Yes, a corporation can be found guilty of a crime, not just an individual. Often times, while representing an individual in a case against the cruise ship company to recover for injuries suffered by a passenger or crew member, the cruise ship defense attorneys will ask if the plaintiff has ever been convicted of a felony. This evidence is relevant in the case because it has been determined that any felony convictions involving dishonesty are relevant to the credibility of the individual. In this instance, it is a corporation, Carnival Corporation, who is the convicted felon. Carnival was convicted in 2016 for environmental crimes on the Princess cruise ships under their umbrella and ended up paying $40 million as part of a guilty plea, plus they were placed on a 5 year probation. It was not the first conviction for Carnival Corporation for dumping oily waste into the ocean. It was actually the third conviction for the same crime of dumping oily waste into the ocean since 1998! Hard to believe, but true!
In the recent charges of violating its probation, Carnival Corporation reached a deal with prosecutors regarding the charges, which included dumping plastic into Bahamian waters and then falsifying records. Clearly acts involving dishonesty! In fact, federal court judge Patricia Seitz is so concerned with the violation of the probation and this continued conduct that she has required Carnival Corporation executives, including chairman Mickey Arison, as well as the president Arnold Donald, to appear before her on June 3rd. It will be interesting to see how the judge addresses this convicted felon who persists in this illegal conduct.
In the meantime, Carnival spends millions in advertising and public relations in order to create a particular image with the public. I have always taken the position that in any type of litigation against Carnival, the fact that they are a convicted felon should be relevant to the credibility of their defenses and position in the case, just as it would when an individual has been convicted of a felony involving dishonest conduct. I have often encountered cases where there are allegations of a cruise ship company trying to cover-up a particular incident, and it has appeared to me that the courts and the public initially can’t believe that a well-known cruise ship company would engage in such conduct. This case where the executives have to appear before a federal court judge involves an ongoing disregard of the law, not to mention our environment!
We continue to represent individuals injured in cruise ship incidents, as well as family members who have lost a loved one due to an incident on a cruise ship. It is important to be experienced in the field of maritime law and handling these type of cases in order to be able to pursue all the relevant evidence regarding a particular incident that might get generated or be available when a person is injured or killed during a cruise.
Our firm handles all type of boating accidents and other incidents at sea in addition to our heavy involvement in representing victims injured on a cruise ship.