Doe v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd., No. 10-10809 (11th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
This case stemmed from plaintiff's allegations that, while she was employed with defendant on one of its cruise ships, she was drugged by other employees, raped, and physically injured while she was unconscious, and when she reported to officials of the cruise line what had happened to her, they treated her with indifference and even hostility, failed to provide her with proper medical treatment on board, and interfered with her attempts to obtain medical treatment and counseling ashore. Plaintiff subsequently asserted five claims against defendant involving violations of the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. 30104, or the general maritime law applicable to the Seaman's Wage Act, 46 U.S.C. 10313. Plaintiff's remaining five claims involved common law tort claims. At issue was whether plaintiff's claims fell within the scope of the arbitration clause in the crew agreement. The court held that the district court did not err in holding that Counts VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X of plaintiff's complaint did not fall within the scope of the arbitration provision where all five of these claims involved factual allegations about how the cruise line and its officials treated plaintiff after learning that she had been raped, including allegations that she was kept on the ship against her will, that she was prevented from getting medical attention off the ship, that her rape kit was destroyed in the incinerator, and that her confidentiality as a rape victim was intentionally violated. The court held, however, that the remaining five counts arose directly from her undisputed status as a "seaman" employed by defendant and fell within the scope of the arbitration provision. Therefore, the district court erred in denying defendant's motion to compel arbitration for Counts I, II, III, IV, and V.