Last week, a toddler's grandfather was charged with negligent homicide in her death after he held her up on the 11th floor of a docked Royal Caribbean cruise ship and she fell through what he thought was a closed glass window.
Under Article 24 of the Puerto Rico Penal Code, an act is negligent if it "is performed without intent, but imprudently, when not observing the standard care that a reasonably prudent person would have observed..." This is the crux of the case. Would a reasonably prudent person hold up a toddler against an 11th story glass window on an established cruise liner? I say yes.
Children love to bang on glass and no one would assume one of the large glass panels seen in the below image would be left open. Even if the grandfather hadn't lifted up the child, any other naturally curious child could easily have pushed over a chair and climbed up to the window ledge. I know my kids could have done such a thing. Why would Royal Caribbean even allow these windows to open? If anyone was negligent, or perhaps even reckless, it was Royal Caribbean.
With a "Family Vacations" tab and photos that appeal to kids young and old like this one on it's website, Royal Caribbean is clearly not catering to an adult-only crowd.
Insofar as it welcomes passengers of all ages, the cruise line established in 1968 must take comprehensive safety precautions for its youngest passengers. Where one might argue the grandfather and the cruise line are each contributorily negligent, I disagree. No one in his right mind would assume that particular window would open. It's low enough that a curious child could have easily climbed through, with or without someone helping him up. A reasonably prudent person could assume windows at that level would be sealed shut, as they should be, and therefore, the grandfather should not be convicted.
You can read more here and here.
I welcome your opinions.
Lawyer and legal writer, Julie worked primarily in real estate law before focusing her career on the social media and marketing aspects of the legal industry.