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The family of a 76-year-old Kentucky man was awarded over $2 million this month after his death from a burning incident in a motel shower, according to news outlets.

The incident happened in 2021 while the man was on a business trip. When he got in the shower, hot water estimated in the lawsuit to be 150 degrees Fahrenheit scalded him. The man fell and was unable to get up until coworkers who heard him screaming rushed into the bathroom to help. The man had third-degree burns following the incident and died seven months later after spending most of his time in and out of hospitals. Third-degree burns affect the deeper layers of the skin and burn down to the fatty tissue. They require immediate medical attention. 

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the grieving family did not specify what caused the water to come out at 150 degrees. A judgment filed earlier this month stated that the hotel failed to properly inspect and maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. 

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In the same way as the popular saying, “April showers bring May Flowers,” summertime liberties can breed several injuries. 

Though it might not be as catchy, the latter is no less true. With an increase in outdoor activities, recreation, and travel, the warmer season has a propensity for injury. With the warm and sunny weather outside and school out for anywhere between two and three months for summer vacation, many families take the opportunity to travel, go on cruises, and or try recreational activities they are not accustomed to in their everyday lives such as go-karting, parasailing, or jet skiing. 

Cruise Ship Injuries 

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A woman sues SeaWorld after being injured at its Aquatica water park on a slide last year when another patron “violently colliding” with her.

The woman was visiting SeaWorld’s Aquatica in Orlando when she said she went on a slide that had no lifeguard stationed outside of it to monitor when patrons had safely gone down the slide and give permission for the next person to go. Before the woman got off her water slide, another adult guest got on and “violently colliding” with her, causing her permanent injury, her attorneys said in the lawsuit. 

This story is, unfortunately, not unique. A 7-year-old at Jungle Island in Miami visiting the park with his summer camp was luckily saved by a lifeguard who saw the child, not wearing a life vest, struggling in the water. The lifeguard performed CPR on the child who had to be taken to the hospital where he went into cardiac arrest but, thankfully, came out of the ordeal safely, according to previous reporting of the incident. 

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Cruise ships at Port Miami will be able to plug into the county’s power grid – a move that officials say will boost the local economy by attracting more cruise lines to the area while cutting down on pollution.

There’s just one problem. More ships means an increase in the possibility of cruise ship injuries, a practice area that Leesfield & Partners knows all too well. 

The decision was spurred by sustainability efforts from Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava who told reporters in an article published in The Miami Herald that the project would bring the county that much closer to cutting down on its carbon emissions. 

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Basking in the sun or heading to a cholesterol-raising buffet for the fourth time in a single morning, no one thinks about the dangers aboard cruise ships. Statistics show, however, that cruises are riddled with all kinds of hazards. From sexual assaults to falls resulting in broken bones or requiring surgery, Leesfield & Partners has represented just about every injury aboard these massive holiday vessels. 

When stories are spread in the media about cruise medical care and its often devastating consequences, Leesfield & Partners attorneys know that it is unfortunately not all that uncommon. Some people simply do not receive the care they require while others are left to suffer from illnesses or injuries because a cruise doctor refuses to evacuate them. In some cases, cruise ships will abandon a sick passenger in a foreign country to continue on its journey with the other passengers. This is much like the case of an elderly passenger represented by the law firm who suffered a hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke, according to the National Institute of Health, is a bleeding in the brain caused by a ruptured blood vessel. The passenger was able to disembark from the ship in the Bahamas for emergency transfer back to Broward County, Florida. The cruise line never verified that the airport would be open and the woman was left to wait at the closed airport where she died waiting to be transferred.  

Fortunately for a grandmother heading to the Bahamas on a Carnival Cruise Ship, the outcome was very different. 

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While packing sunscreen or researching potential sights to see, no one expects that their long-awaited cruise vacation might end in tragedy. However, in its decades of practice, Leesfield & Partners has seen all too well just how easily these trips can take a turn for the worse. 

Whether it be crashes on excursion buses, slipping on decks void of regulation handrails or an on-board medical professional refusing to evacuate a guest, Leesfield & Partners has seen families through it all. These tragic injuries have changed the lives of cruise ship guests, employees, and their loved ones, forever marring what should have been a beautiful memory of a relaxing getaway or just another day at work. 

In 2023, approximately 7.3 million people went through Port Miami on their way to their cruises.

In 2023, approximately 7.3 million people went through Port Miami on their way to their cruises.

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A family cruise turned tragic when a parasailing excursion went awfully wrong, taking the life of a mother and wife. During the cruise, the mother and daughter purchased a shore excursion offered aboard the cruise ship, a parasail excursion which would take place after the ship docked at one of its scheduled stops.

After the parasail operators sent mom and daughter up in the sky, the rope broke off due to heavy winds and dangerous weather conditions. This resulted in the two passengers to plummet into the water at a very high rate of speed. The force of the impact caused traumatic injuries to daughter and mom sustained fatal injuries.

Leesfield & Partners filed suit against the carrier and the tour operator. The cruise carrier argued that the tour operator was an independent contractor and that the responsibility of the cruise line could not and was not engaged. Ultimately, after several months of litigation, our maritime law attorneys secured a $7.25 million settlement on behalf of the family and daughter.

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Leesfield & Partners attorneys successfully resolved a medical malpractice case on behalf of parents whose 9-month-old baby suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of cruise ship doctors’ malpractice. The important and potentially case dispositive legal issues, in this case, included a passenger ticket contract with restrictive forum selection and choice of law clauses. Unlike 99% of cruise ship ticket contracts this contract called for the application of law from our clients’ home country (United Kingdom). The U.K. is a signatory to the Athens Convention and its draconian cap on damages ($540,000). After strategic local and international litigation, Leesfield & Partners was able to multiply the client’s recovery by more than ten times the cap.

Facts of case were as horrific as the cruise line’s attempt to deny an innocent child justice

In the early days of a Caribbean cruise that departed from the Port of Miami, worried parents took their nine-month-old daughter to the ship’s infirmary. She was pale and lethargic, experiencing tachycardia and dehydration; all classic signs of a life-threatening meningococcal meningitis infection. Lethargy in an infant is a significant neurological change in condition that is a hallmark symptom of meningococcal infections.

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On November 15, 2021, Federal District Judge Kenneth A. Marra remanded an injured maritime crewmember’s case from the Southern District of Florida back to Florida’s Fifteenth Judicial Circuit court, granting Zan Lang’s motion to remand his Jones Act negligence claims. Leesfield & Partners has the honor of representing the injured seaman in the case styled Zan Lang v. Allen Exploration and 6161 LLC, Case No.: 21-81813-CIV-MARRA.  The Jones Act case was originally filed in Florida State Court in West Palm Beach.  Shortly thereafter, the Defendants improperly removed the crewmember Jones Act case to federal court in the Southern District of Florida.  A motion to remand the Jones Act claims was filed, contesting Defendants’ removal of the case.

As alleged in the Complaint, Zan Lang was working as a crewmember onboard the M/Y Gigi and M/Y Axis, vessels owned and operated by Allen Exploration, during the time he was subjected to dangerous and unsafe conditions, overworked without the proper equipment, and caused to suffer serious injuries.  Allen Exploration, an American company, owns a fleet of vessels and operates a maritime treasure hunting operation.  As detailed in the Complaint, the U.S. home base for Allen Exploration is Rybovich Marina, located in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Crewmember Zan Lang worked for Allen Exploration for several months on land in West Palm Beach, Florida, before the underlying voyage began.  Despite the clear connection to Florida, Defendants attempted to remove the Jones Act action to federal court, claiming that Jamaican law should apply and the case should be dismissed.  Removal is the legal process of transferring a lawsuit filed in state court to the United States District Court.  To be entitled to removal Defendant must set forth a valid legal basis.  After removal a Plaintiff can seek to have the case transferred back to state court through a legal process known as remand.  Special rules and law for removal apply to maritime actions and crewmember Jones Act claims.

The order granting remand of Zan Lang’s Jones Act case flatly rejects Defendants legal arguments for removal and having the case heard in federal court, and establishes favorable law for crewmember plaintiffs who are hurt or injured and desire to bring a Jones Act claim against their maritime employer.  As a general legal matter, Jones Act claims cannot be removed to federal court.  Lewis v. Lewis & Clark, 531 U.S. 438, 455 (2001).  However, in Zan Lang’s case the defense attempted to argue that United States law should not apply to his claim, that he has no possibility of establishing a Jones Act claim on the merits, and the prohibition against removal of a Jones Act claim to federal court should therefore not apply.  The court also rejected the Defendants’ position that Zan Lang had an obligation to present affirmative evidence to establish the application of U.S. law at the remand stage, and rejected the application of a summary judgment style approach to resolution utilized in the federal Fifth Circuit, calling into question the holding in Lackey v. Atlantic Richfield Co., 990 F.2d 202 (5th Cir. 1993).  The court ruled that Zan Lang’s election to file his Jones Act lawsuit in West Palm Beach was legally proper, and that Defendants had failed to establish a legal basis to remove his Jones Act maritime negligence claim.

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Ilija Loncar, a crewmember on a cruise ship, was feeling ill and reported to the ship’s doctor mid-voyage. Already feeling nauseous, Ilija threw up in front of the nurse. In response, the ship’s doctor ordered the maximum allowable dose of 25 mg Promethazine by intraveinous injection instead of the manufacturer recommended deep Intramuscular route.

Promethazine hydrochloride is a highly toxic caustic drug – The FDA requires the drug’s manufacturer to include a “black box” on the drug’s labels to warn medical providers about the risk of severe tissue damage if the drug is not administered correctly:


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