Archive for November 1st, 2010

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Florida court decides the appropriate county for car accident lawsuit

November 1, 2010

A Florida court recently decided where it is appropriate for a person to file a lawsuit after they have been involved in a car accident. In Mercury Insurance Company of Florida v. Regina Jackson, the First District Court of Appeal ruled that Florida Statute § 47.011 requires that a car accident claim be brought in the county where the defendant resides, where the accident occurred, or where the property in litigation is located.

At issue in the Mercury case was whether a bad faith claim, which arises out of a car accident, is also required to be brought in the county where the accident occurred as required by F.S. §47.011. The court relying on a case decided in the Fourth DCA, covering Palm Beach County and Broward County, stated the duties [of good faith] included making a settlement offer and/or tendering the policy limits to the Estate of the injured party, which was opened in the county where the accident occurred, investigating and evaluating the claim, when the accident occurred in the county; and advising and warning the insured who resided in county, of possible outcomes, risks, and consequences. Although the physical location of the adjuster was in a different county, the totality of the circumstances support venue being proper in the county where the accident occurs.

This is an important case as many parties invovled in litigation try to “forum shop” which means to find a county where they think the judge or jury will be more favorable to the parties involved. In the Mercury case, although the insurance company wanted the lawsuit to be handled in Leon County (Tallahassee) where the insurance company was located, the Judge required the accident lawsuit, and the bad faith lawsuit, to be brought in the county where the accident occurred.

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Agreement reached between Government and Norwegian Cruise Line

November 1, 2010

Norwegian Cruise Lines will be paying a total of $100,000 in penalties to nine disabled passengers, as well as $40,000 in civil penalties for ADA violations. The U.S. Justice Department charged the Miami based cruise ship line with failing to provide the required amenities to their disabled passengers, causing them to not be able to enjoy the activities on the cruise.

According to the Justice Department, the cruise line did not provide sign-language interpreters and closed caption television for deaf or hard of hearing passengers. The Daily Business Review reported that those in wheelchairs did not have access between the airport, ship and hotels, and they were charged an additional fee for wheelchair accessible buses that took hours to arrive. At times they were forced to wait in the busses for hours as they were unable to participate in excursions.

People with disabilities should be able to enjoy the activities on cruises just like the other guests. Aside from the fines Norwegian Cruise lines has also agreed to provide reasonable accommodations in the future for disabled passengers. These changes will include shipboard and transportation options for guests with disabilities as well as more timely responses to requests for accommodations.

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