The next meeting of the investigators, in the context of their investigation for the causes and circumstances of the fire onboard NORMAN ATLANTIC, is on the 2nd July 2015. They will meet in Genoa, Italy, in order to examine the alarm panel of the ship i.e. the panel where the fire alarms during the incident have (or should have been) recorded. The examination will take place at the specialist laboratory Ship System Srl. The main aim is to extract the data from the data recorder and create digital copies. Experts appointed by our office will attend. During this meeting it is expected that the experts will also determine the schedule for the next actions of the investigation, both onboard the ship as well as for the examination of equipment and crucial machinery of the vessel. It is also expected that at the same above meeting it will be determined when and how the vehicles in the lower garages of the ship, which have not sustained total destruction by the fire, will be removed and their condition will be examined.
The Court and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Bari served us on 24/4 2015, on behalf of the passengers and families of missing passengers of NORMAN ATLANTIC represented by our office, a notice on the preliminary meeting to be held on May 22, 2015 in Bari. During this meeting, official appointment of the technical experts to perform inspection and investigation of the causes and circumstances of the maritime accident will take place, who will take oath. Lawyers from our office will attend the meeting.
Following an unusually long for such serious maritime accidents waiting period, boarding on the damaged vessel and entry into its interiors will take place, for the purpose of: (a) thorough search for remains of still missing passengers, (b) performance of due technical inspection, surveys and investigations on the causes and circumstances of this unprecedented accident, and (c) determine and verify the condition of the vehicles on board the vessel and the extent of the damages.
We are worried and sometimes appalled by the exchange, through social media and electronic or other press releases, of texts related to the NORMAL ATLANTIC case which are produced or reproduced as being announcements, updates, comments, observations, and often “legal advice”, relating the facts, causes, judicial and other procedures. Most of them lack credibility and gravity, and very often do not correspond to reality, but in fact spread inaccuracies and unsubstantiated rumors of persons who are unaware of the facts of the accident, the investigation proceedings and the legal procedures and developments. We urge the victims of this maritime tragedy to disregard such reports and publications, and turn only to their lawyers for responsible information and updating. The investigation of the marine accident on the one hand and the due prosecution of the victims’ rights will not be done by or through the media, but by qualified and experienced technical experts and lawyers, within the context of officially prescribed procedures.
On Saturday, February 14, 2015, NORMAN ATLANTIC was towed from Brindisi to the port of Bari. Within the next few days fire experts and other technical experts and forensics will enter the ship in order to begin the investigation on the causes of the fire and the maritime tragedy. Independent technical experts and advisors appointed on our part will participate in the investigation process in order to ensure that all details with regards to the fire and the causes of the disaster come to light and that the rights of our clients, rescued passengers and families of the missing passengers, are protected and pursued in the best possible way.
Lawyers from our office, on January 30, 2015, met with the Italian Prosecutors in Bari who are in charge of the investigation of the NORMAN ATLANTIC tragedy, and were updated, to the extent permitted by the procedural rules, on the progress and status of the investigation and the existing findings, primarily as far as the missing passengers are concerned, but also regarding vehicles, that are probably not considerably damaged in the lower decks/garages of the vessel. We officially notified the Prosecutors that our office intends to participate, in the name and on behalf of our principals, in all technical surveys and investigations, and have received confirmation that we shall be notified and invited accordingly, as soon as the vessel is towed to Bari in the next few days and before any action is initiated.
Following a diagnosis of multinodular goiter, a 17 year old girl was admitted to a specialized public hospital for a thyroidectomy operation. During the surgery, she suffered unilateral vocal chord paralysis, which resulted to a change in the girl’s voice timber and volume. Pavlakis – Moschos & Associates filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the public hospital on behalf of the 17 year old girl, claiming for moral damages and for special compensation under article 931 of the Greek Civil Code.
The Piraeus Administrative First Instance Court held that the damage to the vocal cords of the patient has been the result of medical negligence, and particularly the surgeon’s negligent failure to identify and preserve the vocal chords during the operation. The Court (Decision No. 2023/2010) awarded moral damages to the victim for the psychological distress suffered as a result of the injury, as well as special compensation under article 931 of Greek Civil Code for physical deformation and impairment, on the basis that the change in the girl’s voice timber and volume will have an adverse effect on her personal, social and economic development which although not specifically quantifiable in terms of economic loss, should be compensated.
An appeal was filed against the decision of the Court of First Instance by both parties. The Piraeus Administrative Court of Appeal, by means of decision no. 2098/2013, upheld the judgment of the Court of First Instance as far as liability of the operating doctors was concerned, and doubled the amount awarded on the basis of article 931 of the Greek Civil Code.