning families from pursuing their US lawsuits.

Royal Caribbean, the world’s largest cruise company, claims a clause in the ticket contract for the trip means that courts in New South Wales, Australia are the only place where disputes over the disaster can be heard.

In the outbreak on Sept.. December 2019, 22 people were killed on the Royal Caribbean ship Ovation of the Seas, including Marie Browitt’s husband Paul and daughter Krystal. Another 25 people were injured.

The Reeds and Browitts have filed separate lawsuits against Royal Caribbean in the United States seeking compensation for the disaster.

In their case, filed in the US federal court system, Ivy and Paul Reed, who live in Maryland, claim that the outbreak « caused severe, life-threatening burns over large parts of their body, permanent and disfiguring scars, reduced use of their limbs and extremities » , as well as causing persistent psychological trauma and making it difficult for them to work.

In their lawsuit filed with the Florida state court system, the Browitts state: “Stephanie Browitt was seriously injured and suffered injuries that will last her entire life. Both Marie and Stephanie Browitt suffered from severe emotional stress and anxiety, physical pain, loss of joie de vivre, post-traumatic stress and other psychological and / or nervous disorders. ”

The lawsuit also includes claims on behalf of Paul and Krystal Browitt’s property made under the Florida laws of unlawful death.

White Island volcanic activity rose to Level 2 in the weeks leading up to the excursion, the highest prior to an eruption, and the Browitts claim a guide told Krystal during the tour that it was approaching « Level 3 » – one outbreak.

They claim Royal Caribbean knew, or should have known, that the volcano is dangerous, but still sold tickets for the day trip to maximize its profits.

« Selling tickets to the island was outrageous behavior and nothing less than selling a ticket to Russian roulette, » claim the Browitts.

« This behavior was indecently careless outside the limits of propriety and so inconsiderate that it should not be tolerated in civilized society. ”

In their lawsuit, the Reeds also allege that Royal Caribbean knew or should have known of the danger of an outbreak but pushed the voyage forward anyway.

They describe the outbreak at length in court records, saying that they « were engulfed in a boiling cloud of sour gas, stone, and ashes » and that « Ms. Reed remembers that her group resembled those of the fallen Twin Towers the World Trade Center in New York City on Nov.. September 2001, with the exception that the people on White Island were horribly burned that day and were not just covered in white ash. ”

Royal Caribbean has not filed defense in either of the U.S. cases, both filed earlier this month.

However, in its Australian federal lawsuit against the survivors, Royal Carribbean claims that both the Reeds and the Browitts are bound by ticket terms that limit any legal action to the NSW courts.

It has asked the court to issue orders preventing families from moving forward with their US cases.

Australian attorney for the Browitts, Peter Gordon of Gordon Legal, told Guardian Australia that the family had « not received a contract stating where to take action ». .

He said Royal Caribbean is defending other cases brought by victims in Miami, including one from newlyweds Lauren Barham and Matthew Urey.

« We intend to protect and defend the rights of Marie and Stephanie, as well as Paul and Krystal, to prosecute this case in which the wrongdoing took place, » said Gordon.

« And that wrongdoing happened at Royal Caribbean headquarters, where they ignored any evidence that White Island was ready to break out. ”

« Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy, but we do not comment on upcoming investigations, » said a spokeswoman.

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

World news – AU – Royal Caribbean takes legal action against survivors of the New Zealand White Island volcanic disaster
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Ref: https://www.theguardian.com

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