Florida attorney Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson has been litigating maritime cases for decades, and when the COSTA CONCORDIA ran aground on Friday, January 13, 2012, he knew Carnival Cruise Lines was in trouble.
The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, made a grave and fatal error when he recklessly veered off-course and into a reef off the coast of Tuscany, grounding the cruise ship and causing it to capsize. The ship turned on its side, flooding its decks and cabins and leaving the terrified passengers and crew scrambling to escape.
Eidson knows that the Athens Convention, which governs vessels’ liability when passengers are injured or killed in ship accidents, allows the victims of the tragedy to recover money from the cruise line. Although the captain’s decision caused the accident at the outset, it’s the cruise line that is ultimately responsible for that decision. “Carnival may try to isolate and to place total blame for the accident on the captain to minimize punitive damages, which could be in the millions of dollars, and to protect their industry and their position of leadership in the industry,” Eidson said.
Eidson further stated that Schettino’s reckless misconduct may not only allow for punitive damages but may also void the Athens Convention’s forum selection clause – a clause that would normally prevent victims from suing Carnival in its principal place of business, which is in Miami-Dade County. If that forum selection clause is voided, Carnival could be subject to suit in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Florida – and if it is, victims of the accident must act quickly.
Mike Eidson is a past president of the American Association for Justice and has nearly 30 years of experience in maritime law and personal injury law. Eidson is one of Florida’s best-known and well-regarded trial attorneys. Since this tragic accident occurred, Eidson has been quoted in stories about the Concordia sinking in USA Today, the Miami Herald, the South Florida Business Journal, Hotel Interactive and the Palm Beach Post.
Eidson is a partner at Colson Hicks Eidson, a nationally-recognized litigation law firm located in South Florida. For more information or to contact Mike Eidson about
Colson Hicks Eidson – Florida Lawyers