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Carnival Cruise Files Motion to Dismiss Emotional Distress Complaint


A Miami judge has denied Carnival Cruise’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit stemming from a guest who suffered a heart attack aboard their vessel. Jeffrey Eisenmann died aboard the vessel as his family was forced to look on in horror. The lawsuit says that the Carnival crew kept Eisenmann from getting the proper care that he needed. It also accuses the crew of callous behavior which formed the backbone of their emotional distress complaint.

Carnival argued that their conduct wasn’t sufficiently egregious to warrant an emotional distress complaint and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The judge will leave that question to be answered by a jury.

The Eisenmanns have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in which they accuse Carnival Cruise of medical negligence, negligence, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress.

What is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress? 

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is a claim brought forward in a personal injury lawsuit. To prove this claim, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s conduct was sufficiently outrageous to warrant the filing. Unlike other types of personal injury lawsuits, intentional infliction of emotional distress need not accompany some physical injury. To put it another way, you do not need to show that there was some physical injury if the emotional distress was inflicted intentionally. In other cases, a litigant might claim that the emotional distress was inflicted by recklessness or negligence.

What Constitutes Extreme or Outrageous Conduct? 

Simple emotional distress damages are generally covered under pain and suffering. Intentional infliction of emotional distress is a grade higher (or worse) than basic emotional distress and as such, it requires exceptional proof. In this case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous.

To put it another way, emotional distress damages are connected to a single complaint. For instance, a plaintiff slips in a parking lot, damages their wrist, and now can’t play tennis (something they enjoy) for an extended period of time. Intentional infliction damages are a separate complaint filed by the plaintiff amid other complaints. Carnival Cruise was not trying to get the whole lawsuit dismissed, but the claim for intentional infliction.

Extreme and outrageous conduct is conduct that goes beyond any kind of basic human decency. Candidates for intentional infliction include practical jokes that go way to far or callous indifference to the suffering another particularly when the defendant is in a position of power over the plaintiff. The latter is true here.

The lawsuit contends that after Eisenmann suffered a heart attack, he needed to be flown to Miami which had a major cardiac unit. Eisenmann had purchased insurance for air transport to ensure this possibility was handled but was told that another passenger needed the air transport first. By the time the cruise line got Eisenmann to a hospital, he could not be saved.

Talk to a Cruise Ship Injury Attorney Today 

If you’re a passenger who’s been injured aboard a cruise ship, Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford can help you recover damages related to your injuries. Talk to us today for a free consultation.




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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

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