A Florida state appellate court ruled Wednesday that lawsuits filed by a group of predominantly foreign passengers aboard the Costa Concordia cruise ship when it sank off the coast of Italy in 2012 can’t try their case in Miami-Dade — or anywhere in the U.S.
Instead, the 57 plaintiffs, five of whom are American, will have to take their case to Italy, the location of the crash and the evidence, wrote Judge Barbara Lagoa in the Third District Court of Appeal’s unanimous decision. The suits were filed against Miami architect Joseph Farcus; Costa; its parent company, Doral-based Carnival Corp., and several other entities.
“Litigating in Florida would result in material and manifest injustice to Carnival because the vast majority of evidence is located in Italy, as are virtually all of the witnesses,” Lagoa wrote.
During a week-long voyage to Savona, Italy, the Costa Concordia, ran aground when its captain sailed the ship close to the island of Giglio, causing it to collide with an underwater reef. Thirty two people died.
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This is the end of it.
Thad Dameris, attorney
Lawyers sued the cruise line in U.S. courts, using U.S. plaintiffs as “anchors” in cases that involved mainly foreign plaintiffs, said attorney Thad Dameris of Arnold & Porter, who was among the lawyers representing Carnival. About 100 of the 3,200-plus passenger aboard were Americans.
Cases in other U.S. states were dismissed on the grounds that the U.S. was not the appropriate place to try the cases, said Dameris. The remaining cases were also dismissed, but for other reasons.
“This is the end of it,” in the U.S., said Dameris, who represented the parent company along with another lawyer from Arnold & Porter and a laywer from the New York firm of Blank Rome.
32 Number of people who died in Costa Concordia accident
Attorney Louise Caro of Napoli Shkolnik in Miami, who represented the plaintiffs, did not return a message requesting comment.
Several cases linger in Italian court against Costa cruise line.