In announcing his decision to rule against the Wiegand family, federal judge Donald Graham said there was no way that Royal Caribbean could have anticipated Anello’s decision to hold 18-month-old Chloe up to an open window, reports Dailymail.co.uk.
‘The true risk-creating danger here was Mr Anello lifting a child up to an open window’ wrote judge Graham, as he entered a summary judgement in the cruise operator’s favor.
‘The Plaintiffs have provided no evidence showing the defendant was on notice of that danger.’
Reacting to the ruling, Michael Winkleman, the Wiegand’s attorney, said the couple plan to appeal.
‘The family is surprised and deeply saddened by the court’s ruling.
‘This is a matter that should be decided by a jury, and we are confident and hopeful the appellate court will agree.
‘We will be filing the appeal shortly and we will continue to fight and raise awareness about the dangers of unintentional toddler window falls. This case was always about Chloe and shining a light on her brief but beautiful life.’
Chloe’s death happened as the toddler and her granddad were about to embark on a seven-night Caribbean cruise with her parents, older brother, fraternal grandparents and Anello’s wife Patricia.
Distressing on-board camera footage showed Anello holding the little girl up to the glass sides of the ship for 34 seconds before she suddenly fell through an opening, tumbling 150ft, onto the concrete pier in San Juan.
Afterwards Anello claimed that he had no idea he was placing her up against an open window because there were no warning signs and he could not distinguish between tinted glass and fresh air because he is colorblind.
Despite this Anello was arrested and charged by police in Puerto Rico, and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of negligent homicide.
Despite his admission of guilt, Kimberly, 38, and Alan, 42, continued to blame Royal Caribbean, pushing on with a negligence lawsuit launched within days of Chloe’s death.
However Judge Graham decided to side with Royal Caribbean, agreeing that Chloe’s death was solely the result of Anello’s ‘unforeseeable’ behavior. He also stated that Anello should have used his basic senses to realize, from the noise, light and wind, that the window was ajar.
Judge Graham wrote: ‘Based on the record evidence which reveals that the windows surrounding the subject window were tinted; that Mr Anello reached out in front of him and felt no glass in the window opening before extending the Decedent out to the window opening; that this incident took place on the 11th deck of the defendant’s vessel.
‘And that Mr Anello leaned his upper body over the wooden hand railing and out to the window opening before deciding to lift the Decedent up to the window, this court finds that a reasonable person through ordinary use of his senses would have known of the dangers associated with Mr Anello’s conduct.
‘Accordingly, the defendant owed no duty to warn of it’, Graham wrote.
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