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Man Sues Cruise Line Over Spill from Gondola in Venice: Around Michigan

John Luks, who lives near Lansing, alleges in his lawsuit that a tour guide let go of his hand while he was disembarking from a gondola, causing him to hit his hed and fall into the waters of the Venetian canal.

John Luks of Michigan is seeking unspecified damages in his lawsuit against Princess Cruises. (Patch file photo)
John Luks of Michigan is seeking unspecified damages in his lawsuit against Princess Cruises. (Patch file photo)

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.

C April 06, 2014 at 08:12 PM
Well Jen, since you know nothing about this gentleman, perhaps he did take care exiting the gondola. However, if anyone was being assisted while getting out of a boat of any type, I'm sure that they would expect the person to NOT let go, as most people would lose their balance, in that case. I really hate it when people think a senior should stay home all of the time. They have a right to enjoy a trip, without the fear of being injured by a careless (?) tour guide.
Jack Manning April 07, 2014 at 10:18 AM
Tough, life is full of unintended consequences. The only thing all wet here is this frivolous lawsuit. By the way, the Trial Lawyers are dumping millions into the Congressional Elections to defeat the GOP from getting control of The Senate. The GOP has vowed to implement Legal Reform which will be anathema for the Trial Lawyers.
Jen April 07, 2014 at 01:26 PM
C, I actually take care of a 96 year old woman 6 days a week 14-18 hours a day. I know that older people need to get out but they must assume the risks with doing so. I also know that elderly people still want to "do it on their own" and often do not wait to establish proper holds on people or things when accomplishing a task. I don't think he should stay at home all the time but he does need to take responsibility for the risks he decides to take. (maybe he needs a caregiver to be there to assist him all the time- we are specifically trained to manage senior risks) If he had decided to jump out of a plane and had a heart attack on the way down, should the company be liable?
Sue Czarnecki April 07, 2014 at 01:42 PM
Really, Jack. Back in 2000, the Bush Boy could not get his case into Court fast enough to get appointed the Worst President in the History of the USA. Since when did the Repubs hate the court system & trials ????
Kim R. April 22, 2014 at 03:26 PM
Dear Jen - your friend should call the attorney for the Luks - Mark Schwartz 248-353-4000 for assistance.

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