In 1988, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit adopted the so-called Barbetta rule stating that cruise ships are not floating hospitals and as such could not be held liable for the actions of their on-board physicians and nurses.
Now, nearly three decades later, by the decision in the matter of Franza v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, this archaic rule has been discarded to allow medical malpractice lawsuits to be filed against cruise lines who were until now wrongfully protected.
The Facts of the Franza Case
Patricia Franza, the daughter of elderly passenger Pasquale Vaglio, filed a complaint against Royal Caribbean following the death of her father. Vaglio sought the ship’s medical assistance after falling and hitting his head. He died approximately one week later after he was taken to a hospital on shore and remained in a coma until his death.
In the suit, Franza establishes two points: 1) the medical personnel who provided treatment for her father onboard the ship were acting as agents of the cruise line because they were portrayed as crew and paid for their services accordingly; and 2) the medical care provided was negligent, resulting in Franza’s father’s death.
The Franza Case Makes Precedent
The important result arising from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruling is that it allows Franza to have her claim against Royal Caribbean be heard. In other words, Franza’s actions have instigated a new precedent that will significantly impact any future cases involving medical treatment on cruise lines.
Unless Royal Caribbean appeals this court’s decision and is successful in gaining support from the U.S. Supreme Court for applying the Barbetta rule, any future lawsuits pertaining to medical treatment on cruise lines can call for a consideration of the Franza case.
Legal Protection For Medical Malpractice
When a physician provides substandard care that results in injuries or death, the patient should seek the help of an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney to protect their legal rights.
At Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, P.C., our attorneys understand the ramifications of medical negligence on the patient and their family members. We are aggressive in getting our clients the full extent of monetary compensation they are entitled to for the injuries they have suffered.
If you or a loved one was injured due to the negligent actions of a healthcare professional, even if onboard a cruise ship, and would like to consult with an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney, please call Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, P.C. at 1-800-529-9997.