Contributors
Charles R. Lipcon

Charles R. Lipcon is the firm's founding attorney and has been handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims for over 40 years.Read More »

Jason R. Marguiles

Jason R. Margulies is an experienced maritime lawyer and an active trial attorney handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims.Read More »

Ricardo V. Alsina

Ricardo V. Alsina is an active trial attorney, handling personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims.Read More »

Michael A. Winkleman

Mr. Winkleman is an active trial and appellate attorney handling all personal injury, cruise line sexual assault and wrongful death claims, as well as complex business disputes.Read More »

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Bill Cosby accused of rapeWith 16 women having come out in recent weeks accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault and abuse, it’s become extremely clear that sexual assault needs to be brought to the forefront – especially sexual assault on cruise ships. Not only is it important for cruise ship rape victims to understand the importance of coming forward with their testimonies, it is equally critical that cruise lines start implementing greater safety measures to prevent these tragedies in the first place.

There are several similarities between the incidents with Cosby and those that happen on board cruise ships. For example, Time Magazine reports that many of the women who accused Cosby of sexual assault remained silent about the abuse during the comedian’s long career, spanning from the 70s to the present. Some of the women say that Cosby drugged them before assaulting them. More shockingly, Cosby’s history of rape would not have reached the public eye had the comedian Hannibal Buress not mentioned it in a comic routine.

Like Cosby’s victims, there are numerous sexual assaults and rapes on cruise ships that never see the light of day. Whether it’s because the victim is afraid to come forward or the cruise line fails to properly investigate the situation, assailants do not always get identified or charged with their actions. Furthermore, cruise lines have an interest in underreporting sexual crimes. For example, although Carnival Cruise Lines reported five rape incidents involving crew members and two incidents of sexual assault for 2013, experts believe these numbers may not be accurate.

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Sun PrincessJust last week, we discussed a rather disturbing video we saw regarding a Carnival Cruise Line passenger who purposefully jumped overboard from the ship as it approached the port of Grand Turk. We say disturbing because there have been 239 cruise passenger overboard accidents in the past decade alone, and this individual’s choice to jump ship makes a mockery out of those victims’ suffering – along with their families’ suffering. This man is lucky to be alive, as it is a rare few that actually survive falling overboard. We don’t know what got into him. Maybe he thought it was funny? Maybe he just wasn’t thinking? Either way, it was a careless decision – and careless is putting it lightly.

Overboard accidents are no laughing matter. Hundreds of people have lost their lives after falling overboard – and many of these accidents remain unsolved cruise passenger disappearance crimes and mysteries to this date. Purposefully jumping off the ship is an extremely dangerous thing to do. If you feel the urge to jump, jump into the pool on your ship, or jump up and down on your stateroom’s bed. Jumping 60 feet off a ship into waters that you have no idea what’s lurking within is extremely reckless and will most likely result in a fatality.

But while one person is busy poking fun at jumping overboard, the family of one actual overboard victim is now grieving for the loss of their loved one. Our maritime lawyers were saddened to learn that the search for a cruise passenger who fell from a Princess Cruises ship was called off.

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Our Maritime Attorneys Wish You a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy HolidaysThanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, and for so many reasons. This time of year inspires people to connect with one another and give back to each other and to the community. The holiday season tends to bring people closer together and highlights all the things we have to be thankful for. With this in mind, each maritime attorney at our firm would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving and holidays in general and to share how thankful we are to have the opportunity to help those who have been involved in a cruise ship or boating accident to obtain justice.

We are also thankful for Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller’s continual efforts to improve transparency across the cruise industry (and safety in general), which has led several major cruise lines to reveal their crime and accident data reports to the public – data which many cruise lines have hid from the public eye for several years. In addition, we are thankful for all the efforts that have been made by cruise lines, cargo companies, and other maritime companies to improve safety for both passengers and crew members. We are equally thankful for those who have abided by the highest standards of safety while boating, such as avoiding speeding, refraining from boating while under the influence, and wearing life jackets. Your efforts continue to make a world of difference and, whether you realize it or not, have helped to reduce and prevent tragedies in open waters.

To continue on the subject of safety, we’d like to share a few maritime safety tips to ensure you stay as safe as possible during the holidays if your plans include spending time at sea on a cruise ship or aboard a boat or personal water craft. Continue reading

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Carnival passenger jumps overboard on purposeYesterday, we discussed a pretty strange, rare, and honestly, rather foolish decision made by a Carnival Cruise Line passenger. The individual decided, whether because he thought it was funny, was intoxicated, or because he did not fully comprehend the gravity of his actions, to purposefully jump overboard into the waters off the coast of Grand Turk.

We cannot stress how dangerous his decision was, as he is lucky to be alive. You already heard what our offshore injury lawyer thought on the matter; now check out what the jumper himself had to say about the incident. His testimony – and a video documenting the entire jump – is available for the whole world to see (and be dumbfounded by).

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Carnival Cruise Line passenger purposefully jumps overboardOur maritime lawyers have posted a number of blogs regarding the disturbing number of cruise passenger overboard accidents that have taken place over the years. According to the Cruise Junkie website, a total of 239 people have gone overboard in the past 10 years alone, which is extremely tragic. We’ve discussed numerous times how overboard accidents can be reduced, such as by increasing the number of crew members patrolling public areas, hiring trained security guards to monitor suspicious activity in order to prevent foul play, and by cruise lines installing radar detection technology – technology that is currently available – to record the instant someone does go overboard, so a search and rescue can be immediately implemented, instead of waiting hours for the ship to be searched and then trying to determine the last location of the vessel at the point the individual went missing.

Unfortunately, these types of accidents continue to happen, and when they do, there is often some level of blame that can be placed on the actual cruise lines for failing to provide the highest standard of onboard safety possible to both passengers and crew members. This is usually how it goes – usually. However, we’ve recently stumbled upon a video that has literally dropped our jaws.

So what exactly happened? Well, if you ask us, a complete lapse of judgement on the passenger’s part.

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boating accidentsFlorida has several laws in place to protect boaters on waterways. When these laws are violated, boating accidents are more likely to take place with tragic consequences. But how many boaters really know these laws? And which ones are the most critical? We’ve got the answers. Here’s a look at some of the more important laws to know when you head out for some sun and surf this holiday.

First off, when it comes to collisions, there’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind: a hit and run on the water will have the similar consequences to those on land. In the event of a boating accident, individuals are required to remain at the scene to render aid and exchange personal information. If the accident resulted in damage greater than $2,000, personal injury, or death, boaters are required to contact the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the sheriff, or police chief. If not, then the boater will likely be fined with a hit and run charge and will most likely be arrested and suffer even greater penalties.

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Quantum of the SeasRoyal Caribbean has just rolled out with a brand new toy – a rather large toy. It’s got all kinds of high tech gadgets, premium features, and even robots. So what exactly is this seemingly incredible feat of architectural genius? Why, Quantum of the Seas, of course. And this masterpiece of a cruise ship (well, more like a space ship) is looking to take your breath away.

Quantum of the Seas is first of three ships in its class, with Anthem of the Seas slated to set sail next spring, and Ovation scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2016. Like a proud parent, Royal Caribbean boasts that the super vessel is “the most technologically advanced cruise ship in the world.” The cruise company does have a point, though. Among the ship’s numerous innovations is the ability to use mobile devices and tablets. Quantum of the Seas offers a special luggage tagging system that allows guests to track their bags from the moment they drop them off at the pier until their arrival at the guest’s stateroom via their smartphones. Tablets located around the ship offer the added convenience of making dining reservations, spa services, and other activities. But that’s not all, tablets record guests’ preferences from diet restrictions to how someone takes their coffee.

The vessel also boasts the world’s first “skydive” at sea, RipCord by iFLY, aka a glass vertical wind tunnel that offers a skydiving-type of experience and pretty nice views. Our maritime lawyer wrote about another one of Quantum’s nifty features, the world’s first robotic bartenders at sea. At the “Bionic Bar”, thirsty guests can order cocktails prepared by none other than animatronic bartenders. Then there’s the first-ever roller rink and bumper car venue at sea. Sound like fun? You bet. That is, until things start to go wrong.

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NorovirusThere’s a plague in our midst; one that’s been invading cruise ships for years. It’s sly, evasive, and cannot seem to be controlled. This little bug is fast-spreading and potentially life-threatening. Friends, we are talking about Norovirus. That pesky bug that affects hundreds of cruise passengers – and crew members – every year, leaving victims literally sick to their stomachs.

Attention has been mostly focused on the recent Ebola outbreak, but we can’t forget about Norovirus, because like Ebola, it has the potential to be fatal. This virus is basically a form of the stomach flu, with symptoms (including vomiting and diarrhea) lasting about three days. Doesn’t seem too bad at first, but the symptoms can become extremely severe, leading those who become infected with the virus to become quarantined in their room.

Most people who are sick don’t even realize they have the virus until symptoms manifest, but they are still contagious. And even those who do show symptoms don’t usually think much of it, dismissing the entire ordeal as just regular food poisoning or a bad stomach ache. So, these individuals will board a cruise ship not thinking twice about being contagious. They then proceed (inadvertently of course) to spread the virus via contact with inanimate objects that others on board will likely touch as well, including door handles, tabletops, and rails. They might even share food or eating utensils with loved ones. And before you know it, voila, you’ve got a Norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship.

Unfortunately, Norovirus does spread extremely fast – especially because a cruise ship is one giant floating box, filled with confined spaces and corridors and lacking sufficient ventilation outlets. Continue reading

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boating accidentsOne of the benefits of living in sunny South Florida is the fact that we have great weather all year round (well, mostly). Add dozens of beautiful waterways to the equation and you have the perfect recipe for ideal boating conditions.

On any given day, you’ll find South Florida’s channels inundated with eager boaters enjoying clear skies and warm temperatures. Who’d blame them? We’ve got an array of top boating spots to choose from, including Biscayne Bay, the Miami River, and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway – to name a few.

But while South Florida’s waterways do make for amazing recreational boating outings, they can also make for dangerous boating accidents. As any boating accident lawyer at our firm can tell you, all the conditions that make our water channels so appealing also make them prone to hazardous conditions. In fact, according to the US Coast Guard’s 2013 Recreational Boating Statistics, Florida ranked first in the nation, with a total of 685 boating accidents in 2013.

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Miami waterwaysIn Miami, we’re lucky to have beautiful boating weather year-round. Of course, this means that the potential for boating accidents is greater because boaters simply have more time to be on the water. Because a fun boat outing can quickly turn tragic, we’ve come up with some tips that can help you and your family stay safe this holiday boating season.

Although accidents can happen at any moment, even when a boater is abiding by proper maritime laws, there are many ways to prevent tragedies in open waters. Making sure that your boat has adequate life jackets and emergency equipment on board such as a first-aid kit, a pocketknife, flashlight, mirror, flares, and sunscreen can make a huge difference if you run into trouble on South Florida waterways.

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