K.T. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., No. 17-14237 (11th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a minor at the time, embarked on a Royal Caribbean cruise where, on the first night of the cruise, a group of adult male passengers bought her multiple alcoholic drinks and steered her to a cabin where they assaulted and gang raped her. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that Royal Caribbean was negligent in failing to warn passengers and prospective passengers of the danger of sexual assault on a cruise ship, and in failing to take action to prevent the physical assault, including the sexual assault, that plaintiff suffered. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim.
The Eleventh Circuit reversed and held that the complaint sufficiently alleged that because Royal Caribbean's crewmembers did nothing to prevent the large group of men from plying plaintiff with enough alcohol to incapacitate her and did nothing to stop those men from leading her away to a private cabin, Royal Caribbean breached the duty of ordinary care it owed her. Furthermore, but for Royal Caribbean's breach of its duties of care to plaintiff, she would not have been brutalized and gang raped. If the allegations are true, Royal Caribbean proximately caused the alleged injuries. Therefore, the complaint stated a negligence claim against Royal Caribbean. The court also held that the complaint sufficiently alleged that Royal Caribbean's failure to warn plaintiff and her parents of known dangers was a but-for cause of the harm plaintiff suffered.