By City News Service
Santa Clarita, CA-based Princess Cruises is being sued by a Michigan man who says he fell into one of the famed canals in Venice, Italy, when an excursion guide loosened his hold on one of the plaintiff's hands while assisting him out of a gondola.
John Luks, 82, of Michigan filed the lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging negligence and breach of contract. His wife, 76-year- old Rita Luks, witnessed her husband's fall and is suing for emotional distress and loss of consortium.
Luks is seeking unspecified damages.
A Princess Cruises representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the complaint, the Luks were passengers on the MS Ruby Princess on a cruise from Citavecchia, near Rome, to Venice when they took a shore exclusion billed as an "Evening Gondola Ride with Serenade" last May 23.
Princess' website touts its shore excursions as "carefully selected and provided by reputable tour operators who meet high standards of Princess," and assures passengers that their "security and comfort are of paramount importance," the suit states.
The suit says that while the plaintiff was being assisted in disembarking from the gondola at the end of the excursion, the tour guide "let go of Luks' hand, causing him to fall forward on the uneven, wet surface of the canal dock stairs, striking his head and falling into the waters of the Venetian canal."
Luks ingested canal water, causing him to suffer anoxia, pneumonia and an infection that left him on life support, including a respirator, for 10 days, according to his suit.
Princess had an obligation to use reasonable care in contracting with outside shore excursion operators and to make sure they maintained proper safety standards, especially for older passengers like Luks, according to the complaint.