Family of Costa Concordia victim files wrongful death suit in Galveston federal court

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Apr 16, 2012

The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground near the island of Giglio on Jan. 13.

GALVESTON - The family of a German tourist who died when the MS Costa Concordia ran aground earlier this year is suing Carnival PLC in federal court.

Siglinde Stumpf was among the more than 20 people who died aboard the vessel on Jan. 13 when it struck a rock off the shores of Isola del Giglio, Italy.

According to a lawsuit filed March 30 by her surviving relatives in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, the incident was a result of the captain's "ill-conceived" attempt to "salute" the residents of Isola del Giglio. It also faults Carnival for its failure to implement a proper safety management system and controls.

In a "salute," the captain will steer the large cruise ship close to a popular tourist spot to showcase the vessel and provide an exciting scene for those on the coast.

The suit labels the salute as "an obscene and deadly gesture" and "a shame."

"The grounding of the Costa Concordia was a tragedy, but the plan for passenger safety and evacuation was a travesty, leading to loss of life for some, including the decedent Stumpf, and pain, suffering and trauma for hundreds," the original petition says.

The suit blames the defendant for failing to ensure that "the crew of the Costa Concordia adhered to the safety programs and followed them in an emergency, applying those programs and their training to evacuate the passengers of the Costa Concordia safely and without injury or loss of life."

A day after the suit was filed, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner issued an arrest warrant for the Carnival Triumph, which was docked in Galveston.

The ship left the same evening.

Gilman Allison LLP and Eaves Law Firm are representing the estate of Siglinde Stumpf.

Case No. 3:12-cv-99

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