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Retired Officer Who Sucker Punched Elderly Cruise Passenger Goes To Prison


A retired police officer who sucker punched an elderly passenger aboard a cruise ship is headed to federal prison after being convicted during a bench trial. The man faced charges for assault causing severe bodily injury and manslaughter. He was convicted on the assault charges but acquitted of manslaughter after the judge ruled that it wasn’t clear that the elderly passenger died of the assault or of cancer.

The victim spent 1 month in a British hospital and was eventually transported to California, where he died. According to the criminal case, the man suffered a severe brain injury that deprived him of his cognitive abilities.

It remains unclear why a retired police officer could not control his temper. However, the judge ruled that the victim was not a threat to the officer, and therefore, the officer had no legitimate reason to attack him. He has been sentenced to 46 months.

Is the cruise line responsible for this injury? 

The vast majority of cruise industry lawsuits involve claims that are roughly analogous to premises liability. Premises liability claims are filed against property owners who expose guests to known dangers. In cases like this, the allegation against the cruise line would be analogous to a negligent security lawsuit.

In order to prove negligent security, you have to establish that the injury was foreseeable. In the case of a retired police officer cold-cocking an elderly passenger, it may not be possible for the family to impute liability onto the cruise ship unless they failed to render aid immediately after the incident.

Alternatively, if the passenger is injured, then the cruise line has a duty of care to render medical services. If the injury is beyond the scope of the medical services they can render, then the passenger has to be airlifted to the nearest hospital.

Ultimately, it may be difficult for the victim or their family to file a cause of action against the cruise line if they simply responded to the assault in the manner in which they were expected. While the assault did occur on their property, that isn’t enough to hold them liable unless they failed to address the situation and further injury occurred. Ultimately, the assaulter is responsible for the death and injury to the victim and while the family can sue him, they may not recover much in the way of damages. Individuals don’t carry insurance policies and don’t necessarily have deep pockets which gives them the ability to discharge the judgment in bankruptcy, which usually occurs. Plus he won’t be earning an income while he’s in prison for the next four years.

Talk to a Miami Cruise Ship Injury Attorney 

Miami admiralty & maritime attorney Michael F. Guilford represents the interests of residents who have been injured aboard cruise ships. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


Contact the Law Offices of Michael F. Guilford, P.A. for a free initial consultation with Michael Guilford. Flexible appointment times are available. If you can't come to us, we will come to you. Call toll free 866-473-2636 or describe your injuries in an email.

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