Costa Concordia lawsuits multiply, face challenges

The Costa Concordia disaster has prompted a growing number of class-action lawsuits directed at Costa Cruise Lines and its parent company, Carnival Corp.

The financial incentive for filing in the U. S. rather than Italy is strong: damages can far exceed any actual financial loss. Punitive damages may be awarded if the plaintiff demonstrates gross negligence or misconduct on the part of the defendant.

Mitchell Proner, attorney in a Costa Concordia class action suit is seeking $160,000 per person, noting that in some cases, the recovery could be several times that amount.

By contrast, Costa offered each passenger $14,500, plus a refund and travel costs. Proner called the offer “completely inadequate.”

However, U. S.-based class action suits may face significant difficulties stemming from practices within the industry. Specifically, legal clauses in Costa passenger tickets require any lawsuits to be filed in the cruise line’s home jurisdiction. In this case, that would be Genoa, Italy. Traditionally, U. S. courts have upheld such clauses. Proner intends to argue that, because of the serious nature of the disaster, the clause should not apply.

The full report from Reuters can be found here.