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Family Can Sue Carnival Cruise Lines Over Teen's Death

The family of a 14-year-old girl who was shot and killed during a cruise vacation can move forward with their suit against Carnival Cruise Lines.

The suit, approved by the U.S Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, was filed by the Perez family in May 2011, a year after their daughter Liz Marie was killed by random gunfire on an excursion in the Virgin Islands. The family claimed that Carnival Cruise Lines was negligent for failing to warn passengers about violence at one of their port stops and failing to screen its ports of call.

According to the Miami Herald, a crew member recommended the Coki Beach area of St. Thomas to the Perez family while on the 2010 cruise that departed from Puerto Rico. The family was on a bus, not sponsored by the cruise lines, back to the cruise ship, when shots were fired, hitting Liz Marie in the abdomen. She was announced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital, despite attempts by her father to perform CPR.

Carnival moved to dismiss the case, stating that the cruise line, which is based in Miami, could not be expected to know every potential danger at every port of call.

The three-judge appellate panel, which reversed the lower court's dismissal of the lawsuit, said that "the facts in the complaint are plausible and raise a reasonable expectation that discovery could supply additional proof of Carnival's liability."

Source: The Miami Herald, "Appeals court: Suit filed against Carnival by family of slain teen can proceed," Hannah Sampson, Sept. 10, 2012.

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