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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 9th, 2002, 04:08 PM
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Default Our lawsuit-happy culture

On the Carnival board is someone wanting to start a class-action lawsuit because of the Norwalk virus. IMHO, that's just stupid. The percentage of people to get sick on any given voyage is very small. Sure, it's no fun to be sick, but there's just no reason to sue the cruise lines for it. You get better, you write it off as a bad vacation, and you move on with your life. After weeks of this virus being reported everywhere in the media, everyone should know that there's a risk that if you cruise now, you might get ill. Surely you had time to weigh the risks and decide whether or not to go on the cruise before you left.

All a lawsuit would do is drive up the price of cruising for the rest of us. It wouldn't solve anything.

Cheers,
Michelle B.

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Old December 9th, 2002, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Hi Michelle,
I agree with you 100%. This virus isn't just on cruise ships, its all over, schools, work places, etc. What good will it do to file a class action lawsuit, except drive up the price of cruising like you said, just plain stupid! Granted, I'd hate to be sick like that on any vacation or even at home, but what fault is it of the cruiseline. The guy claims he got it from the food, but there's a good chance they caught it on the flight to the cruise too, why not sue the airline while he's at it??? There is just no way they can prove that they caught it from mis-handled food, although he can try, really the only people that get rick from suits like these are the lawyers.

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Old December 9th, 2002, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Please continue the lawsuit happy culture for at least a bit longer. Andrea (daughter
number 3) is getting married in May. Both she and her fiance are lawyers. So please for my sake , Sue everyone in sight (at least until they put together a downpayment on a house, pay off their remaining school loans and build a college fund for my future grandchildren).
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Old December 9th, 2002, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

As a retired corporate lawyer whose job was more to prevent lawsuits than to file them, all I can comment on is what I would have advised any cruise line to do when confronted with a problem like the Norwalk virus. As this virus is brought on ships (and other places) by people (not bad food or water), the first outbreak on any ship seems to be beyond the control and responsibility of the cruise line. If it is true (as reported) that some ships have been successful in preventing a second outbreak on their next sailing by disinfecting measures in transit, I would feel that this would be adequate response to the first outbreak so as to avoid liability. However, if in transit measures failed and a second outbreak happened (as has reportedly happened in some cases), I would have advised the line that it was "on thin ice" unless it parked the ship for a while and undertook more disinfecting than can be done in transit. This is because this virus, once brought onboard by people, can live on non-organic surfaces for a good while. If in transit measures have failed once, the line has a form of notice that they might well fail again, and this in turn MAY mean that the line has breached a duty in just continuing to sail under these circumstances. And the more repeated consecutive sailings a ship has with virus outbreaks, the more likely it becomes that the virus is living on the ship rather than being brought on by additional people; especially in light of the fact that the majority of ships still have had no outbreaks.

Certainly, I agree that the line is blameless for the first outbreak. And, the second also if some reasonable disinfecting measures were taken in transit. And perhaps the cruise line might be blameless for additional outbreaks if increasingly stringent measures were taken. But some of these ships that have reportedly had four or five "sick cruises" before they "parked it"? They may be in for a problem.

Don't flame, just a little food for thought.
Richard
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Old December 9th, 2002, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I do believe it's a lawsuit happy culture. Who cares about lining the pockets of these less than noble professionals. Thats the problem with this country. They promise the world in gold but the truth is not what they are after. It's money. They will destroy anything in their path just for a money. Want to pay more for a cruise? Go ahead and sue the cruiselines. I'm sure a good lawyer will find dirt whether it exist or not.
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Old December 9th, 2002, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I completely agree with all of you. It's only ruining future cruising for the rest of us. I do however commend those lines that had to stop mid-cruise for giving those passengers a free cruise. Carnival opted not to do this as the first outbreak was on the last day of the cruise and they really didn't have the vacation cut short. Applaudes go to carnival for not giving in and putting their foot down. Let's just hope they stand their ground and let the greedy people know that they don't always win with a threat of a lawsuit.
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Old December 10th, 2002, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Wait, Michelle: As the to the Carnival matter, I think we agree that it was a first outbreak, and therefore not Carnival's fault, legally or morally. In my post above, I was thinking of a ship from another line (which I won't name) that reportedly did four or five back-to-back "sick cruises" before "parking it" for a complete disinfecting. As to guests who became sick on these later cruises, their may be a legitimate complaint here. That's all I'm saying.

Thanks,
Richard
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Old December 10th, 2002, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

“First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
--William Shakespeare

“The only thing I expect out of lawyers is that they be back in their coffins by sunup.”

--F. Ross Johnson,
former CEO, RJR
Nabisco

“I used to be a lawyer, but now I am a reformed character.”
--Woodrow Wilson

The question of fault or liability matters little in this case. Lawyers will urge thier clients to sue and the cruise lines will settle to avoid a prolonged court battle. What do you expect from a profession that encourages obese teens to sue McDonalds because they are overweight? It doesn't matter in the least that morally and legally McDonalds is by any fair standard not responsible for the little gluttons excesses. Yet , in the end, McDonalds will probably pay to get them off their back. And so it goes...


Yes I do dislike lawyers. Sue me!



Post Edited (12-10-02 12:31)
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Old December 10th, 2002, 12:24 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I'd like to add to Richard,s comment by asking who was harmed and was there a responsible party for the damage?

I agree the cruiseline should be held blameless for the first cruise outbreak. But did the cruiseline use reasonable and prudent judgement to protect the next set of customers? Did they issue a notice or post notices at embarkation that a virus was detected on the previous cruise and passengers who wish to back out can do so without penalty? Did they notify them by phone before they left home that a contagion was on the ship? Did they act in a manner to protect the customers or did they act to protect their profits?

You cannot assume people are aware of an outbreak of a virus because it has been reported in the news. A sign at the public swimming pool stating to swim at your own risk does not absolve the pool owner from liability. The assumption that this sign will protect the owners in the case of negligence is incorrect. Just because the sickness has been reported in the news does not mean the cruiseline cannot be held liable for negligent behavior.

My thoughts are to question whether the cruiseline took reasonable action to protect the customers from further harm.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old December 10th, 2002, 01:32 PM
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Default Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Thomas: You said the same thing I was trying to say, only better. Due care by the ship to stop future outbreaks and/or duty to timely warn future booked guests are exactly the issues involved. The mere fact that I may cruise on a ship with no Norwalk virus history and come down with this or other illness is simply not the ship's responsibility (unless I can prove I got it from onboard food, for example). On the other hand, there are reports that the Amsterdam sailed four or five consecutive cruises, and warned no one before boarding on the later "sick cruises". There are reports that the NCL Dream warned under similar circumstances, but only at embarkation after guests had already made expenditures for air fare. IF these reports are true and conplete, it frankly looks like A FEW of the cruise lines whose ships were impacted may not have acted with reasonable care for their guests. So some of this talk about lawsuits may be frivolous, and some may not be.

Thanks,
Richard
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Old December 10th, 2002, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

The particular poster who wants to start a class-action lawsuit against Carnival was on the Fascination, on the 11/29 - 12/2 voyage. According to CNN, there was no previous outbreak of illness on this cruise ship. The ship was cleaned after this particular voyage, and no major outbreaks have been reported since. Therefore, I cannot see how Carnival can be deemed negligent.

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Michelle B.

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Old December 10th, 2002, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I agree with your statement fully. Unless this person has substantial proof that he or she acquired the disease from something consumed onboard, it sounds frivolous to me. You may be comforted to know that just about all jurisdictions have rules under which parties and lawyers can be penalized for bringing frivolous suits. Before I had to retire due to health (the practice of law literally made me sick), one opposing lawyer brought just one too many frivolous suit against one of my clients, and got to spend several nights in jail!

Thanks,
Richard
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Old December 10th, 2002, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Richard,
Oh that we would actually put more people in jail for starting lawsuits that they know are just plain stupid and without merit AND the attorneys that file these suits! This particuliar person is totally mis-guided taking the wrong meds for her illness AND has been ill for over a week now while is just not consistant with the NLV. One of those "methinks thou dost complaint too much" <VBG>
Jim

PS Forgot to mention this person is so sick they cannot function yet supposedly are talking to co-workers on a daily basis. Oh yeah, this person also states they don't work and is a full-time caretaker of an terminally ill elderly parent. Lots of contradictions but that is another story entirely



Post Edited (12-10-02 19:51)
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Old December 10th, 2002, 11:09 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

The ships try to clean up as best as they can but they can not stop people from bringing the virus aboard. After all it is a very comon virus for this time of year and I think the lines are getting people that carry the virus with every cruise. No defence against that.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I just had a call from a daughter in New England who told me of a viral infection that swept through nearly a dozen family members this past week end, in five different households where routine visiting took place. And not one of the victims went anywhere near a cruiseship. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Sound familiar? Nobody sought medical treatment, so there's no diagnosis, but it sure sounds like Norwalk. If any one of my kids or their families had boarded a cruiseship last week end, the likelihood is that the ship would have had an outbreak of uncertain magnitude.

And if it were the Disney Magic or Amsterdam, some attorney would be first in line to encourage a lawsuit based upon the failure of Disney or HAL to prevent a "recurrence". Richard's point about the liability of cruise lines to vigorously prevent repeat instances sounds fair on first reading, but all their measures will fall short if passengers keep bringing the virus aboard. Unfortunately, the companies will probably settle suits out of court to avoid bad publicity (or worse still, the loss of a suit which would open the floodgates). It sure looks like a no-win situation for the cruise corporations no matter how hard they try.
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Old December 11th, 2002, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I don't think Richard intended to state the cruiseline could PREVENT further outbreaks, and I don't think he meant it to read that way either. What he is saying, I believe, and I agree, is did the cruiseline act in a reasonable and prudent manner to protect the customer? That's all !

Nobody can expect the cruiseline to eliminate sicknesses aboard their ships. But good business practices dictate reasonable measures (not heroic or extraordinary) to be taken to protect the customers. I think the cruiseline took reasonable measures to protect those people onboard but I think they could've gone a step further for good customer relations and allowed subsequent passengers to postpone their cruise without financial loss.

If I was on the jury I believe, from what I have learned to date, I would rule in favor of the cruiseline even though I think they could've done a better job of customer relations.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old December 11th, 2002, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Thomas: Actually, the particular Carnival ship that is the subject of this thread seems to be the "poster child" of responsibility. Only one outbreak, ship disinfected (obviously effectively), and no subsequent "sick cruises."

To clarify myself, I agree with you that when a ship is experiencing REPEATED outbreaks, one right after another, there arises a duty to warn future passengers of the problem at some point, and a duty to offer those passengers the ability to cancel penalty free before they fly to the port. Remember that this virus (according to the CDC) can not only be brought aboard by new passengers, but can also live on surfaces within the ship so as to be able to infect those on a sailing where no embarking guest brought the virus on that sailing. The virus here could have lived on from a prior sailing.

Each case involves specific individual facts far to complex to be adequately discussed on a board such as this. Suffice it to say that I think all of us agree that there is no fault as to this Carnival ship which had only one "sick sailing", and thereafter apparently fixed the problem. Carnival had no way of knowing that the single "sick sailing" was likely to happen, and thereafter acted reasonably, by definition, as the problem ceased.

In contrast, I have said (and still say) that the case of the Amsterdam raises questions. That ship had four or five consecutive "sick sailings" with knowlege (from the CDC) that this virus could live on ship surfaces as one way of infecting future passengers, with knowlege that the in-transit means of disinfecting being used were not stopping the outbreaks, and without giving any timely warning to future passengers of this problem. I didn't say that HAL was therefore automatically liable to passengers after the second or third "sick sailings". All I said was that non-frivolous suits and liablility were distinct possibilities under these facts.

As you say, cruise lines need only to act reasonably under the circumstances. They are not insurers that passengers will not become ill while on the ship. Once, I became ill near the end of a cruise. Under the circumstances, I knew that the illness was not due to any unreasonable acts or omissions by ship personnel. I never even brought the matter up with the line, as there was nothing to bring up!

Thanks,
Richard
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Old December 12th, 2002, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I agree!

Regards,
Thomas
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Old December 12th, 2002, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

i also find it quite interesting that RCCL whom operates the largest cruise ships around (Voyager, Explorer, Adventure) have had no problems same for Princess, Celebrity, they must be doing something right i say good for them! lets focus on the good not the bad!
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Old December 12th, 2002, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I agree too, Richard and Thomas! This thread has sparked some interesting discussion.

Cheers,
Michelle B.

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Old December 13th, 2002, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Richard,

According to the press accounts, the MS Amsterdam of Holland America Lines -- which Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) owns -- had outbreaks on about a dozen consecutive cruises (in Alaska, repositioning, and in the Caribbean) before the company cancelled a cruise for more thorough decontamination in response intervention from the U. S. Center for Disease Control (CDC). It apparently took the CDC's threats to get really nasty to motivate the company to do anything about the problem.

I agree with your analysis. Suits from passengers beginning with about the fourth or fifth cruise that had the problem have a very strong chance of prevailing -- and well they should!

Norm.
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Old December 13th, 2002, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Lisa,

In fairness, Princess's British sister line, P&O Cruises, did have an outbreak on one cruise aboard MV Oceana (formerly MV Ocean Princess). The ship's staff identified the passengers who got sick on the first day of the outbreak, went looking for a common link, and discovered that the list of those passengers matched the manifest of one charter flight that brought passengers to the ship exactly. This identification allowed the line to report the problem to cognizant authorities and also to the operator of the charter flight. This allowed the operator of the charter to look after their personnel and to decontaminate their aircraft.

This, however, is the only instance in which the media seems to have reported clear identification of the suspected source of the infection. I'm not persuaded that all of the other lines have been as dilligent in this regard.

Norm.
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Old December 14th, 2002, 08:33 AM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

I like the one where a set of parents have a lawsuit against a junior high basketball coach for cutting their son from the team. The damages include the total wages he would have earned from a full career as an NBA star.
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Old December 14th, 2002, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

That's funny Don. Did you know Michael Jordan was cut by his high school coach too?

Regards,
Thomas
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Old April 7th, 2003, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Its a funny thing... people will trash lawyers, that is until they need one...
Go and figure!

Ciao
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Old April 10th, 2003, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

After reading the original and 25 replies I feel it would be "beating a dead horse" writing a lengthy reply. It would seem that some do not understand how and why passengers might be infected with the Norwalk virus, better known as "norovirus." I suggest going to Keyword and typing in the following for info from the Center for Disease Control, especially page 2 of their report " Norovirus Q & A."

http:http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/...virous-qua.htm

As for Class Action Lawsuits, especially those concerning cruiise lines, I have learned a long time ago the main monetary beneficiaries of these suits are the attorneys for the plaintiff and alas, the attorneys for the defendant who get paid, win or lose. The plaintif passengers usually end up with a voucher of nominal value that is only good for another cruise. Judge Thomas Dickerson has provided a series of free articles that can be downloaded. using Keyword.

Judge TAD's Home Page or
http://www.classactionlitigation.com/article or
http://hometown.aol.com/judgetas/index.htm

HannaS77 a/k/a HermannP
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Old April 15th, 2003, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Three drunk drivers have crashed into my car in the past 10 years. General Motors has never raised a finger to prevent repeated occurrences. Where is that lawyer?
I think I will go after Seagrams too at the same time.
Maybe also the guy who bottled the Martini olives.
Absolutely irresponsible - every one of them.

I think I will also sue the entire United Kingdom for coming up with gin in the first place.
That will teach them a good lesson.
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Old April 15th, 2003, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

Bruce: The UK will simply refer your lawsuit to the Netherlands, which claims IT invented gin or ginevre. I like your ideas, however--send me that lawyer when you find him.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

One wonders how the recent appearance of SARS will affect the industry. Here you have an extremely contagious disease with a 4% mortality rate and no effective means of decontamination or quarantine during a cruise. I understand that some lines have cancelled port calls to southeast Asia and China, but it's only a matter of time until the virus spreads elsewhere and outbreaks occur at sea. Depressing thought.

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Old April 20th, 2003, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Re: Our lawsuit-happy culture

We have published and interesting article in the news section on the homepage that tells just how this SARS has affected cruising and the cruise industry already.
Jim

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