November 13, 2013 Articles

Costa Concordia Actions: Florida Courts' Differing Views on Venue

By Deborah A. Elsasser, Nicholas Magali, and Philip R. Weissman

With the recent efforts to "right" the Costa Concordia cruise ship nearly two years after its grounding off the coast of Italy, it seems fitting to reflect on the venue battle that has taken place in the state and federal courts in Florida between the passenger-claimants and the ship owners/operators.

When the accident first occurred, there was much discussion over whether any claims would be litigated in U.S. courts given the predominantly Italian contacts with the incident. It turns out, despite the best efforts of the defendants, several claims will be litigated in the United States due to the inconsistent application of the forum non conveniens (FNC) doctrine by the Florida courts. That doctrine permits a court to dismiss a case over which it has jurisdiction if there is a more convenient forum for the claims.

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