Dorothy Jackson v. NCL America
Case No. 14-23460-CIV-WILLIAMS
Dorothy Jackson, a crewmember aboard the Pride of America,
sued her employer, Norwegian Cruise Line, alleging that she
sustained injuries when she slipped and fell on onion skin on
one of the ship’s thoroughfares.
At trial, Norwegian showed that Ms. Jackson could not prove that
Norwegian had actual or constructive notice of the risk-creating
condition. There was no evidence to show how the onion skin got
there, who put it there, or how long it had been on the floor.
There was no evidence that one of Norwegian’s agents or
employees had placed the onion skin on the floor. But more
importantly, whoever dropped the onion skin could have simply
failed to notice it. There was no evidence of anybody seeing
anything on the floor before Ms. Jackson slipped and fell.
The Court adopted McAlpin Conroy’s position and concluded that
there was absolutely no evidence that Norwegian knew, or should
have known, about the onion skin on the floor and corrected the
situation. Even though only the slightest evidence of
negligence needs to be shown in Jones Act cases does not mean,
however, that the crewmember may prevail on no evidence at all.
Without being able to prove notice, the U.S. District Court
denied Jackson’s negligence claim.
In addition, in compliance with its maintenance and cure
obligation to crew, Norwegian arranged for Jackson to see a
number of highly qualified doctors. However, Ms. Jackson
rejected the medical treatment offered by Norwegian. From the
onset, she sought to obtain treatment by her own more expensive
physician, rather than from physicians working within
Norwegian’s medical network.
McAlpin Conroy established precedent that the employer is only
liable for the cost of cure at its network rates when the
employer tenders the medical treatment, but the crewmember
elects to proceed with her own physician—at a higher cost.