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Italy court awards Costa Concordia passenger over USD100,000

ROME (AP) – An Italian court has ordered Costa Crociere cruise line to pay EUR92,700 (USD105,000) to a passenger who was aboard the Costa Concordia when it crashed and capsized off Tuscany in 2012, in one of the few civil lawsuits to have reached a verdict against the company.

The Genoa court recognised that passenger Ernesto Carusotti suffered post-traumatic stress as a result of the disaster, which killed 32 people, according to the Codacons consumer group which represented him.

Costa, which is part of the United States (US)-based Carnival Corp, declined to comment
on Wednesday.

Some 4,200 passengers and crew were aboard the Concordia when it slammed into a reef January 13, 2012, off Tuscany’s Giglio island. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is serving a 16-year prison sentence after he was convicted of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel.

Prosecutors say Schettino intentionally brought the ship too close to shore in a stunt, and then abandoned the listing liner while passengers and crew were still aboard.

The Costa Concordia leans on its side after running aground in 2012. PHOTO: AP

During Schettino’s trial, Costa told the Florence court it had paid out EUR84 million in compensation to passengers, crew and relatives of the 32 dead, according to Italian media reports at the time. But a small percentage of people refused the compensation package and pursued lawsuits.

According to Codacons, Genoa Judge Paolo Gibelli ruled that Costa Crociere was liable not only for the shipwreck itself but for the traumatic experience that Carusotti suffered.

It ordered Costa pay Carusotti EUR77,000 in damages plus EUR15,692 in legal fees.

In a statement, Codacons said the award was a “very important victory” since it showed the “total incongruity” of Costa’s compensation package to most of the victims.

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