A federal court in California has granted Carnival Corp.’s motion for dismissal on the basis on forum non conveniens in an admiralty lawsuit alleging negligence, gross negligence and res ipsa loquitur in the 2012 shipwreck of the MS Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy. Sandoval v. Carnival Corp., No. 12-5517 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal., decided September 15, 2014) (unpublished). The court was persuaded that an alternative foreign forum would be adequate, given the defendant’s agreement to submit to the jurisdiction of an Italian court and the availability of some remedy under Italian law.
Weighing the private and public interests at stake, the court found that granting dismissal would be appropriate particularly in light of the significant number of witnesses and evidence located in Italy and the difficulty of procuring much of it under the Hague Convention. As well, the plaintiffs had indicated that they intended to pursue legal action in Italy against Italian defendants, so the court found that avoiding duplicative proceedings that create the risk of inconsistent results would further weigh in favor of dismissal. The court was also persuaded that with just 100 U.S. citizens involved as passengers out of more than 3,000, the public interest would be served by dismissing the U.S. action.