Former Royal Caribbean Officer Wins $20.3 Million Lawsuit After Suffering Hand Injury

Jun 05, 2018

After three week trial in the case Spearman v. Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD, the Miami Dade County jury has come with the verdict in favor of the plaintiff Lisa Spearman. The news was first released by Mr. Jim Walker from Cruise Law News, saying that jury returned the verdict in favor of the plaintiff finding Royal Caribbean Cruises was negligent and 100 percent liable for the injuries caused to Lisa Spearman. Therefore Royal Caribbean International could pay $20.3 million in damages to Ms. Spearman after losing this case.

The incident occurred back in 2008 while the cruise ship Voyager of the Seas was docked in the port of Barcelona. During a routine fire safety drill in the crew area, a nurse from the port who was unaware of the exercise tried to open one of the watertight doors. The nurse has opened the door but she slipped and fall on the deck. Ms. Spearman who was working onboard as a marketing and revenue manager, was on the other side and come to help her and tried to open the watertight door by the handle. When she pull the handle to keep the door open the door sided quickly back to the wall crushing Spearman’s right hand. After the incident crew members called the bridge to disable the doors while Spearman's hand was crushed by the door mechanism three more times.

According to Miami Herald, Ms. Spearman was sent back home in New Zealand and underwent therapy while Royal Caribbean paid her a daily disability payment of $25, as stated in her disability coverage. After two years Royal Caribbean discharged her saying that she will not be able to perform required duties and safety tasks. In 2016 she filed a lawsuit, alleging that Royal Caribbean was failed to provide proper medical care, breach of contract and failing to pay full wages. 

“We are extremely pleased with the jury’s verdict. This case was fiercely defended but justice rightfully prevailed in the end. We hope this case will bring awareness and lead to substantial safety changes aboard cruise ships so that injuries like Lisa’s, and those of the twelve other crewmembers, can be avoided,” said Miami maritime lawyer Tonya Meister-Griffin from Hicks Eidson law firm, who had lead counsel for the plaintiff Lisa Spearman.

Royal Caribbean said it "respectfully disagrees" with the outcome and they are considering legal options, and intend to appeal the decision.

According to the report, this was not an isolated incident. In three years before this incident, 12 crew members suffered hand injuries involving watertight doors on Royal Caribbean ships.