The Miami Herald reports that a Miami judge has flattened the 70 foot rogue wave that stuck a cruise ship from class-action status to individual lawsuits. While it is true that each of the passengers would have unique injuries or losses, it appears that all of the potential claims would have the same liability issues to litigate. One advantage of a class action approach to the cases would be the judicial economy of having only one trial on liability. But, Judge Altonaga did not call me for advice.
A federal judge in Miami has denied class-action status in a $100 million negligence lawsuit filed by passengers aboard a cruise ship that was struck by a 70-foot rogue wave in April 2005.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga means that the lawsuit will not automatically cover the more than 2,000 passengers who were aboard the 965-foot Norwegian Dawn when it encountered heavy seas off South Carolina.
In a 20-page decision filed earlier this month, Altonaga said that not all passengers suffered equally in the incident, and many have said they suffered no injury at all.
The wave, which reached as high as deck 10 of the liner, broke windows, flooded cabins and sent furniture flying inside the ship.