As most readers will recall, George Smith IV disappeared from Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas on July 5, 2005 while traveling on his honeymoon with bride Jennifer Hagel Smith, and was presumed dead. What was different about this case, as opposed to other more "common" passenger disappearances, is that blood stains on a cover over tenders indicated the circumstances surrounding his death were out of the ordinary. No charges were ever proven.
As we reported on June 30, 2006, the family had filed the lawsuit against Royal Caribbean because of emotional distress resulting from the line's "shocking" and "atrocious" behavior. They also alleged that Royal Caribbean contaminated the crime scene. At the time, Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein commented that "these are recklessly false charges that have already been proven wrong by the facts we publicly disclosed months ago."
Indeed. A statement issued this week by Royal Caribbean notes that "we are pleased by the court's decision to dismiss the Smith lawsuit. For some time, we have said that a fair, accurate and objective review of the facts would clearly demonstrate that the lawsuit was completely baseless.
"The court's decision upholds the validity of our position. Although we will not be surprised if the suit is refilled in some amended fashion, we are confident that the outcome will be the same. We continue to extend our sympathies to the Smith family for the tragic loss of their son."
According to media reports that quote Brett Rivkind, the Smith family's lawyer, an appeal will be filed.
In an unusual twist in a case that has been anything but the norm, George Smith's wife had settled with Royal Caribbean. Financial terms were not disclosed.