A class action lawsuit has been filed against Costa Cruise line and its parent company, Carnival Cruise lines, on behalf of passengers who were on the Costa Concordia when it ran aground and capsized off the coast of Italy.
At least six passengers have filed lawsuits against the companies in Miami, but a clause in the tickets bought by the 4,200 passengers stipulates that any such lawsuits must be filed in the venue of the cruise line company’s choice. In this case, Italy. The clauses have been upheld by previous Supreme Court decisions.
The Costa Concordia ran aground on January 13 after it sailed too close to an Italian island. The ship tipped over and passengers had to abandon ship. At least 16 are dead and another 16 are missing.
The ship still lies off the coast of Italy and there are concerns that the fuel stores could leak and cause an environmental disaster.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Miami seeks class action status to represent all the passengers of the sunken cruise ship. The lawsuit claims that passengers suffered mental stress and seeks $460 million in damages.
Costa has offered to pay only about $14,460 to each passenger for stress and lost luggage. The company has also offered to refund their tickets and reimburse travel and medical expenses.
At least one crew member has also filed a lawsuit against Costa and Carnival in Chicago. That lawsuit also seeks class action status and $100 million in damages.
The captain of the vessel, Francesco Schettino, is under house arrest. He stands accused of having steered the vessel off course and of abandoning ship before evacuations were complete. A tape has surfaced in which an Italian Coast Guard officer can be heard ordering Schettino back to the ship to oversee the evacuation and help save lives.