18 Month Old Dropped 11 Stories By Grandfather

While on summer vacation In 2019, a man named Salvatore Anello dangled and dropped his 18 month old granddaughter Chloe Wiegand 11 stories off of an open window while on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship. Hanging out in a kids play area while on the Freedom of the Seas, grandfather Salvatore Anello can be seen in released video footage leaning out of an open window before picking up Chloe and subsequently dropping her to her death. Salvatore Anello later plead guilty to accidental homicide, and claims he was unaware the window was open. 

Cruise Ship injuries and deaths are unfortunate, common, and legally complicated. Unlike an accident at a Target, or a Publix, Cruise Ship litigation requires a comprehensive understanding of maritime law; and all cases must be dealt with in Federal Court which poses a variety of unique challenges. Salvatore Anello and Chloe’s parents Alan and Kimberly Schultz-Wiegand filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean for violating industry standards by not having preventative measures in place for falling. 

Who’s Fault Was it?

Grandfather Salvatore Anello’s plea deal allowed him to avoid jail time and serve 3 years of probation in Indiana. Meanwhile, the Wiegand family’s lawsuit against Royal Caribbean reached a stark conclusion. A federal judge in Miami dismissed the case saying Royal Caribbean had no fault or responsibility for the tragedy, however, the Wiegand family has demanded the case be heard by a jury instead. A panel of judges have still not issued a final decision on the case.

Situations like the Wiegand case are extremely complicated. One of the primary arguments used by Royal Caribbean against the Wiegand family’s claims of improper safety involve the idea that they could have never prepared for the allegedly inconceivable behavior of Chloe’s grandfather Salvatore. The Wiegand family’s attorney has claimed in response that the lack of fall prevention devices and measures is a direct violation of the American Society for Testing and Materials, which is the industry standard regulatory guideline for cruise ship safety protocol. Ultimately, deciding who’s fault it is in this tragedy is both difficult and contestable. As an attorney who has represented injured and deceased passengers on Cruise Ships for decades, I can speak to the difficulty of this case both emotionally and factually. While Royal Caribbean does have a duty to protect and ensure the safety of their passengers on and off the ship, according to the law, they must also have some type of notice of any danger before an incident takes place in order to be held responsible. 

If you or somebody you know has been injured while on a cruise ship, contact our offices today!