Carnival Reaches Consumer Settlement As Wreck Sparks Lawsuits

March 18, 2012 by staff 

Carnival Reaches Consumer Settlement As Wreck Sparks Lawsuits, Carnival Corp.’s Italian unit said it reached a damage-settlement agreement with consumer groups, as the company was sued for the first time in the U.S. over the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship.

Costa Crociere SpA agreed to pay 11,000 euros ($14,500) to every passenger of the cruise ship that ran aground off the Italian coast on Jan. 13, killing at least 16, plus reimburse expenses including the cost of the cruise, according to a statement from the Genoa-based company today. The agreement was reached with consumer groups in countries including Italy, Germany, France and Spain, a company spokesman said.

The U.S. complaint, alleging negligence and breach of contract, was filed yesterday in federal court in Chicago by crew member Gary Lobaton, who seeks class-action status to represent all victims of the disaster off Giglio Island. A Costa spokesman declined to comment on the U.S. lawsuit.

Italian criminal lawyer Giulia Bongiorno next week will file a complaint on behalf of clients with Italian prosecutors investigating the wreck. Concordia’s Captain Francesco Schettino was placed under house arrest on Jan. 17 for allegedly causing the wreck and abandoning the ship.

“My clients aren’t happy with just a financial compensation,” Bongiorno, who helped overturn the murder conviction of Amanda Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito in October, said in a phone interview today. The aim is to request that prosecutors investigate all responsibilities and not just the captain’s, she said. Bongiorno, 45, who’s also a member of Italy’s Parliament, will represent more than 50 passengers, Corriere della Sera said.

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