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Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirms dismissal of maritime slip and fall premises liability case against cruise line, concluding that complaint lacked sufficient facts suggesting the amount of time the hazard existed on the deck before the fall or that there were crewmembers monitoring the area

On February 28, 2022, in Newbauer v. Carnival Corporation, No. 21-10955, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a plaintiff’s maritime premises liability complaint against the cruise line defendant. The plaintiff alleged that her slip and fall injuries were due to the defendant’s negligence in allowing a liquid or wet, slippery transitory substance to remain on the deck of the ship where she fell. Although the complaint included allegations that the dangerous condition had existed for a sufficient period of time before her fall that such that Carnival had actual or constructive knowledge of its presence and the opportunity to correct or warn about the hazard, the Court of Appeals concluded that this was insufficient, quoting from Chaparro v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2012) that “[a] complaint that provides ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action’ is not adequate to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss,” and that the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” The Court further explained that a plausible claim must allege facts that are more than merely “possible,” although a probability is not required. The Court stated that the plaintiff’s allegations were not plausible because she failed to allege any facts suggesting the amount of time the hazard existed on the deck before she fell or that there were crewmembers monitoring the area.

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