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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    5

    Default Tourist Contracted Ciguatera at a 5 Star Resort in Turks and Caicos

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the country of: Turks and Caicos

    So I'm actually typing this from a hospital in Miami right now (although I'm a resident of Texas), but here's the details.

    Got married on 5/15 and started our honeymoon on 5/18 at an all inclusive (minus alcohol) resort in Turks and Caicos.

    This is a 5 star Resort costing approx $1000 per night.

    Ate many fish dishes throughout the week.

    Caught a case of ciguatera. My body went into shock on the boat transport (owned by the resort)during the last day.

    Went to hospital In Turks but was discharged with dehydration (not the greatest hospital).

    Got to the hospital in Miami (worst plane ride of my life) and have been diagnosed with ciguatera - a neurotoxic poison that can take months-years to recover from.

    I've been in the hospital for 5 days but should be getting discharged with meds (neurontin) today.

    Do I have a case to sue the resort? What type of damages should I seek?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,280

    Default Re: Us Honeymooner Catches Ciguatera at 5 Star Resort in Turks and Caicos

    This is not a disease that comes from bad handling and there's no way to inspect the fish (contrary to certain unfounded beliefs) to detect its presence.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,783

    Default Re: Us Honeymooner Catches Ciguatera at 5 Star Resort in Turks and Caicos

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    This is not a disease that comes from bad handling and there's no way to inspect the fish (contrary to certain unfounded beliefs) to detect its presence.
    I would think there may be a duty to warn of the possibility, if there is a reasonable concern of the issue but regardless, given this is in a foreign country, wouldn't the laws of that country control.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Us Honeymooner Catches Ciguatera at 5 Star Resort in Turks and Caicos

    Quote Quoting jk
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    I would think there may be a duty to warn of the possibility, if there is a reasonable concern of the issue but regardless, given this is in a foreign country, wouldn't the laws of that country control.
    If the company has enough contacts and does business in the United States, targeting U.S. citizens in its business dealings, etc. then personal jurisdiction in a U.S. court could be established. It would require analysis of more facts than we have here, so it's only a possibility. Nothing specifically helpful is going to come from a discussion board in a case like this, I don't think. This is something where you'd have to consult with an attorney who can probe for the relevant details.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Tourist Contracted Ciguatera at a 5 Star Resort in Turks and Caicos

    Quote Quoting fishpoison
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    Do I have a case to sue the resort?
    Possibly. If you didn't eat anywhere but at the resort, then it reasonably follows that the contaminated fish was provided by the resort. Assuming general negligence principles apply, with laws being different in every country, you would have to show that the restaurant knew or should have known of the contamination or of a material risk of contamination -- and that may turn out to be a difficult task.
    Quote Quoting jk
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    I would think there may be a duty to warn of the possibility
    That will depend in no small part on whether there are known problems with the fish supply, or a history of similar foodborne illnesses at the resort or possibly in the community, as well as the governing law. While the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT) warns of ciguatera poisoning in the Turks & Caicos, this 2012 thesis suggests that based on self-reporting, only an estimated 3.9% of residents of the Turks & Caicos report ever contracting any fish-related foodborne illness. Applying that measure, the odds of contracting a fish-related foodborne illness during a week or two at a resort would be very low. I also don't want to get too deeply into speculation about what duty to warn might exist in the Turks & Caicos, although I expect that their approach would follow British common law.
    Quote Quoting jk
    ....given this is in a foreign country, wouldn't the laws of that country control.
    Two issues: First, jurisdiction, second, choice of law. It is possible that U.S. courts could have jurisdiction over the resort, depending on its U.S. operations; but assuming that were the case, under principles of choice of law the odds are that they would apply the laws of the Turks & Caicos Islands when resolving the case. Even assuming personal jurisdiction, it is very possible that a U.S. court would decline the case based on principles of forum non conveniens, given that most witnesses remain in the Turks & Caicos. While a U.S. attorney would potentially evaluate the case for litigation within the U.S., there's a good chance that this case will have to be resolved in the Turks & Caicos courts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Tourist Contracted Ciguatera at a 5 Star Resort in Turks and Caicos

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    Possibly. If you didn't eat anywhere but at the resort, then it reasonably follows that the contaminated fish was provided by the resort.
    This resort is on a private island so there is nowhere else to eat.

    They operate one resort in the US, however, their corporate offices are in the UK and Singapore.

    This isn't something I'm looking to get rich off of, I'd just like my medical expenses covered and a refund of our trip. I don't feel that is unreasonable.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,275

    Default Re: Us Honeymooner Catches Ciguatera at 5 Star Resort in Turks and Caicos

    Quote Quoting fishpoison
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    Do I have a case to sue the resort?
    Possibly.

    Quote Quoting fishpoison
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    What type of damages should I seek?
    Between a dollar and a gazillion dollars.

    When you get home to Texas start calling personal injury attorneys to find one who is willing to handle it for you.

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