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Freedom of the Seas Fatality?

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21 hours ago, OrlandoC said:

I'm sorry this is wrong. Not calling you out in particular since this is a huge misconception across the country. 

McDonald's was absolutely negligent in how they served their coffee. 

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/16/13971482/mcdonalds-coffee-lawsuit-stella-liebeck

The 79 year-old victim suffered third degree burns on her legs and genitals which required extensive surgery to repair because McDonald's served coffee at over 190 degrees. They also knew that this was a problem because before this case they had already received over 700 reports of burns due to hot coffee. They didn't even deny they knew this was dangerous in the case! Yet they continued to serve it at near boiling temperatures. 

In addition the victim didn't want to file a lawsuit. She only wanted her medical expenses paid. McDonalds refused and only offered her $800. Her lawsuit was for those expenses only but the jury thought McDonald's was so negligent that they awarded her even more. 

So how did it end up that everyone in America thinks she was greedy because she got some lukewarm coffee on her? McDonald's funded a misinformation campaign that the media bought into and spread to everyone. Corporations have used this fake story to keep people with real injuries from pursuing damages for fear they might be considered in the same way this woman was. Don't fall for McDonald's lies.  

Thank you! I'm so glad someone said something about this because citing the McDonald's coffee case as an example of frivolous lawsuits is such a pet peeve of mine. McDonald's propaganda campaign sure did a number on public perception. 

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I believe that case was abuse, regardless of what it did to public perception.  Does anyone know the true temperature of the coffee she received? Does anyone know if any injuries were prevented because of this? What extent were the injuries involved in the other complaints? A burnt tongue. A pizza burn on the roof of their mouth. I could argue this for days but that was not my point. My point was that juries can award whatever they want and on appeal these awards are greatly reduced and or eliminated.  This is what the public never hears about. Myself and others are obviously in disagreement.  I accept that and as I said, i will just leave it at that. In reality, our opinions are meaningless in this and I truly was not trying to start an argument. 

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Yes. As I posted several times and is mentioned in every article about this story McDonald's served the coffee at 185-190 degrees F. This fact was not in dispute. McDonalds admitted it. 

The McD QA manager also said they knew coffee temperatures above 145F could cause injury and that the coffee was too hot to be consumed by any guest. 

I won't post pictures here but feel free to search for third degree burn pictures and let me know if you think that kind of injury is equivalent to a "pizza burn". 

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We'll  just have to disagree.  My point is that a $3 million dollar award was reduced to $640 thousand and then reduced even further in an out of court settlement after the threat of another appeal. The relevant point to this discussion is that even if this ever goes to court, a jury can award anything but the final outcome can be very different. 

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1 hour ago, Crown&AnchorEsq said:

@MrMarc with regards to the forum selection clause in the cruise contract, that really only applies to "consumer complaints"  the BI/Wrongful death tort claims follow the usually common law choice of laws principles.

Emphasis mine.  

Going to attorneys immediately after an accident is more common than you think, especially when they're knocking on your door.  Publicity issues aside, if you are in an accident, particularly if its a situation where you have a good claim (say you get rear-ended) its not a bad idea to get an attorney involved asap just to make sure that all evidence is preserved.  Just because you hire an attorney does not mean that you have to file suit.  I'd have to check the statute of limitations in Puerto Rico but my guess is that suit wont be filed for at least a few years. (Statute is  3 years for tort (bodily injury) claims in most jurisdictions.)

The publicity...that's an attorney's strategy choice.  The client needs to approve it to some extent, but here Winkelman wants to control the narrative and get out in front of the grandfather being the sole cause of this accident.  As many have alluded "litigating in the news" is also a time-honored strategy, it provides some leverage to get the case settled or prevent it from dragging out.

From the one cruise ship case i did many years ago, I seem to recall that the forum selection either from the cruise contract or steamship statutes applied to personal injuries.  i do know that the statute of limitations is changed to 1 year and is, or at least was, enforced by the Federal Courts fairly strictly.  I agree that that may be the goal, but he may be doing the family a great disservice by speaking before he knows the facts.  That would not make him unique among attorneys I have known.

 

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8 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Thank you! I'm so glad someone said something about this because citing the McDonald's coffee case as an example of frivolous lawsuits is such a pet peeve of mine. McDonald's propaganda campaign sure did a number on public perception. 

With all due respect....coffee is hot. FACT. This is common sense. Therefore sueing a company (i.e. McDonald's) for selling hot coffee is the definition of a frivolous lawsuit. 

RC need to stand its ground and not pay a dime for this clear act of neglect by the grandfather. (Plus he should go to jail for negligence homicide)

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2 hours ago, Jmccaffrey said:

With all due respect....coffee is hot. FACT. This is common sense. Therefore sueing a company (i.e. McDonald's) for selling hot coffee is the definition of a frivolous lawsuit. 

Another example is when a RV company was sued for not clearly stating that cruise control is not autopilot..... the man was driving on a highway and hit cruise control. Then got up and made himself a cup of coffee.... the RV crashed.... He sued and won.... how is this allowed..

RC need to stand its ground and not pay a dime for this clear act of neglect by the grandfather. (Plus he should go to jail for negligence homicide)

I think you can agree that coffee that you are going to drink should not be served hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns within 3-5 seconds. THAT is where the negligence comes into play. Not that it was hot. That it was excessively hot and they knew about this and chose to ignore. Spilled coffee shouldn't require surgery and skin grafts. I won't argue with you that frivolous lawsuits exist. That RV one sounds like a perfect example, if true. I was simply stating that many, many people think they know the facts of the McDonald's case because they heard about it on the news, but what was reported at the time was drastically oversimplified and misrepresented. 

Anyway, back to the topic in this thread, I do agree that it is absurd to sue Royal over this and I think it's pretty obvious that this is a desperate ploy of a mourning family to blame someone else. It's a very sad situation all around, but I don't see how this is RCI's fault. 

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1 hour ago, Jmccaffrey said:

With all due respect....coffee is hot. FACT. This is common sense. Therefore sueing a company (i.e. McDonald's) for selling hot coffee is the definition of a frivolous lawsuit. 

Another example is when a RV company was sued for not clearly stating that cruise control is not autopilot..... the man was driving on a highway and hit cruise control. Then got up and made himself a cup of coffee.... the RV crashed.... He sued and won.... how is this allowed..

RC need to stand its ground and not pay a dime for this clear act of neglect by the grandfather. (Plus he should go to jail for negligence homicide)

A quick search shows that the RV story is completely fake. It never happened. It's been repeated over the years with the details changed every time. Just another example of how fake stories like this and the coffee make people think that Americans shouldn't seek out justice from corporations that are negligent. 

 

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/cruise-uncontrol/

https://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20050203/news/605209362

https://www.chron.com/news/casey/article/Incredible-lawsuit-tales-1826357.php 

 

Was Royal negligent by having a small open window on the 11th deck? Probably not IMO.  But if the family thinks they can prove they were it is their right as Americans to seek justice through the court system. 

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Ok, I just looked over the deck plans of the ship and from what the news is saying, as well as from the deck plans they were somewhere close to the Solarium on the ship which is not near a children's play area.  The pool is a bit of a distance from where they state that they were at.  From what I am seeing they were in the area in between the pool and the Solarium, I am not throwing stones, there are just a few things that just are not making sense here whatsoever.  And what is even worse is that the child had to loose her life over a lack of God given common sense.  Even if I would have placed my child up there and there was a closed window I would have had my arm wrapped around her the entire time just in case she slipped or something.  I honestly would not have put her up there but if I did my arms would not have left her the entire time she was there.  Such a sad tragedy that was ENTIRELY preventable!!!

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Not saying the Grandfather is lying or just trying make excuses. But out of the 5 Royal sailings I've been on thus far, I have seen windows open on the pool deck during embarkation day on all of them. I was able to easily tell they were open even from 15 to 20 feet away, let alone being up close. Furthermore, none of those windows being open were any danger to children as they were still wayyy too high for kids to go over, unless of course it's through a poor judgement by an adult. Any common sense would tell you to at least feel whether there's a window there if you really couldn't tell, before letting your 2 year old toddler lean against it.

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Someone mentioned that this attorney has specialized in litigating against cruise lines. My guess is that he jumped on the case and approached the family, convinced them that they were entitled to damages, and offered to represent them. They are so stunned and in such grief that they acquiesced, not knowing what the lawyer would say to the press. Of course his story is nonsense, the cruise line is not responsible for what was poor judgement and an unfortunate accident. All of us who have children can recall a time or two when the child ALMOST had an accident, or had an accident that could have turned out worse than it did . . . . and sometimes the worst happens. We've seen relatives toss the baby into the air and heard their heads bump the ceiling. Parents have accidentally backed the car over their own children, but haven't gone looking for someone to sue, and no one thought for a minute that it was anything other than a tragic accident. In this case, the grandfather's vision may be failing and he thought there was a closed window. Or maybe he thought there was enough distance between the rail and the open window.  Should they be suing his ophthalmologist, then? I don't think so. We just need to support them in their time of grief.

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On 7/10/2019 at 9:39 PM, Zambia-Zaire said:

 

Valid points and could very possibly be the case...however, as far as my point is concern...a statement was made, "Why is Winkleman making such an effort to be so public about this?  A presser within 24 hours of the incident?" A very classic play is at hand here, of public pressure to force protection of brand name(make publicity quickly go away & settle), while gaining public sympathy for the accused, whom face possible charges...not unusual at all.

I totally agree that the attorney is trying to frame the narrative as this big rich corporation couldn't bother to make a safe playing area and they should suffer. I'm certainly not saying I agree with the attorney or his tactics of twisting public opinion. But I'm not surprised that this is how he's going to play it. It's likely to be pretty successful unfortunately. 

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3 hours ago, tiny blonde said:

Someone mentioned that this attorney has specialized in litigating against cruise lines. My guess is that he jumped on the case and approached the family, convinced them that they were entitled to damages, and offered to represent them. They are so stunned and in such grief that they acquiesced, not knowing what the lawyer would say to the press. Of course his story is nonsense, the cruise line is not responsible for what was poor judgement and an unfortunate accident. All of us who have children can recall a time or two when the child ALMOST had an accident, or had an accident that could have turned out worse than it did . . . . and sometimes the worst happens. We've seen relatives toss the baby into the air and heard their heads bump the ceiling. Parents have accidentally backed the car over their own children, but haven't gone looking for someone to sue, and no one thought for a minute that it was anything other than a tragic accident. In this case, the grandfather's vision may be failing and he thought there was a closed window. Or maybe he thought there was enough distance between the rail and the open window.  Should they be suing his ophthalmologist, then? I don't think so. We just need to support them in their time of grief.

Finally someone making sense.

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RCCL is absolutely NOT responsible for this terrible tragedy.  The grandpa made a poor choice.  Cruise lines are not responsible for a passenger’s actions.  I have sailed on numerous RC cruises including FOS.  Never at any point was there a question on whether or not a window was open or not.  This attorney that this family has quickly hired keeps referring to a window left open in a “kid zone”  ummm the cruise is basically a “kid zone “ this hole story is just awful and I think the intention here with regards to this attorney is to rally against the cruise line.  It’s absolutely horrible what happened to this child but the only blame here should be at the family.

 

Edited by Corgilover1

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On 7/9/2019 at 10:07 AM, cookingyo said:

It pisses me off that the family and their lawyer are trying to blame Royal and save some face for the inept grandfather and his actions.  Let's face it.  Grandpop messed up and it cost him his granddaughters life.  He is not the victim.  It's that simple. I don't care that the child used to pound on hockey glass or whatever.  This is a 150 foot high cruise ship and not a hockey rink. Even if it was solid glass it is negligent to allow a child to pound on glass, especially exterior glass. I can see RCCL placing fixed glass in those spots to settle this case along with shelling out some $$$$$$$.

 

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Time for someone to grow a set and stand up to these ambulance chasing lawyers!! 

RC should just say " see you in court" 

No out of court settlement! Let the facts and truth be heard! Maybe then it will reduce the amount of ridiculous lawsuits thats settled out of court.

The only reason people take such actions is they know it will more than likely end in settlememt making them richer even if it was their own fault.  

 

 

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So, thanks to the lawyers,  all these windows will end up locked closed and everyone in these areas will be too hot and, in the smoking areas affected, shrouded in smoke. The windows provide necessary air circulation. 

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2 minutes ago, Greguk said:

So, thanks to the lawyers,  all these windows will end up locked closed and everyone in these areas will be too hot and, in the smoking areas affected, shrouded in smoke. The windows provide necessary air circulation. 

Plus cruise fares go up to cover the cost.  The cost to defend themselves (millions) plus the cost of any settlement.  

We all get to pay for this guy's new boat.  

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Oh, now we have the "hidden hole" theory (https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/missing-piece-that-will-solve-how-baby-chloe-plunged-to-her-death/news-story/ef75a969590006252f485312aec1cf7c).

We all refer to this simply as an open window. Their attorney claims there were no other open windows (a.k.a. "hidden holes") on that part of the ship... very highly doubtful.

I also love how the attorney and many of the news outlets only show pictures taken at night when it is in fact harder to tell, but the fact remains that this occurred before dinner (at 5:00 PM based on all prior accounts). It was full daylight at that time and I find it difficult to believe that one would not be able to distinguish that the window was open based on the green tinting. Once again, only by lifting the toddler over 4 feet into the air and resting her on a HANDrail could this have ever happened.

The window where Chloe fell to her death on board the 'Freedom of the Seas' cruise ship

Stealing a pic from @coneyraven ...

Window.jpg

Generic pic of H2O Zone on Freedom on the Seas showing how visible all of the open windows are...

image.thumb.png.ed785b479bdb75137f93fd58958fd41c.png

 

It's interesting to see what another high profile maritime lawyer had to say about this very case (see same link):

... But Miami-based maritime lawyer Jim Walker says proving negligence won’t be an easy feat for the family.

“In order for a cruise line to be legally liable for this child’s death, the family’s lawyer must prove that the cruise line acted unreasonably and that the cruise line knew or should have known of the specific danger on its ship,” he told news.com.au. “This will be an exceedingly difficult burden for the lawyer to meet in this very sad and tragic set of circumstances. “Without evidence (prior incidents or proof that the cruise line knew of a dangerous condition on the cruise ship) the chances are slim that the court (if suit is filed) would permit this case to proceed to a jury trial,” he added.

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39 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

Oh, now we have the "hidden hole" theory (https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/missing-piece-that-will-solve-how-baby-chloe-plunged-to-her-death/news-story/ef75a969590006252f485312aec1cf7c).

We all refer to this simply as an open window. Their attorney claims there were no other open windows (a.k.a. "hidden holes") on that part of the ship... very highly doubtful.

I also love how the attorney and many of the news outlets only show pictures taken at night when it is in fact harder to tell, but the fact remains that this occurred before dinner (at 5:00 PM based on all prior accounts). It was full daylight at that time and I find it difficult to believe that one would not be able to distinguish that the window was open based on the green tinting. Once again, only by lifting the toddler over 4 feet into the air and resting her on a HANDrail could this have ever happened.

The window where Chloe fell to her death on board the 'Freedom of the Seas' cruise ship

Stealing a pic from @coneyraven ...

Window.jpg

Generic pic of H2O Zone on Freedom on the Seas showing how visible all of the open windows are...

image.thumb.png.ed785b479bdb75137f93fd58958fd41c.png

 

It's interesting to see what another high profile maritime lawyer had to say about this very case (see same link):

... But Miami-based maritime lawyer Jim Walker says proving negligence won’t be an easy feat for the family.

“In order for a cruise line to be legally liable for this child’s death, the family’s lawyer must prove that the cruise line acted unreasonably and that the cruise line knew or should have known of the specific danger on its ship,” he told news.com.au. “This will be an exceedingly difficult burden for the lawyer to meet in this very sad and tragic set of circumstances. “Without evidence (prior incidents or proof that the cruise line knew of a dangerous condition on the cruise ship) the chances are slim that the court (if suit is filed) would permit this case to proceed to a jury trial,” he added.

The plaintiff needs to prove actual and/or constructive notice which is close to null as what this attorney is definitely considered a "chaser". If plaintiff moves to file suit, RCCL will move for Summary Judgment.

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This is a no win situation for Royal.  The lawyer may have made what appears to be bizarre statements to those of us who know better, but in the court of public opinion,  most people have no idea that those windows are blatantly obvious when open and that it's not in a children's play area.  It's not going to look good if Royal fights this family and I believe the lawyer knows exactly what he's doing to extract the biggest payout.

I can't help but compare this incident to the family who lost their toddler son to an alligator attack at Disney's Grand Floridian and I have the upmost respect for them and how they handled it.  They did not immediately hire a publicity seeking lawyer threatening to sue and demanding answers from Disney through the media.  They quietly worked with Disney to reach a settlement and created a foundation to help children and honor their son's memory.  A stark difference with how this current tragedy is being handled so far, but we all deal with things differently.  

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I assume while the ship was docked in San Juan today, the investigators and lawyers did more investigating.  This is probably when Winkelman or his team got their first look at the actual area in question.  I'm looking forward to hearing an update from him saying, "Sorry, my bad.  I realize now how preposterous my theory was."  One can dream.

 

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OK, I know I made the most recent posting on this thread, and I certainly wasn't thinking about the family when I wrote it last night.  I don't regret anything snarky I say about the attorney, but I just got a huge reminder about what this family is going through.  The family is from a town literally 10 minutes south of where I live (I've known that since the event happened), but I just read the obituary.  The memorial service took place this afternoon with visitation until this evening.  Apparently Chloe was a preemie, given her low birth weight and early medical scares, which I can relate to as the mother of 32-week preemie who, thank God, is now a healthy 16-year old.  For her to die the way she did, in such happy circumstances (family vacation) after overcoming problems at birth just takes my breath away. :41_pensive:

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/kpcnews/obituary.aspx?n=chloe-wiegand&pid=193383989&fhid=8595

 

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