Judge Dismisses Amended George Smith Family Law Suit again Against Royal Caribbean … Its no Hagel-Smith Settlement
A Miami judge, Judge Jon Gordon, dismissed the amended law suit “with prejudice” that was filed by the parents and sister of missing George Smith against Royal Caribbean. A previous law suit had been dismissed as well. What a fine precedent this sets for future families of cruise ship crime. Is it any wonder why so many crimes aboard cruise ships go unsolved.
The Smith family sued Royal Caribbean stating that they tried to cover up the incident of George Smith’s disappearance. Royal Caribbean, the Miami based Cruise ship company has stated that they had exceeded their legal requirements in dealing with the missing George Smith.
The FBI is still investigating. Smith’s parents and sister alleged in their lawsuit that the cruise company tried to cover up the incident to avoid liability and negative publicity.
Royal Caribbean representatives have said the cruise line exceeded its legal requirements when it contacted the FBI and other authorities immediately after learning about Smith’s disappearance. (Forbes)
Judge Jon Gordon had dismissed this law suit with prejudice which means the law suit cannot be re-filed; however, it can be appealed. The Smith family attorney, Brett Rivkind, said that they would appeal the ruling.
“We think the decision is not well-reasoned,” Rivkind said. “We’re confident an appeal court will conclude that the conduct that has been alleged is sufficient to rise to a level of outrageous conduct. A jury should decide.” (Boston Globe)
It is rather peculiar that in a day and age with all the frivolous law suits that are allowed to go forward in the US and Florida that this case is dismissed? Dismissed with prejudice in fact. This would appear to be the type of case that a jury should hear, not a judge’s single ruling. If the Smith family is stating that Royal Caribbean performed “outrageous conduct” and Royal Caribbean thinks they exceeded its legal requirement, then what does Royal Caribbean have to fear by going to trial? Just another cover up at all cost in the name of the tourist dollar. Its a shame what happens to common families when they try to find out what has happened to their missing loved ones when tourism is involved.
The case of missing Honeymooner, George Allen Smith, goes beyond a legal one for Royal Caribbean. It is as much a PR battle as anything. Interesting that Royal Caribbean was fine with making an over one million dollar cash settlement with the wife of George Smith, Jennifer Hagel Smith, but wants no part of actually going to trial with this case. Royal Caribbean would pay off Jennifer Hagel-Smith, but not want to defend in court their position. Instead they cower behind a judge’s dismissal ruling.
What an example this sets for future families of missing people and crimes aboard cruise ships, “You better settle or else”. So families have no recourse against the billion dollar cruise industry? There is supposed to be no justice? Only monetary pay-off settlements to protect their precious tourism. Families that stand up and say to the cruise lines … we do not want your money … we want answers … are then punished. THAT’S JUSTICE???
Royal Caribbean agreed this month to pay more than $1 million to Smith’s estate. His widow accepted the deal, but his parents and sister dismissed it as a “sellout.”
Maybe the next time anyone things of going on vacation or going on a cruise you may want to remember the following words from Royal Caribbean representatives as this is what they think of all of us, “the cruise line exceeded its legal requirements”. Key word is “requirement”. Not that they cared to really help or get to the bottom of why one of their passengers was missing with a blood stain below his cabin. Only that they met the bare minimum of what was required. Exceeded? Hardly.
JUSTICE FOR GEORGE