Reported Decisions - State & Federal Courts - Trial & Appellate

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Ligon v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal
Won an appeal taken by a cruise line challenging the trial court’s order allowing a seaman to amend her complaint to assert a claim for punitive damages for the cruise line’s alleged willful, arbitrary and capricious delay and denial in providing her all medical care owed under the maintenance and cure obligation. Read the decision entered by Chief Judge Suarez, Wells and Logue on November 18, 2015.

Repass v. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts LLC. Northern District of Texas (Dallas)
Obtained sanctions against a resort who spoiled evidence when it reconfigured a golf cart that was involved in an accident which resulted in significant eye, arm and hip injures to our client. Read the decision entered by United States Magistrate Judge Renee Toliver on September 17, 2015.

Craddock v. M/Y The Golden Rule U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained the first case within the Southern District of Florida and the Eleventh Circuit that holds an injured snorkeler may arrest the yacht that ran him over for security before obtaining a judgment. Read the decision entered by United States District Judge Moore on May 20, 2015.

Nace v. Martinelli Florida’s Twelfth Judicial Circuit (Sarasota)
Obtained summary judgment finding that our client had no comparative fault in causing a significant injury to his knee when the yacht he was a passenger aboard ran aground. Read the decision entered by Florida Circuit Judge Kimberly Bonner on July 29, 2014.

Long v. Celebrity Cruises, Inc. U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Defeated a cruise line’s attempt to obtain summary judgment on a passenger’s trip and fall injury case resulting in a knee injury. The cruise line attempted to avoid liability by arguing that it was unaware of the hazardous condition of a pried up stair noising before the accident. The court ruled that since the claim based upon improper maintenance of the area, the passenger need not prove the cruise line had notice of the defective condition. Read the decision entered by United States Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres on August 1st, 2013.

Estate of John Van Hoy, Jr. v. Sandals Resorts Int’l Ltd., et. al. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Brais Brais & Rusak achieve order compelling a wrongful death suit involving a hot tub suction entrapment death at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa & Resort to proceed in Miami, Florida. Read the decision entered by United States District Judge Patricia Seitz on March 22, 2013.

Doe v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd. U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Defeated a cruise line’s attempt to obtain a summary judgment in a passenger rape case. The court held Florida’s dram shop statute inapplicable to this maritime case thereby placing the duty on the cruise line to not overserve passengers alcohol. The Court also found the fact there were 23 other sexual assaults that occurred on NCL ships within the fifteen months leading to our client’s rape raised a question of whether the cruise line had a duty to warn passengers of the potential of being raped on its ship for the jury to decide. Read decision entered by United States District Judge M Cooke on November 14, 2012.

Manning v. Carnival Corp. U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Defeated a cruise line’s attempt to dismiss a negligence claim concerning a passenger who sustained a significant leg injury during an off-ship excursion. Read the decision entered by United States District Judge Cecilia Altonaga on September 11, 2012.

Hines v. Carnival Corp., U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Defeated a cruise line's attempt to compel binding foreign arbitration of an American crewmember's personal injury & maintenance and cure claims and obtained an order remanding the case back to state court for trial by jury. Read the decision entered by Judge Jose Martinez, United States District Judge on March 29, 2012.

Pavon v. Carnival Corp., S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Defeated Carnival Cruise Lines’ attempt to compel a cabin steward crewmember’s Jones Act negligence claim to arbitration in Panama and obtained and order requiring the claim to be tried to a jury in Miami, Florida. Read decision entered by Judge Joan A. Lenard, United States District Judge on September 16, 2011.

Delta November, LLC. v. Baker, U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained an order allowing Brais Brais & Rusak’s client to pursue his breach of implied warranty of workmanlike performance and breach of marine bailment against an engine repairer in a dispute where a recreational fishing boat sank at the dock while being repaired. Read decision entered by Judge, Jose E. Martinez United States Magistrate Judge on August 22, 2011.

Schulte v. NCL (Bahamas) Ltd., U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained an order finding Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)’s closed circuit television video of a passenger’s accident is not protected under the work product privilege and must be produced to the plaintiff before her deposition. Read decision entered by Judge, Andrea M. Simonton United States Magistrate Judge on January 25, 2011.

Florian v. Carnival Corp., U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained order sanctioning Carnival Cruise Lines in the amount of $10,251.00 for improper removal of a crewmember’s Jones Act negligence case from the plaintiff’s chosen state court forum to federal court. Read decision entered by Judge James Lawrence King, United States District Judge on November 29, 2010.

Hallman v. Unique Vacations & Sandals Resorts, U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Defeated Sandal Resorts’ attempt to remove an injured diver’s case from his chosen state court forum to federal court and obtained an order remanding the case back to state court for trial by jury. Read decision entered by Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, United States District Judge on October 19, 2010.

Florian v. Carnival Corp., U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Defeated a cruise line's attempt to compel binding arbitration of a crewmember's personal injury & maintenance and cure claims and obtained an order remanding the case back to state court for trial by jury. Read decision entered by Judge James Lawrence King, United States District Judge on May 25, 2010.

Confidential Settlement, Fla. 17th Judicial Cir. (Ft. Lauderdale)
Obtained a $1,300,000 settlement for client in a marine products liability case.

Windward Associates v. M/Y Esterel, U.S. Dist. Ct., Middle Dist. of Fla. (Ft. Myers)
Won a $75,000 judgment in favor of a marine repairman who performed extensive renovations to a mega yacht, after which the yacht owner refused to pay. Read decision entered by John E. Steele, United States District Judge on November 30, 2009.

Dockeray v. Carnival Corp. U.S. Dist. Ct. Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Successful in having a court apply U.S. Law to decide a crew member’s personal injury law suit against Carnival. Carnival argued the law of Panamanian should govern the dispute because the employment contract drafted by Carnival and signed by the crew member as a pre-condition to re-employment incorporated the law of Panama, which reduces and, in certain instances, eliminates a seaman’s right to recovery. Read decision entered by Cecilia M. Altonago, United States District Judge on May 11, 2010.

Allen v. Celebrity Cruises, Fla. 11th Judicial Circuit (Miami)
Won a directed verdict on liability at the end of a 3 day trial in a case concerning a passenger's fractured hip and wrist resulting from a fall on a cruise ship's dance floor.

Martin v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Fla. 11th Judicial Circuit (Miami)
Obtained a favorable verdict in a 7 day trial in a case concerning third degree burns sustained by a passenger in a cruise ship's steam room.

Callasso v. Morton & Co., U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Won a favorable decision for Brais Brais & Rusak's client in Federal Court before the Honorable K. Michael Moore in Miami, Florida, in a crewmember's wrongful death case.

Daniel v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Fla. 11th Judicial Cir. (Miami)
Obtained a favorable jury verdict in a three (3) week trial in State Court before the Honorable Ivan Fernandez in Miami, Florida, involving a crewmember's personal injury claim.

Markowski v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Fla. 11th Judicial Cir. (Miami)
Won summary judgment on "seaman status" in a personal injury case in State Court before the Honorable Jeri B. Cohen in Miami, Florida.

Allen v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., U.S. Ct. of Appeals, 11th Cir. (Atlanta)
Won an appeal in Federal Court regarding the enforcement of a collective bargaining agreement in a crewmember's sexual assault claim.

Babbit v. Fisher Island Holdings, LLC., Fla. 11th Judicial Cir. (Miami)
Obtained a favorable jury verdict in a four (4) week trial in State Court before the Honorable Victoria Platzer in Miami, Florida, involving a ferryboat captain's personal injury claim.

McRoberts Protective Agency, Inc. v. M/V San Tropez, U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained a settlement recovering the total contract amount due Brais Brais & Rusak's client under a maritime necessary lien for passenger screening services provided to a casino gaming vessel.

In re: Arden Johnson, U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Ala. (Mobile)
Won summary judgment finding that a provision in a marina storage contract exculpating the marina from its own negligence is unenforceable in Federal Court before the Honorable William H. Steele in Mobile, Alabama.

In re: Kampgrounds of America, U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Fla. (Key West)
Won a Federal admiralty trial in a case involving the sinking of a pontoon boat in Federal Court before the Honorable James Lawrence King in Key West, Florida.

Isberner v. Celebrity Cruises Inc., U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained a favorable decision for Brais Brais & Rusak's client concerning the enforceability of a cruise line excursion ticket's exculpatory provision in a case involving a passenger's personal injury in Federal Court before the Honorable Joan A. Lenard in Miami, Florida.

In re: Waterfront License Corp., U.S Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Fla. (Ft. Lauderdale)
Defeated a boat owner's petition for exoneration or limitation of liability in a personal injury case in Federal Court before Chief Judge William J. Zloch in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Upmal v. Paradise Divers, Fla. Ct. Appeals, 3rd Dist. (Miami)
Successfully argued that an investigator's file in a personal injury case is protected from discovery under the work-product privilege

Wilson v. Butler, U.S. Dist. Ct., Middle Dist. of Fla. (Jacksonville)
Argued the issues of seaman status and the viable claims a maritime day worker can bring against a vessel owner under the Longshore & Harbor Workers Compensation Act to a Federal Trial Court in Jacksonville, Florida.

In re: Ocean Club Services, L.L.C., U.S. Bankruptcy Ct., Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained disbursement of bankruptcy funds representing the total contract amount due Brais Brais & Rusak's client under a maritime necessary lien for passenger screening services provided to a cruise ship in Federal Bankruptcy court before Chief Bankruptcy Judge Robert A. Mark.

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Dresdner Bank AG v. M/V Olympia Voyager, U.S. Ct. of Appeals, 11th Cir. (Atlanta)
Argued to a Federal Appellate Court that Greek law establishes a preferred maritime lien for necessaries in a case where a Greek company provided over $5,500,000 worth of fuel bunkers to a cruise ship.

Ortiz v. Celebrity Cruises Inc., U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Achieved a favorable decision concerning the enforceability of a collective bargaining agreement's provision in a crewmember's personal injury case in Federal Court before the Honorable Marcia G. Cooke in Miami, Florida.

Ins. Co. of N. America v. HMY Yacht Sales, Inc., Fla. Ct. of Appeal, 3rd Dist. (Miami)
Won appeal in State Court finding there was sufficient evidence for a jury to decide a negligence claim brought against a yacht broker for a fire aboard a yacht.

Downs v. Celebrity Cruises Inc., Fla. Ct. of Appeal, 3rd Dist. (Miami)
Argued to a Florida Appellate Court the proper means of holding a law firm monetarily responsible for asserting frivolous claims against Brais Brais & Rusak's client.

Upmal v. Paradise Divers, U.S. Ct. of Appeals, 11th Cir. (Atlanta)
Argued to a Federal Appellate Court how the six-month statute of limitation should be calculated under the Shipowners' Limitation of Liability Act.

Hesterly v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist. of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained a favorable decision for Brais Brais & Rusak's client in a passenger's medical malpractice claim against a cruise line in Federal Court before the Honorable Alan S. Gold in Miami, Florida.

Nurkiewicz v. Vacation Break U.S.A., Inc., Fla. Ct. of Appeal, 4th Dist. (Ft. Lauderdale)
Achieved a favorable appellate ruling on the "primary duty doctrine" and availability of punitive damages in a personal injury case involving a yacht captain.

Collins v. Dolphin Cruise Line, Fla. Ct. of Appeal, 3rd Dist. (Miami)
Obtained a favorable decision on the enforceability of a cruise passenger ticket's one year suit time provision.

Proudfoot v. Seaescape, Ltd. Fla. Ct. of Appeal, 3rd Dist. (Miami)
Achieved a favorable appellate opinion on a cruise line's duty to inspect, maintain, repair and/or clean a cruise ship terminal in a passenger's personal injury case.

Vacaru v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern Dist of Fla. (Miami)
Obtained a favorable decision for Brais Brais & Rusak's client on the enforceability of a collective bargaining agreement's provision in a crewmember's personal injury case in Federal Court before the Honorable Ursula Ungaro in Miami, Florida.

Dolphin Cruise Line, Inc. v. Rubin, Fla. Ct. of Appeal, 4th Dist. (Ft. Lauderdale)
Obtained favorable appellate opinion, overturning a lower court's ruling, concerning the appropriate geographical location a passenger can bring a personal injury lawsuit against a carrier.

Upmal v. Paradise Divers, Inc., Fla. 16th Judicial Cir. (Marathon)
Won a favorable decision on the availability of punitive damages for an employer's failure to promptly pay a crewmember's maintenance and cruise benefits in a personal injury case in State Court before the Honorable David J. Audlin, Jr. in Marathon, Florida.

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