Samuels v. Holland American Line-USA Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 09-02-2011
  • Case #: 10-35933
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Gilman for the Court; Circuit Judge Clifton and Smith.
  • Full Text Opinion

A cruise line does not owe a duty to warn passengers about the dangers of a local beach because wading or swimming in the ocean are not actions uniquely associated with maritime travel.

On November 24, 2008 Samuels and his children arrived in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on the Holland American Cruse Line. Upon arriving in Cabo San Lucas, he asked cruise line staff about activities to do off the ship. The cruise line staff told him he could hire a skiff, independent of the cruise line, to take him to Lover’s Beach, a public beach on the tip of the Baja peninsula. While swimming in the water he was seriously injured by a violent wave and later classified as a high functioning quadriplegic. Samuels sued Holland American for negligence alleging that the cruise ship’s staff should have warned him of the dangers of swimming at Lover’s Beach. Holland America moved for and was granted summary judgment, and Samuels appealed. The Ninth Circuit held that the district Court did not abuse its discretion in striking the material portions of Samuels expert witnesses because they did not present knowledgeable or well-informed testimony as to the duty of the cruise line industry. Furthermore, the Court held that Holland American owed no duty to warn Samuel’s because wading into Lover’s Beach was not uniquely associated with maritime travel and the record did not include any evidence that Holland America knew or should have known the beach was dangerous. AFFIRMED.

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