Lawsuits for Crew Members of Costa Concordia Begin Following the terrifying capsizing of the cruise ship, Costa Concordia, off the coast of Italy on January 13, the crew members have started filing U.S. lawsuits to seek class- action status. Gary Lobaton, a crew member of the ship, argues that he was not aware of the dangerous conditions the cruise ship was in until it was too late to abandon the ship. Lobaton is suing individually, but is also asking the court to grant class-action status to the lawsuit for him and his similarly affected fellow crew members. Lobaton further argues that Captain Francesco Schettino delayed the order to abandon ship and deploy lifeboats, which resulted in many lives lost. While jurisdiction to hear the case has not yet been decided, crew members may have to file in Italy, rather than the U.S.; jurisdiction may be dependent on their employment contracts. Further, liability of Costa/Carnival, the operator/owner of the vessel, may be affected by individual crew members citizenship. Costa/Carnival may be able to take advantage of international treaties, and the laws of either the U.S. or Italy; whichever provides greatest limitations and immunities. Whether in Italy or the U.S., the sinking of Costa Concordia will bring many more lawsuits, but the amount recoverable is still undetermined. Again, courts will be looking to employment contracts to determine if there is a cap on the amount the crew members can recover.
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