Royal Caribbean cruise is not responsible for the death of a toddler who fell from her grandfather

By Hanan Redwan Published on July 16, 2021
 Royal Caribbean cruise is not responsible for the death of a toddler who fell from her grandfather

Royal Caribbean is not responsible for the death of Chloe Wiegand, who fell from her grandfather's arms on a cruise ship; a judge ruled.

When Chloe Wiegand fell from the 11th floor of the ship docked in Puerto Rico in July 2019, the responsibility rested with her grandfather, Salvatore "Sam" Anello, U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham ruled.

Chloe's parents, Alan Wiegand and Kimberly Schultz Wiegand had sued Royal Caribbean for negligence.

"In the instant case, the danger of lifting the Decedent over the handrailing and extending her out to the open window was open and obvious such that Defendant owed no duty to warn its passengers of the dangers of such conduct," Graham wrote in the ruling filed in Southern District of Florida.

According to the ruling, Anello had testified that he lifted Chloe placed her feet on a wooden handrailing and didn't feel any glass when he extended his hand to touch the window. Video footage from the cruise shows the grandfather leaning over the handrailing as the window was open before her, lifted the child, Graham wrote in the ruling.

"Despite not feeling any glass in front of him, and without confirming that the window was closed, Mr Anello lifted the Decedent beyond the wooden handrailing and extended her body closer to the window opening ... exposing her to the open window and the dock beneath where she ultimately fell to her death." the ruling said.

The judge said it wasn't Royal Caribbean's responsibility to warn passengers of the "obvious danger of placing a child on or through an open window."

"This Court finds that a reasonable person through ordinary use of his senses would have known of the dangers associated with Mr Anello's conduct. Accordingly, Defendant owed no duty to warn of it," the ruling said.

A lawyer for the family said they were surprised and saddened by the ruling and would file an appeal soon.

"This is a matter that a jury should decide, and we are confident and hopeful the appellate court will agree," attorney Michael Winkleman said in a statement. "We will continue to fight and raise awareness about the dangers of unintentional toddler window falls. This case was always about Chloe and shining a light on her brief but beautiful life. That goal has not changed." 

Hanan Redwan

Hanan Redwan

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