Shipwreck Suit Filed In U.S.; Judge May Send It To Italy

In an apparent race to the courthouse, the first U.S. lawsuit has been filed based on the Jan. 13 disaster off the coast of Tuscany. Surprisingly, the named plaintiff is a crewmember, rather than a passenger, who is a resident of Lima, Peru, rather than of the United States. The case also seems oblivious to the substantial legal hurdles that lawyers around the world have been pondering for more than two weeks.

The suit, filed Jan. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by Chicago personal injury lawyers Ribbeck Lawchartered, is a class action by Gary Lobatan on behalf of at least 4,200 passengers and crewmembers on board the Costa Concordia when it went aground near Giglio, Italy. It does not mention the survivors of the 17 who have been confirmed dead (another 16 are still missing). Carnival Corporation and its subsidiary, Costa Crociere, are both named defendants.


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