A Florida state appellate court has ruled that lawsuits filed by a group of predominantly foreign passengers on board the Costa Concordia when it sank can’t try their case in Miami-Dade — or anywhere in the U.S.
The ruling, made on Wednesday by Judge Barbara Lagoa in the Third District Court of Appeal, means that the 57 plaintiffs, five of whom are American, will have to take their injury compensation cases to Italy.
The suits were filed against Carnival Corporation, Costa Crociere and Miami architect Joseph Farcus.
“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.
This is the end of it in the U.S., said attorney Thad Dameris, who represented the parent company along with another lawyer from Arnold & Porter and a laywer from the New York firm of Blank Rome.
On January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia sank off the Tuscan holiday island of Giglio. 32 people died in the incident. In a maneuver described in court as a “salute to a retired cruise line commodore,” Captain Francesco Schettino brought the Concordia close in to the island where she hit a rock, tearing a long hole in her side. Flooding disabled the main engines and she drifted in to shore, eventually coming to rest on the rocks. The shipwreck set off a chaotic evacuation of more than 4,000 passengers and crew.
In 2015, Schettino was convicted of multiple counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years. Investigators severely criticized his handling of the disaster, accusing him of delaying evacuation and abandoning ship before all the 4,229 passengers and crew had been rescued.
The court document is available here.