MIAMI (CN) – A woman says in court she developed post-traumatic stress disorder after a charter company moved her wedding reception from a yacht to a restaurant because it did not follow proper procedures after a kitchen fire.
Karina Edde and Lorenzo Lapi say they leased a yacht from Great Bay Corp. Inc., and hired Escopazzo Restaurant to cater their Aug. 14, 2010, wedding reception.
Employees from both companies arrived at the yacht docked by the Hyatt Hotel on the Miami River in downtown Miami at 7 p.m. to prepare for the 10 p.m. reception, according to the complaint.
“At approximately 7:10 p.m., the vessel experienced a fire which started at t he deep fat fryer, in the galley,” the complaint states.
But the newlyweds says “no calls or contact was made to the fire department until 7:38 P.M., almost one-half hour later, despite there being several people on board.”
The fire department arrived within three minutes of the call, finding that the fire, which had been contained to the deep fat fryer, was already extinguished.
“All fire department personnel had left the scene by 8:19 P.M., with specific instructions to Great Bay and Escopazzo to call the U.S. Coast Guard for water clearance for the evening’s scheduled wedding reception,” according to the complaint. “No call was made to the Coast Guard.
“Great Bay unilaterally made the decision to seek alternate locations, without first making a call to the Coast Guard and securing some form of response time, in order to correctly assess feasibility of the event at the scheduled location or an alternative solution.
“Nor did Great Bay make any attempts to contact the plaintiffs to discuss, consult or coordinate available options to remedy the situation.
“Further at 9:10 P.M., the event coordinator for Great Bay unilaterally decided to remove all of the plaintiff’s wedding memorabilia and decoration and placed them unattended in the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel.”
The couple claims that the event coordinator knew that the 60 percent of their guests had traveled internationally for the wedding.
“The Coast Guard was called after the plaintiffs, the wedding parties and guests began to arrive and when plaintiffs demanded to know what, if anything, was being done to resolve the incident,” according to the complaint.
“The Coast Guard arrived at approximately 10:30 P.M., some 45 minutes later to assess the damage to the vessel and its seaworthiness. The entire inspection lasted one hour and at 11:30 P.M., the Coast Guard declared that the vessel was safe, did not shut down its operation and merely restricted the use of the galley.
“Great Bay and Escopazzo had already removed all of the plaintiff’s property from the vessel, removed all of the party trays from the vessel and unilaterally decided amongst themselves that the party would be relocated to the Escopazzo Restaurant site.
“Great Bay redirected all of the wedding guests to the Escopazzo restaurant, horribly forever marred what should have been a very special and unique day for the plaintiffs, and left them with no alternative but to sullenly leave the dockside.
“Great Bay’s failure to act prudently and immediately contact the Coast Guard, delayed the entire process, where the vessel could and should have left dockside no more than 20 [minutes] late from its scheduled departure.
“The plaintiffs were unable to commence their life together as planned.
“Ms. Edde is currently under psychiatric care and is being medicated for post-traumatic depression due to the traumatic event, after having to endure the devastation of her dream wedding.
“Due to her severe traumatic experience since that day plaintiff has been unable to attend the wedding o f any of her friends and even had to forego her attendance as the maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding,” the complaint states.
The couple seeks $4,200 in damages, plus legal fees, for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
They are represented by Edna Morales-Rodriguez.