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Family sues Royal Caribbean after child sustains brain injury during game on cruise

Family sues Royal Caribbean after child sustains brain injury during game on cruise

The parents of a child who had to undergo emergency brain surgery because of an injury he sustained while playing a ball game during a cruise have filed suit against the cruise line, charging it with negligence.

Leo Tao was on a cruise operated by Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in February 2013 when he was invited by crew members to participate in a game similar to dodge ball while the ship was docked in Nassau, Bahamas, according to the complaint in Leo Tao v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which was filed in federal district court in Miami. The litigation was filed in May, but only publicized this week when a Miami NBC affiliate ran a segment on it.

The game, which took place on the hardwood or concrete deck of the vessel, involved several children running back and forth while crew members and others threw balls at the children, according to the complaint.

“No protective equipment was provided to the children by the defendant, nor were any warning signs present during the course of this game,” said the complaint. “Ultimately, while participating in this game, plaintiff had collided with another child.” According to the news report, the nine-year-old underwent emergency brain surgery in Nassau. The lawsuit charges he suffered “severe and permanent injury.”

Royal Caribbean said in a statement, “We regret that a young guest that sailed onboard Monarch of the Seas was injured. A vacation is supposed to be filled with fun, rejuvenation and relaxation, and it is regrettable that this family's vacation was interrupted by their son's injury. However, Royal Caribbean believes that while this unfortunate incident happened onboard a cruise ship, it is not unique to a cruise ship, and could happen at any school, playground, or day care.”