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airbusdrvr

Interesting Legal Question

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On our cruise last week there was a man holding 5 seats on the 4th row in the theater and we were seated on row 6 behind him. About 5 minutes before showtime a man and his wife walked up and started to sit in 2 of the seats and the "seat hog" told the man these seats are reserved to which he replied that they(the cruiseline) specifically say you can not hold seats. The "seat hog" stood up to block him from entering the row and acted like he was going to punch the guy. The guy with his wife must have sensed this because he told the seat hog "you better enjoy it because it's going to cost the hell out of you". By now several people are watching and wondering if there is going to be a fight. Mr. Bully Seat Hog backs down and the man and his wife proceed to take a seat. About 10 minutes after the show started the seat hog got up and left because no one showed up for the seats he was holding.

  

My legal question is if the seat hog punched the man with his wife and he wanted to press charges what jurisdiction would the crime prosecuted under? What if the man with his wife wanted to sue the seat hog for personal injury? Would he have to sue him under Bahamian law since the ship had a Nassau registration? This just got me thinking when the man told him he better enjoy it.

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3 minutes ago, airbusdrvr said:

On our cruise last week there was a man holding 5 seats on the 4th row in the theater and we were seated on row 6 behind him. About 5 minutes before showtime a man and his wife walked up and started to sit in 2 of the seats and the "seat hog" told the man these seats are reserved to which he replied that they(the cruiseline) specifically say you can not hold seats. The "seat hog" stood up to block him from entering the row and acted like he was going to punch the guy. The guy with his wife must have sensed this because he told the seat hog "you better enjoy it because it's going to cost the hell out of you". By now several people are watching and wondering if there is going to be a fight. Mr. Bully Seat Hog backs down and the man and his wife proceed to take a seat. About 10 minutes after the show started the seat hog got up and left because no one showed up for the seats he was holding.

  

My legal question is if the seat hog punched the man with his wife and he wanted to press charges what jurisdiction would the crime prosecuted under? What if the man with his wife wanted to sue the seat hog for personal injury? Would he have to sue him under Bahamian law since the ship had a Nassau registration? This just got me thinking when the man told him he better enjoy it.

It depends on the citizenship of the participants, to a degree.  While at sea, the laws of the flag state apply, except in cases where a country (such as the US) have claimed "extra-territorial jurisdiction" over certain crimes committed against US citizens.  Again, this only applies when the ship is in international waters, not in the territorial waters of any country.

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and beyond pressing any charges, Royal has the option to confine him to quarters and put him off at the next port, where he'd have to pay his own way home. That may be the 'cost' he was referring to. Watching him get tossed off the ship would likely be enough satisfaction for me... I'd take a cheap shot for that. But just one...

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Here is another scenario I witnessed. Day 2 a lady in a motorized scooter got on the elevator and ran over a woman's toe that was wearing flip-flops. The woman let out a big "Owww" and the woman on the scooter profusely apologized for running over her toe, the other woman luckily was fine and told the woman in the scooter no problem. But as you can see this could have went in a totally different direction. It's not the cruise lines fault that the woman on the scooter ran over the woman's toe. So what recourse would the woman have if her foot was severely injured from being run over by someone on a motorized scooter? We know this type of thing happens everyday on cruise ships where one guest accidentally or intentionally(fight) injures another guest. Land side in the US you would have lawyers lining up to take your lawsuit if you are injured by someone else's fault. 

Edited by airbusdrvr

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2 minutes ago, airbusdrvr said:

Here is another scenario I witnessed. Day 2 a lady in a motorized scooter got on the elevator and ran over a woman's toe that was wearing flip-flops. The woman let out a big "Owww" and the woman on the scooter profusely apologized for running over her toe, the other woman luckily was fine and told the woman in the scooter no problem. But as you can see this could have went in a totally different direction. It's not the cruise lines fault that the woman on the scooter ran over the woman's toe. So what recourse would the woman have if her foot was severely injured from being run over by someone on a motorized scooter? We know this type of thing happens everyday on cruise ships where one guest accidentally or intentionally(fight) injures another guest. Land side in the US you would have lawyers lining up to take your lawsuit if you are injured by someone else's fault. 

Again, flag state laws apply, so the suit would need to be brought in the Bahamas.

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The normal legal customs and protections that Americans enjoy do not necessarily apply.  As mentioned previously the laws of the country that the ship is registered in would be most prevalent.  One should also refer to the cruise line's contract of carriage.  I'm pretty sure it says some where in there "not responsible for other people's stupidity".   Remember you are in international waters a big portion of your time.  Caveat Emptor

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On 1/23/2020 at 1:46 PM, chengkp75 said:

It depends on the citizenship of the participants, to a degree.  While at sea, the laws of the flag state apply, except in cases where a country (such as the US) have claimed "extra-territorial jurisdiction" over certain crimes committed against US citizens.  Again, this only applies when the ship is in international waters, not in the territorial waters of any country.

The jurisdiction of U.S. federal courts over extraterritorial torts under the Alien Tort Statute have generally been limited to violations of international law (in particular, human rights laws), and requires that one of the parties be a U.S. alien. Otherwise admiralty jurisdiction is most likely invoked.

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28 minutes ago, Pratique said:

The jurisdiction of U.S. federal courts over extraterritorial torts under the Alien Tort Statute have generally been limited to violations of international law (in particular, human rights laws), and requires that one of the parties be a U.S. alien. Otherwise admiralty jurisdiction is most likely invoked.

I believe that from the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, that the following crimes against US citizens are covered by extraterritorial jurisdiction:

 

Sexual assault.

Homicide.

Kidnapping.

Theft >$10,000.

Suspicious Death.

Assault with serious bodily injury.

Firing or tampering with vessel.

Missing US National.

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29 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

I believe that from the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act, that the following crimes against US citizens are covered by extraterritorial jurisdiction:

 

Sexual assault.

Homicide.

Kidnapping.

Theft >$10,000.

Suspicious Death.

Assault with serious bodily injury.

Firing or tampering with vessel.

Missing US National.

Does this only apply to the cruise line? I think.

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3 minutes ago, Pratique said:

Does this only apply to the cruise line? I think.

While it was initiated with the CVSSA, I don't think that the extraterritorial jurisdiction is limited to cruise ships, but since it is only for crimes against US citizens, there aren't a lot of those on foreign flag cargo ships.  But, no, this would be applicable for a crime by a passenger against a US citizen passenger, or a crew member against a US citizen passenger.

Edited by chengkp75

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2 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

While it was initiated with the CVSSA, I don't think that the extraterritorial jurisdiction is limited to cruise ships, but since it is only for crimes against US citizens, there aren't a lot of those on foreign flag cargo ships.

Crime vs. tort (civil). I think the original question was what could the passenger do if assaulted or injured to recover damages (civil). I understood the CVSSA as regulating the cruise line, not things that happen between passengers like fistfights or other torts by passengers against each other (to the extent that the cruise line isn't liable). CVSSA has a crime reporting requirement but that's not the same thing. It may be possible for two U.S. citizens to meet in court after an assault or other tort overseas as a civil action, but criminal law may not apply in the usual way.

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That's why I said that a suit would be a Bahamian issue (the scooter injury) but that a crime like assault (the punch) could be heard in the US.

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21 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

That's why I said that a suit would be a Bahamian issue (the scooter injury) but that a crime like assault (the punch) could be heard in the US.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding but that seems opposite of what I suggested and not clearly supported by the CVSSA (or the Alien Tort Statute). A civil suit could certainly be brought in the Bahamas, but the Bahamian court wouldn't have jurisdiction over a non-Bahamian defendant so it would go nowhere (can't force the defendant to appear, can't enforce the judgment). For a crime committed by a U.S. national in Bahamian jurisdiction there may be a treaty with the U.S. that allows the Bahamian court to adjudicate it. Not sure if such a treaty exists for civil suits. Bottom line is whether or not the U.S. courts have subject matter jurisdiction over crimes committed outside of the U.S. It is very limited.

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As I can clearly see, this can be a murky legal scene when there is a personal injury from a fellow passenger. We know there is probably at least one or more accidents on a cruise each week were one passenger causes a serious injury to another passenger. My wife is a stenographer and hears personal injury depositions every week. Most of the depositions are legitimate lawsuits but some make you scratch your head that an attorney would even take the case. As I stated in my op the two scenarios I listed just got me thinking and sometimes I think too much😥  

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18 minutes ago, OSUbuckeye said:

Are the rules the same for plane trips?

 

Tough to compare because the legal jurisdictions are so different.

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On 1/24/2020 at 9:49 AM, charmy98 said:

I am so glad I do not live in a sue happy country.

Me too.

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