Tarasewicz v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Decision Date30 June 2015
Docket NumberCASE NO. 14-CIV-60885-BLOOM/Valle
PartiesANDREZEJ TARASEWICZ, individually, and JOANNA PASCHILKE TARASEWICZ, individually, Plaintiffs, v. ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD., d/b/a ROYAL CARIBBEAN, RCL and/or RCCL; ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL, f/k/a ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINE; the M/V "LIBERTY OF THE SEAS," her boilers, engines, tackle, equipment, freight, appliances, appurtenances, etc., in rem; KJETIL GJERSTAD, individually; Marine Global GROUP AS, an active foreign Norwegian private limited company; Marine Global NORWAY AS, active foreign Norwegian private limited company; Marine Global HOLDING AS, an active foreign Norwegian private limited company; Marine Global SWEDEN AB, an active foreign Swedish limited company; Marine Global GROUP, INC., a Florida foreign business organization; YARA INTERNATIONAL ASA, an active Norwegian public limited company; GREEN TECH MARINE AS, an active foreign Norwegian private limited company; GREEN TECH MARINE GGG AB, an active foreign Swedish private limited company; BENGT PETER KENNY STRANDBERG, an individual; AMT MARINE AND INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING LTD., an active foreign United Kingdom private limited company; and CEGA GROUP SERVICES LTD., a foreign United Kingdom private limited company, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of Florida

THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon the following motions: (i) Defendant Marine Global Group AS's ("MGG") motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Andrezej Tarasewicz ("Plaintiff") and Joanna Paschilke Tarasewicz (together, "Plaintiffs") Verified Complaint, ECF No. [1] for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, for failure to state a claim, and on grounds of forum non conveniens, ECF No. [99] (the "MGG Motion to Dismiss"); (ii) Defendants Marine Global Norway AS ("MG Norway") and Green Tech Marine AS's ("Green Tech") joinder in the MGG Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. [144];1 (iii) Green Tech's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' Verified Complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim, ECF No. [142] (the "Green Tech Motion to Dismiss"); (iv) MG Norway's2 motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' Verified Complaint on similar grounds, ECF No. [143] (the "MG Norway Motion to Dismiss"); (v) Green Tech's motion, ECF No. [195] (the "Green Tech Motion on Royal Caribbean's Cross-Claims") to dismiss or compel arbitration regarding cross-claims asserted against it by Defendants Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. ("RCCL") and RCL Cruises Ltd. ("RCL", with RCCL, "Royal Caribbean"), ECF No. [95] (the "Royal Caribbean Cross-Complaint"); and (iv) Green Tech and MG Norway's motion, ECF No. [230] (the "Motion on AMT's Cross-Claims") to dismiss cross-claims asserted against them by Defendant AMT Marine and Industrial Engineering Ltd. ("AMT"), ECF No. [197] (the "AMT Cross-Complaint"). In addition to Plaintiffs, who oppose the Green Tech and MG Norway Motions to Dismiss, Royal Caribbean and the M/V "Liberty of the Seas" (the Defendant "Vessel," with Royal Caribbean, the "Royal Caribbean Parties") oppose the MGG Motion to Dismiss. See ECF No. [161]. Royal Caribbean opposes Green Tech's motion to dismiss its cross-claims. AMT, while conceding in certain respects, opposes the motion to dismiss its cross-claims. The motionshave been fully briefed. See ECF Nos. [126], [135], [161], [162], [163], [164], [184], [187], [188], [190], [196], [203], [209], [212], [242]. The Court has carefully reviewed the motions, all supporting and opposing briefing and submissions on each of the motions, the record in this case, and applicable law. The Court has had the benefit of oral argument from the parties on the motions to dismiss the Verified Complaint at a hearing held on May 20, 2015. See ECF No. [223]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court dismisses, on grounds of forum non conveniens, all of the claims asserted by Plaintiffs in the Verified Complaint; determines independently that personal jurisdiction is lacking as to MGG, Green Tech and MG Norway as to those claims; dismisses or stays all of the cross-claims asserted by Royal Caribbean against Green Tech; and dismisses, for forum non conveniens, the cross-claims asserted by AMT against Green Tech and MG Norway.


This action stems from injuries suffered by Plaintiff, a Polish welder and pipefitter, while working on board the Defendant Vessel in 2012. According to the Verified Complaint, Plaintiff worked over a period of several months in early and late 2012 installing and repairing an experimental exhaust scrubber system on the Vessel. Plaintiff claims that unsafe working conditions and materials caused him to suffer an ischemic stroke in December, 2012. After an initial misdiagnosis, Plaintiff was removed from the Vessel when it docked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and was taken to Broward Health Medical Center for treatment. Plaintiff remains here in South Florida. On April 15, 2014, Plaintiff and his wife, also Polish, initiated suit in this forum against fifteen foreign Defendants, several of which have been dismissed from this action. The remaining Defendants are RCCL and Royal Caribbean International, both Liberian companies; the Bahamian-flagged Vessel; Kjetil Gjerstad, a Norwegian individual whomPlaintiff claims captained the Vessel; MGG, MG Norway, Green Tech and Bengt Peter Kenny Strandberg, all Norwegian companies (and one of their officers or owners, also Norwegian) involved in the development and manufacture of the scrubber system; and AMT, a Welsh company based in the United Kingdom, who, by contract with ship.zim, a Polish company not joined to this action, arranged for Plaintiff's employ and insurance aboard the Vessel. In their Verified Complaint, Plaintiffs assert the following claims: negligence under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30104 (Count I); breach of the implied warranty of seaworthiness (Count II); failure to provide maintenance, cure and unearned wages (Count III); failure to pay earned wages (Count IV); and negligence (Count V). Counts I through III are asserted against RCCL, Royal Caribbean International, the Vessel, MGG, MG Norway, Green Tech, Strandberg and AMT; Counts IV and V are asserted against those Defendants and Gjerstad.3

On May 8, 2014, the Vessel filed a motion to dismiss the Verified Complaint for lack of admiralty jurisdiction. ECF No. [17]. On June 6, 2014, RCCL filed a motion for a more definite statement pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e), arguing that Plaintiffs had improperly lumped together the (then) fifteen named Defendants in the same Counts and had improperly incorporated all general factual allegations within each Count of the Verified Complaint. ECFNo. [27]. On December 18, 2014, the Court denied both motions. ECF Nos. [89], [90]. RCCL, Royal Caribbean International, the Vessel and Gjersted filed their answers and cross-claims in early January, 2015. ECF Nos. [95], [96]. Plaintiffs completed service of process on all of the originally named Defendants in February, 2015. See ECF Nos. [82], [94], [97], [113], [114], [115], [116]. MGG filed its motion to dismiss currently under consideration on January 20, 2015; Plaintiffs, on February 13, 2015, requested that the Court stay consideration of MGG's motion in order to conduct jurisdictional discovery. ECF No. [127]. On February 4, 2015, the Royal Caribbean Parties filed a motion to strike Plaintiffs' jury demand, which Gjerstad joined. ECF Nos. [109], [151], [176]. Green Tech and MG Norway filed their motions to dismiss on March 2, 2015. On March 9, 2015, and March 27, 2015, Plaintiff's filed motions to strike certain of the Royal Caribbean Parties' and Gjerstand's affirmative defenses. ECF Nos. [150, [168]. This matter was transferred to the undersigned on March 31, 2015. ECF No. [170]. On April 1, 2015, resolving several identical requests, the Court set aside the Clerk's entry of default as to AMT. ECF Nos. [102], [107], [138], [148], [180]. Also on April 1, 2015, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion to stay consideration of the MGG Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. [173], and set briefing deadlines with respect to that motion and several other motions to dismiss (including the Green Tech and MG Norway Motions to Dismiss), ECF Nos. [177], [179]. On April 8, 2015, the Court denied the motion to strike Plaintiffs' jury demand. ECF No. [191]. On April 8, 2015, and April 27, 2015, the Court disposed of Plaintiffs' motions to strike certain affirmative defenses. ECF Nos. [194], [205]. AMT filed its answer and cross-claims on April 23, 2015. The MGG, Green Tech and MG Norway Motions to Dismiss were ripe for adjudication as of May 1, 2015; on request of the parties, the Court scheduled and heard argument on those motions on May 20, 2015. See ECF No. [207]. Green Tech's Motion on Royal Caribbean's Cross-Claims, and the Motion on AMT's Cross-Claims, became ripe for adjudication on June 5, 2015, and June 15, 2015, respectively.

The central question here is whether this Court is the proper forum in which to determine Plaintiff's claims.


In the admiralty context, assessing dismissal for forum non conveniens requires two successive analyses. First, the court must determine if U.S. law applies to the case, using a non-exhaustive eight-factor inquiry (often referred to as a choice-of-law analysis). If so, the court should retain jurisdiction. If not, then second, the court must undertake the traditional forum non conveniens analysis: whether the movant has established the existence of an adequate and available alternative forum, and whether the balance of private and public factors weigh in favor of dismissal or retention of the matter. The Court will address each in turn.

A. Forum Non Conveniens as a Threshold Issue

The Supreme Court has made clear that forum non conveniens may be resolved before issues of subject matter or personal jurisdiction if doing so would serve the interests of fairness or judicial economy. Sinochem Int'l Co. v. ...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT