Court Revives Suit Over Slain Cruise Passenger

     (CN) – Carnival Cruise Line may be liable for the death of child who was caught in gang warfare crossfire at a port of call in the Virgin Islands, the 11th Circuit ruled.
     Liz Marie Perez Chaparro, 14, was fatally shot while riding an open-air bus back to the ship during its stop at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
     Chaparro had been on the July 2010 cruise with her parents and brother, celebrating her quinceanera and her parents’ 23rd anniversary, according to media reports.
     A Carnival employee had allegedly told the family to check out Coki Beach during the stop, putting them in the path of a funeral service for a gang member who died nearby.
     Cars for the service blocked the street, and gang warfare erupted while the bus was stuck in traffic.
     Chaparro, who took a stray bullet to the chest, was one of two killed.
     Her family, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, sued Carnival for negligence and emotional distress, claiming that the cruise lioneshould have warned them about the potential for gang violence in the area.
     Carnival argued that the family expected an unreasonable level of care not provided to them under maritime law. It said it is impossible to warn its passengers about unforeseeable events, such as shootings.
     A federal judge in Florida dismissed the case, but the 11th Circuit reversed last week.
     “The facts alleged in the complaint are plausible and raise a reasonable expectation that discovery could supply additional proof of Carnival’s liability,” according to the unsigned opinion from a three-judge panel. “We consequently conclude that the district court erred in dismissing appellants’ negligence claim.”
     “Carnival’s argument on foreseeability is more appropriate after discovery at the summary judgment stage or at trial,” the judges added.

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