Judge Rules Lawsuit Can Proceed Against Royal Caribbean in Toxic Gas Case

In September 2005, “Monarch of the Seas,” a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, arrived in San Pedro, CA after a four-day cruise to Mexico.

What many of the passengers did not know was that on arrival in San Pedro, the dead bodies of three crew members were taken from Monarch of the Seas along with the typical passenger luggage and souvenirs.

According to investigations by the United States Coast Guard and the Los Angeles County health department, deadly hydrogen sulfide gas had escaped from a burst pipe in the engine room, killing the three crew members within minutes and injuring 19 others.

Now, a judge has ruled that the ship’s then-captain has shown enough evidence to make a reasonable claim that Royal Caribbean showed “gross indifference” to the captain’s life, as well as the lives of the roughly 3,400 passengers on the ship at the time, in handling the September 2005 incident.

The lawsuit filed by then-captain Bjoern Eidissen alleges that he was wrongfully terminated for complaining about the September 2005 gas release, and claims that Royal Caribbean should compensate him for his injuries suffered in the incident.

However, during the lawsuit additional facts and claims have emerged about the impact of the gas release on the ship’s passengers. In particular, Eidissen’s original lawsuit alleged that poison gas was allowed to leak into employee and passenger areas for months after repairs were made to the areas damaged in the September 2005 incident.

Royal Caribbean has disputed these allegations. However, the judge in Eidissen’s lawsuit did find that a March 2005 poison gas release on the same ship, which injured a crewmember on the ship at the time, was additional evidence of Royal Caribbean’s potential “gross negligence” toward the lives of its passengers and crew.

Royal Caribbean has disputed all of the claims in Eidissen’s lawsuit and can be expected to continue fighting this legal case going forward. At the moment it is unclear what impact, if any, this will have on Royal Caribbean’s bottom line, or if any other lawsuits will now be brought forward as a result of the September 2005 incident.

About Waks & Barnett, P.A.

Based in Miami, Waks & Barnett attorneys work with clients in Florida, throughout the United States and around the world. The firm’s attorneys practice in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, with a specialization in admiralty and maritime cases – especially those involving cruise ships. Call 1-800-905-2891 for a free consultation.

If you have concerns or questions regarding a Royal Caribbean cruise ship accident, please contact our law firm today today.