A Florida Federal jury has in this recent award apportioned fault equally between the claimant and the defendant cruise line operator.

The passenger was injured when she tripped over deckchairs on one of the liner’s ships.  She was walking on a curved portion of the deck that was narrowed because the restaurant of the ship protruded into the walkway.  Her right foot clipped one of the deck chairs along the path.  She did not see the chair because she was walking behind her husband.  The defendant’s evidence was that its employees were required to place unoccupied deck chairs next to the walkway in an upright position so they would not protrude into the path and that employees regularly patrolled the area to check the chairs.

The principles applicable to this US claim in tort are no different from the delictual principles for negligence which would be applied in South African law. The 50/50 finding, although by a judge and not a jury, is unlikely to have been any different.

A lesson in ensuring that the deck chairs are arranged to avoid harm.