Admiralty & Maritime Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Personal Injury Claim On A Cruise Ship

SummaryAdmiralty & Maritime Expert Witness allowed even though the defendant argued that the expert is not qualified to offer an opinion on the locking mechanism on a chair on a cruise line simply by having worked on a cruise ship.

Facts – This case (Martin-Viana v. ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD. – United States District Court – Southern District of Mississippi – May 8th, 2024) involves a personal injury claim by a passenger on a cruise line operated by the defendant, Royal Caribbean.  The plaintiff, Eulalia Martin-Viana, alleges that when she sat on a chair on her balcony, the locking mechanism didn’t work, and she fell backwards and hit her head on the sliding glass door.  She filed a negligence claim against the defendant, arguing that the defendant, did not supervise its crew, did not properly train its crew, failed to provide adequate crew, among other claims.  The plaintiff hired Admiralty & Maritime Expert Witness Randall Jacques to provide expert witness testimony.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion – The defendant claims that Jacques’s testimony should be excluded because he is not qualified to offer an expert opinion in this case, did not provide a basis for his conclusions, did not show what his methodology entailed, and that his opinions are given without proper foundation.

First, the court states that Jacques is qualified to offer an expert opinion in this case because he has been a security officer and investigator for many cruise lines and has qualifications in accident reconstruction.  In addition, the court opines that Jacques has testified as an expert in the current district.

Second, the court states that Jacques’ methodology is reliable.  The court goes on to say that he recreated the incident aboard the cruise line, utilized weights in representative dimensions, and utilized multiple testing methods.  Also, the court states that the methodology he used was connected to the facts of the case.

The court concludes by stating that any discussion about the veracity of Jacques’ opinions can be brought up on cross-examination.

Conclusion – The motion to exclude Randall Jacques’ expert with testimony is denied.