A 27-year-old California woman has filed a lawsuit against Princess Cruises alleging that an art auctioneer aboard the ship raped her — and that she contracted HIV during the sexual assault. The woman claims she was aboard the Sky Princess on Dec. 28, 2021, when a Park West Gallery employee invited her to a shipboard auction. When she arrived for the auction a few days later, the man asked her to stay after the event, but she declined, according to the lawsuit.

She then took part in activities aboard the cruise ship and “drank many alcoholic beverages, most of which were served by Princess crewmembers,” the lawsuit states. The alleged assailant approached the woman again that day and asked her if she was enjoying the time at sea — and she responded, “that there weren’t enough things to do for people her age,” according to the lawsuit.

The man asked her for her cabin number, which she gave him because she “reasonably believed he was asking because he was going to arrange for a Princess employee to help her with activities involving younger passengers,” the lawsuit states. The man then pushed her into a closet and raped her while using a condom — even though she said “no” repeatedly, the legal filing alleges.

However, the condom allegedly came off during the assault or the assailant removed it, according to the lawsuit. Shortly after the cruise ended on Jan. 8, 2022, the woman began feeling ill and underwent tests, which found that she had contracted HIV, the lawsuit charges.

Park West Gallery publicizes itself as “the world’s largest art dealer” and says it has outlets on dozens of cruise ships operated by Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and others.

Cases like this are governed by general maritime law, which holds ship owners like Princess Cruises responsible to their passengers to provide “reasonable care under the circumstances.” However, court after court has held that cruise lines are not “insurers” of a passenger’s safety and can be held responsible only when a passenger can prove the following:

(1) the cruise line had a duty to protect a passenger from a particular injury;

(2) the cruise line breached that duty;

(3) the breach actually and proximately caused the passenger’s alleged injury; and

(4) the passenger suffered an actual injury.

This case represents several legal and factual issues that should be important to anyone with a potential claim against a cruise line.

Successfully suing Princess Cruise Line or any other industry giant such as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, MSC, Carnival, Disney, or others—is subject to the complex rules that govern maritime injury lawsuits. We did not represent this passenger, and we are sympathetic to her for having been victimized by what appears to have been the careless conduct of Princess Cruises and art concessionaire, Park West Gallery.

Successfully proving claims against cruise lines requires assembling facts that can demonstrate that the cruise line’s conduct caused the alleged injury. Cruise ship accident cases must first get past the pleading stage and survive motions to dismiss before a jury will ever hear what actually happened.

Not all accidents on cruise ships are viable claims. Understanding how to investigate and prove claims requires experience and sometimes sheer luck as to how a given judge will analyze each case based upon the unique facts and case law presented. Our cruise ship accident law firm wishes this young lady the very best in her remaining claim against the person who committed the crime against her.

Our law firm provides a free initial legal consultation to anyone who has been injured aboard a cruise ship anywhere in the world. Please contact us today and speak with an experienced cruise accident lawyer by email at [email protected], by telephone toll-free at 1-866-597-4529, direct at 305-441-0440, or by SKYPE. Since 1991 we have helped hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of their passengers’ safety.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Princess Cruises passenger says she got HIV after being raped (nypost.com)