Three weeks after an accident on his Norwegian Cruise Line vacation, 8-year-old Giovani Reyes is learning how to walk again.
The child fell while playing basketball on the 4,248-passenger Norwegian Escape, suffering severe brain damage, according to a legal filing. A surveillance video taken of the court on April 25, the day of the accident, could give doctors some clue as to what happened — but the Miami-based cruise line has declined to release it.
In a filing in Miami-Dade court early this month, the western New Jersey family asked a judge to compel the cruise line to turn over the tape so that doctors may better understand the nature of the injury.
“All our efforts to look at or obtain the video have been ignored by NCL,” said Thomas Scolaro, an attorney on the case and a partner at Miami-based Leesfield Scolaro, P.A.
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The family was on a seven-day vacation from Miami with stops in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; and Nassau in The Bahamas. When Giovani fell, he “sustained a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury,” according to the filing. Neither parent was present at the time of the accident.
The child was immediately rushed off the ship and tendered to Puerto Rico, where he was treated at el Hospital Pediatrico Universitario Rio Piedras, a pediatric hospital in San Juan, according to the filing. He remained there in critical condition, the filing said.
Since that time, his condition has somewhat improved and he is learning how to walk again, Scolaro said.
But before disembarking, Michael Wolfarth, Giovani's stepfather, requested to see the video footage of the accident. According to the filing, “his request was refused,” as was his request for an explanation on the circumstances of the fall.
Norwegian Cruise Line has until May 31 to respond to the complaint. When asked for comment, a Norwegian spokeswoman said it is the cruise line’s policy to not comment on legal matters.
Filing a lawsuit is still an option for the family, Scolaro said.