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Cruise Passengers – Read Your Ticket!

In Owen v. Carnival Corp., No. 18-25372, 2022 WL 18023309 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 21, 2022), the Court found that a passenger failed to provide written notice of her claim to Carnival within 185 days as required by her ticket and dismissed the case! Moral of the story: READ YOUR TICKET (and call us ASAP)!

Susan Owen and family took a seven-day cruise on the CARNIVAL BREEZE. Susan’s eye began to bother her and she sought treatment from the ship’s medical facility. The ship’s doctor prescribed medication which didn’t help. After disembarking, Owen visited her own doctor and then a specialist who prescribed a corneal transplant. Her doctors were concerned about the quality of treatment she received onboard, in particular, the medicine she was prescribed. Her ticket contained a pre-suit notice clause requiring passengers to submit full particulars in writing within 185 days after the injury, event, illness or death giving rise to the claim. Owen sued Carnival more than 185 days later [disclaimer: FJ&B were not Susan’s lawyers!]. No other written notice of her claim was provided to Carnival. Owen argued that 46 U.S.C. Section 30508(c) excused her failure to provide timely written notice because Carnival had notice of the injury and was not prejudiced by the failure to timely submit the notice. She claimed that the medical records from her treatment on the vessel provided full particulars in writing of her condition. The Court rejected her argument, stating that the only knowledge provided from the vessel’s records was that Owen visited the medical facility and was treated. Those records contained no particulars regarding the adequacy of the treatment or a claim that such treatment was negligent. As Owen failed to prove that Carnival had notice of the claim within 185 days, her case was dismissed!

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