A lawsuit filed by the parents of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand who fell to her death off a Royal Carribean cruise ship last year will proceed.
Royal Carribean Cruises had previously asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit, but the request was denied.
“The parties have exchanged very little in terms of discovery and catapulting this case past the discovery phase would require the plaintiffs to defend the merits of their case prematurely and without essential evidence,” U.S. District Judge Donald Graham wrote in his ruling.
Michael Winkleman, an attorney for the family, said, “We are very pleased with the court’s decision and look forward to getting to the merits of the case.”
The 18-month girl was playing with her grandfather, Salvatore Anello in a dining hall, which had large windows and one of the panes was open. She died after she fell from her grandfather’s arms.
The family argues that the cruise line didn’t “adequately mark the open windows so that they are apparent to passengers.” They explained that Chloe’s grandfather is colorblind, so he couldn’t have seen that the green-tinted windows on the upper deck near the kids’ play area were open.
The cruise line, however, claims that it has photos and video showing the grandfather leaning out the windows and that he must have known they were open.
The parents said that there are more cameras that show what actually happened.
“Royal Caribbean has demonstrably lied to this court and, in so doing, Royal Caribbean has created a false narrative to accompany Royal Caribbean’s carefully selected CCTV video upon which Royal Caribbean bases its motion to dismiss,” the lawsuit says.
Anello has been charged with negligent homicide. Prosecutors claim he “negligently exposed [his granddaughter] through one of the windows.” He has since been released on bond and is back home in Indiana.
Last year, Anello said that he blamed himself for Chloe’s death, but now he blames the cruise line.
“I just want them to fix the boat. Just fix it. Just fix the boat,” he said.