A complaint was filed in federal court in Chicago on January 26, 2012 for at least $100 million over the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that capsized near Italy's coast earlier this month. Captain Francesco Schettino has been accused of causing the accident by steering to close to the shore and then abandoning the ship as it sank. The Costa Concordia was carrying about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members when it struck a rock, tearing a 160-foot hole in its hull, causing the vessel to capsize. The disaster claimed the lives of at least 16 people and at least 22 more people are still missing.
The complaint was filed by Gary Lobaton, a Costa Concordia crew member who is seeking class action status to represent all victims of the disaster. He alleges that "the defendants failed to properly and timely notify all plaintiffs on board of the deadly and dangerous condition of the cruise ship as to avoid injury and death." Lobaton also states that the passengers and crew "were abandoned by the captain."
The lawsuit seeks damages for an alleged violation of the Athens Convention for safely carrying passengers at sea, breach of contract, negligence, and unjust enrichment against Carnival and Carnival's Costa Crociere unit in Italy. Punitive damages are also being sought for at least $100 million in damages.
Costa has offered approximately $14,460 as a settlement to the uninjured passengers who survived the tragedy.
Donald Boyajian, managing partner of Dreyer Boyajian LLP was interviewed by Fox 23 News regarding Costa Cruise Lines' $14,460 settlement offer on Friday evening. He stated that if passengers accept the settlement deal, they would most likely give up their right to bring a lawsuit in the future, the offer being a tactical economic decision by Costa as the company is likely trying to avoid as many lawsuits as possible. Read the entire Fox 23 News article here.
The attorneys at Dreyer Boyajian LLP have extensive experience in maritime law, including actions brought under the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act. In 2003, our firm was involved in the litigation concerning a Dutch cargo ship called the Stellamare that capsized in the Port of Albany, resulting in several deaths and other catastrophic injuries.