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DEFENDANT’S Admiralty law – Alleged negligent placement of luggage in ship corridor – Claimed negligent crowd control – Trip and fall on cruise ship – Traumatic brain injury.

U.S. District Court, Southern, Florida

The plaintiff was a passenger on the defendant’s cruise ship when he tripped and fell over luggage. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s employees negligently permitted a dangerous crowd to form with their luggage in an elevator bank and adjacent corridor of the ship. The defendant denied negligence, and maintained that the crowd and luggage were open and obvious conditions and was not dangerous. The defendant additionally disputed the injuries, which the plaintiff claimed resulted from the fall.

The incident occurred in October ________, as the cruise ship was disembarking port. The plaintiff’s maritime safety expert opined that the defendant was negligent in permitting a crowd with luggage to form, and failing to clear the crowded ship corridor used for pedestrian traffic.

The plaintiff was 74 years old at the time, and was diagnosed with a closed head injury after he tripped and hit his head on the tile flooring. The plaintiff also sustained two subdural hematomas that were drained via burr hole surgery. He alleged that the injury caused declining cognitive functioning, inability to complete activities of daily living, aggravation of hydrocephalus, and sexual dysfunction.

The defendant’s maritime safety expert opined that the crowd and luggage was not unreasonably dangerous, was a common occurrence, and was open and obvious to the plaintiff. The defendant argued that it acted reasonably under the circumstances.

The defense also disputed the damages claimed by the plaintiff, and argued that the plaintiff had suffered a previous traumatic brain injury in ________ that yielded the same deficits of which he now complained. The defendant contended that the plaintiff’s pre-existing hydrocephalus caused his cognitive decline since ________, and the fall on the defendant’s cruise ship did not worsen his condition.After a 30-minutes of deliberation, the jury found no negligence on the part of the defendant that was a legal cause of injury to the plaintiff.

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