Carnival, et al. move to dismiss US Costa Concordia suit
MOSCOW, January 15 - RAPSI. Carnival Corporation and co-defendants on Monday filed to dismiss for forum non conveniens a civil case arising from 2012’s deadly Costa Concordia cruise ship crash off the coast of Italy, which was launched in a federal district court in Illinois.
According to a copy of the motion obtained by RAPSI, plaintiff Gary Lobaton, launched the present claim on behalf of approximately 4,200 passengers and crewmembers.
Defendants include Carnival Corporation, Carnival PLC, Costa Cociere SpA, and ten “John Does.” In its motion, defense asserted that the three corporations “have distinct corporate identities and are separate legal entities.”
Costa Crociere, an Italian company headquartered in Genoa, is the sole owner of the Costa Concordia. Its parent company Carnival PLC, incorporated in England and Wales, lacks any direct control of Costa Crociere’s daily operations. Defense states that Carnival Corporation, which is incorporated in Panama and headquartered in Florida, is separate from Carnival PLC.
Defense argues that, “This case is about an Italian cruise ship accident, involves evidence that is almost entirely in Italy, and should therefore be dismissed based on forum non conveniens.”
Under US law, the doctrine of forum non conveniens provides that a court may decline to exercise jurisdiction over a case if there isn’t a strong connection between the given jurisdiction and the facts of the case, and thus another jurisdiction may be better equipped to adjudicate the case. According to the relevant case law, “[t]his occurs when there is an adequate alternative forum and the balance of private and public interest factors favors dismissal.”
Defense urges that Italy would be an appropriate forum for the plaintiffs’ claims based on the following factors: defendants have consented to the jurisdiction of Italian courts; Italy offers a remedy for the plaintiffs’ injuries; and there is a class action procedure available of class action procedures for both passengers and crew members.
Defense further elaborated on various private and public interests that would be served were the claim to be launched in the Italian court system.
Costa Concordia carrying 4,200 people sank off the Tuscany coast in the Tyrrhenian Sea after hitting a reef.
The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, has been under house arrest on accusations of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and leaving the vessel before ensuring the safety of the passengers. He has denied the charges.