McCullough et al v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd et al
ORDER denying 152 Defendants' Motion for Determination that the Substantive Law of St. Lucia Applies to Plaintiffs Claims. Signed by Judge Darrin P. Gayles (lh00)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No. 16-cv-20194-GAYLES
LYNN McCULLOUGH and
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES, LTD., et al.,
THIS CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendants’ Motion for Determination that the
Substantive Law of St. Lucia Applies to Plaintiffs’ Claims [ECF No. 152] (the “Motion”) filed by
Defendants Rain Forest Adventures (Holdings) Ltd. (“RF Holdings”); Elite Shore Excursions
Foundation (“Elite Shore”); Rain Forest Sky Rides, Ltd. (“Rain Forest Sky Rides”); Rain
Forest Tram, Ltd. (“RF Tram”); Canopy Enterprises, Inc. (“Canopy Enterprises”); ENTConsulting, Inc. (“ENT”); and Harald Joachim Von Der Goltz (“Mr. Von Der Goltz”)
(collectively the “Rainforest Defendants”). A hearing on the Motion was held on August 7,
2017 [ECF No. 331], and this written Order memorializes the Court’s findings and ruling at the
August 7th hearing. [ECF No. 340, at 22-24]. The Court has carefully considered the parties’
submissions, the record in this case, the applicable law, argument of counsel, and is otherwise fully
advised in the premises.
The Court finds that on the basis of the facts alleged in this action, the claims against all
Defendants are cognizable within the Court’s admiralty jurisdiction. See Belik v. Carlson Travel
Grp., 26 F. Supp. 3d 1258, 1264-67 (S.D. Fla. 2012) (citing Cooper v. Meridian Yachts, Ltd.,
575 F.3d 1151 (11th Cir. 2009). On a claim based on an alleged tort occurring at an offshore
location during the course of a cruise, federal maritime law applies, just as it would for torts
occurring on cruise ships sailing in navigable waters. See Smolnikar v. Royal Caribbean Cruises
Ltd., 787 F. Supp. 2d 1308, 1315 (S.D. Fla. 2011) (citing Doe v. Celebrity Cruises, Inc., 394 F.3d
891, 901 (11th Cir. 2004)); see also Isbell v. Carnival Corp., 462 F. Supp. 2d 1232, 1236 (S.D.
Fla. 2006) (applying federal maritime law in negligence action against cruise line company
stemming from accident occurring during an offshore excursion). Because the allegations in this
case warrant the exercise of admiralty jurisdiction, the Court finds that federal maritime law,
rather than St. Lucia law, governs the substantive issues in this case. See Jackson v. Carnival
Cruise Lines, Inc., 203 F. Supp. 2d 1367, 1373 (S.D. Fla. 2002) (citing Everett v. Carnival
Cruise Lines, 912 F.2d 1355, 1358 (11th Cir. 1990)).
Accordingly, it is
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:
The Rainforest Defendants’ Motion for Determination that the Substantive Law of St.
Lucia Applies to Plaintiffs’ Claims [ECF No. 152] is DENIED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Miami, Florida, this 22nd day of August,
DARRIN P. GAYLES
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?