Booze Cruise

You may remember our very recent Dennis Kucinich olive pit lawsuit post in which we intimated, unlike some defense counsel, that some lawsuits may actually have merit. Today, we return to the bounds of legal ridiculousness to discuss injury by chair, specifically on a booze cruise (technically a dinner cruise, but come on!). In Tillson v. Odyssey Cruises a/ka Premier Yachts, Inc., No. 08-10997-DPW, 2011 WL 309660 (D. Mass. Jan. 27, 2011), the Court tells it best:

On June 15, 2007, [Plaintiff] and his wife boarded the M/V ODYSSEY, owned and operated by Premier Yachts, at Rowes Wharf in Boston to attend a cruise dinner. Tillson sat down on a chair at his table for the first time at 7:30 p.m. During the three-hour dinner, [Plaintiff] left his table on three occasions. Upon his return to the table at 10:45 p.m., [Plaintiff] attempted to sit on the chair he had been occupying throughout the evening. At that time the chair’s left rear leg “gave way or broke.” As the chair was settling to the left and rear, [Plaintiff] slipped to his left, while remaining seated, and eventually landed on the floor.

The Court’s description of the event enables us to imagine the event in slow motion. It seems like it did occur in slow motion, as gravity acted on the Plaintiff’s body in a such a way that the best way to describe its coming to rest was through the word “eventually.” We”ve seen many falls in our day, but we were fairly certain that gravity acted on all objects equally. The Plaintiff’s body has some sort of air buoyancy. The court recited additional facts as follows:
After walking off the vessel, [Plaintiff] and his wife boarded a water taxi and then walked for about a quarter mile to their hotel. [Plaintiff] contends that the collapse of the chair caused him to endure back and leg pain, headaches, as well as episodic urinary incontinence.

Far be it from us to suggest that anyone ever fell down on a booze cruise, from a seated position, no less. Odyssey had the unfortunate circumstance of having a chair that “failed due to a cracked weld on its left rear leg.” Also, far be it from us to suggest that anyone would lose control of their bladder on a booze cruise. We will point out that episodic is not defined, and perhaps is limited to episodes where the Plaintiff participates in a booze cruise.

The Plaintiff was so confident in his liability case that he moved for summary judgment. He lost, of course, based on the court’s finding that the evidence of whether Odyssey had notice of the particular dangerous condition at issue presented a question of fact. But, if you plan to allege urinary incontinence from a fall during which you were partially supported by a deck chair, then you must be pretty confident about your case.

So what did we learn? The Plaintiff should have stayed on the deck and demanded a water ambulance. Nothing smacks of a made up lawsuit more than an injury, walking around as if nothing had happened, and then having back pain after the fact. Second, there will soon be a generation of plaintiffs who will demand a water ambulance. You see, with so many law graduates being unemployed, there will be a class of plaintiff who will immediately install a litigation plan, know what to do immediately upon injury, and have a mountain of student loan debt to pay off. Perhaps cases like this, where a plaintiff sues after walking away from the injury, will become less frequent.

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