A jury in the case of Jane Doe v Carnival Corporation d/b/a Carnival Cruise Line Case Number 19-24766, pending in federal court for the Southern District of Florida, returned a verdict in the amount of $10,200,000 on July 18, 2022 for a passenger who was raped by a crew member on the Carnival Miracle.
The highlights are contained in part in a decision of a federal magistrate who ruled on various pretrial motions filed by the parties and reported in Doe v. Carnival Corporation 2021 WL 7540787. In relevant parts, the decision states:
Facts alleged by Jane Doe
“Jane Doe was a passenger on Carnival’s ship, Miracle, and in the early hours of December 2, 2018, she alleges that Carnival crew member Fredy Anggara raped her in a storage closet.”
The complaint (lawsuit) filed by Jane Doe’s attorney further alleges additional details, including:
The incident occurred on “December 1, 2018”;
This was Washington State resident Jane Doe’s “first cruise”;
“On the last night of the cruise in question, Jane Doe climbed a stairwell. At the top was a CARNIVAL employee (see photo taken in discovery);
Once Jane Doe reached the top of the stairs, the employee involved pulled Jane Doe into a (maintenance) closet. He entered the closet with her, locked the door, raped her and ejaculated on her;
Afterwards, he unlocked the closet door and let DOE go;
Jane Doe immediately rushed to her room. The assailant caught up with her and asked her to let him into his room. Jane Doe declined his request;
Once Jane Doe reached her room, she burst into tears and told her friend what had just happened.
Jane Doe and her friend went to get help and report what had happened;
Jane Doe began hyperventilating and having panic attacks;
Jane Doe located employees of the defendant to report the crime;
Cruise staff members placed Jane Doe in a wheelchair and took her to the ship’s medical facility where staff used a rape kit on her and gave her medication to consume in order to combat the sexually transmitted diseases she might have contracted during the rape.
Jane Doe suffered many bouts of humiliation following the medical examination where she had to walk through dozens of passengers waiting to disembark from the ship. They ogled her as she walked through them wearing just a t-shirt as she had no clean clothes to wear; and
After the cruise, Jane Doe followed up with CARNIVAL to see if the employee in question had been fired, if any disciplinary action had been taken and/or if he had been arrested. CARNIVAL did not answer.
Upon discovery, Carnival responded to the rape by claiming through its representative Suzie Vasquez (a lawyer) that on Carnival’s cruise ships, allegedly “sexual assaults are actually very, very rare.” . .”
Cruise Expert – Dr. Ross Klein
Before the trial, Carnival tried to bar notable cruise expert Dr. Ross Klein, who is the author of the popular CruiseJunkie website, from testifying about the frequency of rape aboard Carnival cruise ships. Dr. Klein has previously testified as an expert before both houses of Congress regarding issues of crime on cruise ships. His opinions are attached. Jane Doe’s attorney sought to elicit evidence from Dr. Klein that Carnival noticed that Mr. Anggara, Carnival’s attacker, was likely to assault passengers. Carnival attempted to block Dr. Klein’s testimony that:
- The cruise industry as a whole, and Carnival Cruise Line in particular, is aware of the problem of rape, sexual assault and sex-related incidents on cruise ships, including the incidence of rape, sexual assault and sex-related incidents on Carnival Cruise Ships.
- Carnival Cruise Line has failed to use available data to conduct social epidemiological analysis of crimes on its ships for the purpose of targeted and specific strategies to prevent rape, sexual assault, and gender-related incidents.
- Customers have an increased sense of safety thanks to promotional materials for Carnival Cruise Lines cruises and the publication of rape and sexual assault crime statistics on its website.
- Jane Doe’s sexual assault was to some extent predictable given the cruise line’s knowledge of past sex-related incidents, alcohol consumption on Carnival ships, and its failure to implement reasonable initiatives to solve the problem of rape, sexual assault and sex. -related incidents on board Carnival ships.
In an order dismissing Carnival’s motion in its entirety, the federal magistrate ruled that Dr. Klein was qualified, that his methodology was reliable and that his testimony was useful to the jury.
Jane Doe’s attorney filed a motion seeking sanctions against Carnival for what he alleged was the willful misconduct of Carnival’s defense attorney and the cruise line representative (see Exhibit 303).
Rape case against Carnival Cruise Line
In the year before COVID-19 crippled the cruise industry, there were more than 100 sexual assaults on cruise ships, according to DOT cruise crime statistics which break down as follows: :
- Carnival Cruise Line: 43 victims of sexual assault (37 passengers).
- Royal Caribbean: 31 sexual victims (20 passengers).
I attended a 2007 hearing before Congress regarding cruise ship crime where a senior FBI official testified that only 7% of sexual assaults on cruise ships are prosecuted in federal court.
This low prosecution rate is due to the FBI’s historical reluctance to get involved in sex crimes at sea, the cruise industry’s tendency to sweep crimes under the rug, and the unwitting or intentional destruction of evidence on cruise ships.
Carnival Cruise Line leads the cruise industry with the highest number of sexual assaults
The US Congress has studied the issues of rape aboard cruise ships. The cruise industry trade organization CLIA has argued that cruise ship crime rates per capita should be based on the total number of people cruising in a year (about 30,000,000 people). cruises this year) rather than the average number of people occupying cruise ships on any given day. . By analogy, per capita crime statistics for US cities are calculated based on the number of people in a city. Tourists who visit the city during the year are obviously not counted as residents. Imagine how crime statistics for New York City would be diluted if, instead of calculating crime rates based on the number of people in the city (about 8 million), that number was inflated to include each of the most of 60 million people who visit the city every year.
Congress rejected CLIA’s argument and concluded that cruise crime statistics per capita should be calculated based on the average number of passengers sailing at any given time, not the annual number of passengers.
Using Congressional Methodology to Determine Sexual Assault Rate Gives a Per Capita Rate for Carnival Cruise Line by nearly 40 (39.6) per 100,000. This number is calculated by taking the number of sexual assaults on Carnival ships reported to the FBI in the last 12 months of 2019 (43), and dividing by the total number of people on Carnival’s fleet of ships (approximately 75,000 passengers and approximately 33,500 crew for a total of 108,500).
The per capita sexual assault rate on Carnival ships of 40 per 100,000 is significant. (Please note that this is my opinion based on the data I have reviewed; this is not necessarily the opinion of Dr. Klein). That’s a higher per capita rate than California, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Georgia (and more than a dozen other states). The rate on Carnival ships is higher than the average rape rate per capita in the United States, which is about 27.
Jane Doe’s Lawyer – Daniel Courtney
Jane Doe is represented by Miami attorney Daniel Cortney. This is a significant verdict that demonstrates the seriousness of the case and the victim’s injuries. Kudos to Mr. Courtney and his staff for their excellent work on this case.
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Image credit: Carnival Miracle – Master0Garfield – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia (top); CRUISEMAPPER (bottom).