Employee of Carnival Cruises questioned in rape

It has recently been reported that an employee of Carnival Cruises has been detained in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the rape of another employee on board the ship.  According to authorities the alleged rape happened in a cabin when the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The unidentified man has not been charged.

File Luxury cruise liners―Island Sky and Seaborne Sojourn― make maiden calls at Island as part of international itinerary Credit : Abu Dhabi Ports

 

Carnival spokeswoman Jennifer De La Cruz said the woman is a cruise ship employee from Australia. Puerto Rico police had identified her as a tourist.

In 2000, two crew members of Carnival Cruise Lines were charged in federal court with rape involving two women while the ship Elation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Cruise Lines love to promote their industry as all fun and games.  The reality, however, can be a lot harsher.  Violent incidents can occur with a degree of regularity.  The employees are often from foreign countries and the massive cruise ships can present opportunities for criminal conduct.  Victims of this type of misconduct may have legal rights against the cruise line.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Our website is located at TheBenLawFirm.com.  We can be reached by telephone at (954) 961-2055 or by email at [email protected]

 

 

FBI closes investigative file in cruise ship death

Relaxing on Balconies on Cruise ship
Relaxing on Balconies on Cruise ship

The FBI concluded its investigation into the death of a woman who fell from a cruise ship because there was not sufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed.

The FBI said the agency had been looking into what happened on Christmas night 2008 when a 36-year-old woman allegedly fell from a balcony of the Miami-based Norwegian
“Pearl.”

The woman and her husband, were celebrating their first wedding anniversary. The Cost Guard conducted a search but her body was never recovered.

Various incidents have occurred in the past where passengers have either fallen or even forced overboard from balconies on cruise ships. Obviously, under these circumstances, it is very difficult to investigate given these tragedies to determine the cause. Occasionally, in the past, cruise lines do not immediately initiate a criminal investigation which it makes it even more difficult to determine what happened. Many of the larger cruise ships have thousands of people and violent crimes can happen. If something does happen, you should report these right away to the ship’s security officer. If the crime is significant, and you are not satisfied with the way the ship handled the claim, you should contact the appropriate legal authority.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Hollywood, Florida, personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

New Cruise Ship Law regarding Sexual Assault

DEN-Copenhagen-AIDAbella_cruise_ship_in_port-thumb-333x217-thumb-333x217In the past, women who have been sexually assaulted while on a cruise were not provided virtually any medical treatment or forensic services while on board the ship.

Recently more attention has been focused on sexual assault and other crimes committed against women on cruise ships. Various victims advocacy groups have contended that cruise ship crimes are a significant problem and have pushed Congress for better laws governing these types of crimes.

Congress recently enacted the “Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act.” This act requires the cruise ships to provide women with access to national sexual assault hotlines if they are claiming that they have been the victim of a sexual assault. These women would also be entitled to a sexual assault forensic exam and medications to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Cruise ships will also be required to install peep holes and security latches on cabin doors. The cruise lines will also be required to report these incidents to the FBI.

The practical effect of this legislation will be to help reduce the chances that a victim of sexual assault will contract a disease from the incident and increase the chance that the perpetrator will be apprehended. Previously, when a women claimed she was assaulted, the cruise ships did not have any kits available to preserve the forensic evidence and this made it much more difficult for allegations of assault to be proved.

The “Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act” is a welcome change. Cruise ships, instead of being primarily concerned with avoiding civil liability to the victims of assault, must now address their medical needs and take reasonable steps to preserve the evidence and report the crime.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Broward man to be paid for wrongful jail term

prison-bars1-thumb-333x221Leroy McGee’s nightmare with Florida’s criminal justice system began in 1991, when an armed robbery was committed by someone else at a Chevron gas station on Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There was not any physical evidence to place him at the scene. His time card from his job as a custodian at Fort Lauderdale High School showed that he was at work. Nevertheless, the gas station clerk picked McGee from a lineup.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that McGee was not involved with the robbery, a Broward County jury convicted him of the crime. As a result, McGee spent almost 4 years in a Florida prison for a crime he did not commit.

Leroy never gave up on his claim of innocence, even after he was released from prison. An attorney was eventually appointed to review his claim and discovered a number of shocking errors. Eventually, a Broward County judge threw out the charges and Broward County State Attorney’s Office never charges refiled against Mr. McGee. Now, he is a free man not looking at the possibility of being prosecuted again.

Although McGee obviously enjoys his new freedom, it is impossible to overstate the devastation caused by the time rotting away in a prison cell. Florida law allows for compensation to wrongfully imprisoned people. But the law excludes from compensation anyone with a prior felony conviction even though that person should never have been there in the first place. Also, the law requires a claimant to jump through certain “legal hoops” which are so complicated that an attorney will typically be required to process the claim. Despite the fact that a lawyer is often required to process the claim, the act doesn’t provide for attorneys’ fees.

Eventually McGee was paid $179,000.00 for his wrongful imprisoment. Obviously, McGee can never be totally reimbursed for what he endured. His wife divorced him while he was in prison. He missed out on seeing his children grow up. He was never quite able to resume his job, the way it had been before the wrongful conviction. Since it is impossible for McGee to get the time back that he lost in prison, money damages is the best remedy that our legal system can provide.

Opponents of the tort system (usually corporations who stand to gain the most if they have zero responsiblity for their misconduct), have launched expensive publicity campaigns to complain about damages for “pain and suffering,” as if they do not really exist. Although non-economic damages such as Leroy McGee’s do not have an exact dollar amount, under the law they must be “reasonable.” What is reasonable is usually determined by a jury, which should continue.

Whatever you think about a victim of a tort recovering money damages, the $179,000.00 paid to McGee under Florida law, can never begin to compensate him for the anguish he endured in prison. Advocates for tort reform, who like to cite to unusual cases as support for their position, well certainly never make mention of Leroy McGee’s wrongful imprisonment or the minimal compensation he received.

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.

Former Miami Hurricane accused of rape

see all my photos from the Cowboys vs. Patriots game here.

Michael Irvin, a star football player for the University of Miami Hurricanes during the 1980s, was accused of rape by a woman in a civil lawsuit who claimed that she was attacked at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The lawsuit was filed in Broward Circuit Court. Irvin, an NFL Hall of Famer, grew up in Fort Lauderdale and was a wide receiver at the University of Miami before joining the Dallas Cowboys.

No criminal charges have been filed against Irvin, although the Broward County State Attorney’s Office in Fort Lauderdale is currently investigating the case.

The woman in her complaint alleged the attack occurred around midnight during the early morning of July 5, 2007. The suit doesn’t identify the woman, merely referring to her as “Jane Doe.” Irvin, through his lawyer, has denied the charges.

In the civil complaint, the woman alleged Irvin bought her drinks, then took her to his hotel room. In the room, another unidentified man restrained her, while Irvin allegedly raped her. When Irvin was finished, the other man allegedly forced her to perform oral sex.

The woman reported the incident approximately two weeks later to the Seminole Police Department on July 20, 2007. A Tribe spokesman said that they inspected the room, but by that time there was no longer any forensic evidence or surveillance video. The woman also signed a waiver of prosecution because she wanted to avoid the publicity which would surround the charges.

The woman’s lawyer claimed his client had passed a polygraph test. Her attorney also stated that his client and Irvin’s lawyers had attempted to negotiate a settlement. Since the parties could not agree, the woman filed the lawsuit just days before the Super Bowl was to be played in South Florida.

Polygraph tests are not admissable in court unless both parties agree, which usually does not happen. These tests are still viewed as being unreliable because they are subject to manipulation, although they are frequently administered by police during the investigation of crimes.

The civil lawsuit against Michael Irvin also serves to highlight the difference between the criminal court and civil court systems. In criminal court, a defendant is facing a loss of liberty, i.e. jail time, perhaps even the death penalty. In a civil case, the defendant in the event of losing, is looking merely at adverse financial consequences in the form of a civil judgment for money damages.

Victims of sexual assaults have the right to make a claim in civil court for money damages sustained as a result of the attack. Such damages frequently include medical expenses as well as claims for “pain and suffering.” The emotional damages to victims of sexual assaults can be devastating and if the evidence warrants, juries in civil cases frequently award substantial verdicts for these types of claims.

A difficult aspect of sexual assault claims in civil cases is collecting money on a judgment that has been awarded. Typically, the perpetrators of these terrible crimes do not have the money to pay off the judgment, making many of these lawsuits economically unfeasible. There are situations, however, where a judgment for money damages may be collectible such as where the location of the attack did not have adequate security, then the property owner may be liable. Also, where the defendant who is alleged to have committed the assault has substantial financial assets such as a professional athlete or wealthy business man, these cases may prove to be “collectible.”

With over 50 years of collective service to the South Florida community, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Ben Law Firm have helped thousands of clients to obtain money compensation for their personal injury and wrongful death claims.

All of the firm’s partners have received the prestigious “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which is a recognition by their peers in the legal community that their practice meets the highest professional and ethical standards.