It's been a good week for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL), which won one lawsuit and settled another. Both outcomes relieved the cruise line of responsibility for onship problems.
First, in a federal court suit in New York, a jury awarded Celebrity Cruise Lines, a RCCL subsidiary, $193 million. The losing party, Essef, was held responsible for a 1994 outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease. The judgment is likely to be appealed.
Legionnaire's Disease is caused by a bacteria and can lead to pneumonia. It is named after an outbreak at a Legionnaire's convention, in which the bacteria was in the ventilation system. In the Royal Caribbean case, Essef had provided a defective filter in the hot-tub system. Sixteen people got sick over nine weeks and one later died.
Second, providing "closure" to a highly publicized case, Royal Caribbean settled with Jennifer Hagel Smith. Her husband disappeared off a Royal Carribbean cruise a year ago during the couple's honeymoon. The case remains an unsolved mystery and the subject of constant speculation on some cable news outlets.
The terms of the settlement are confidential, as are the terms of most settlements. What has been disclosed is that Royal Caribbean will match a contribution by Jennifer Hagel Smith to the charity of Mrs. Smith's choice and they will continue to provide her with information relating to the disappearance.
The settlement is likely to adversely affect the search for truth about George Smith's disappearance. With Mrs. Smith and Royal Caribbean both trying to prove who is or is not responsible, the investigation would have been ratcheted into high gear. Now, a year later, with the trail cold, there's little motivation to do more than wait for new information to just pop up.
ADDENDUM: Hours before RCCL settled with Mrs. Smith, George Smith's parents filed their own lawsuit against RCCL.