Vague Notice on Passenger Ticket Does Not Limit Liability

Monday, September 30, 2002
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a reference to the Athens Convention on a passenger ticket does not limit a carrier's liability for the death of a passenger. In the instant case, plaintiff's decedent and plaintiff purchased tickets in California for a Mediterranean cruise. The tickets included a statement that carrier was entitled to all liability limitations applicable under the Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and Their Luggage by Sea of 1976 (the Athens Convention). During the cruise in Greek waters, plaintiff's decedent fell overboard and drowned. Plaintiff sued in federal court for, among other things, wrongful death under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA). The trial court granted the carrier's motion for partial summary judgment limiting its liability to that provided for in the Athens Convention and plaintiff appealed. The appellate court reversed, holding that a reference in a passenger ticket to the Athens Convention is too vague to justify limiting the liability of a claimant for wrongful death. Wallis v. Princess Cruises, Inc. Source: HK Law
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