Robert Kritzman Shares Insights With Seatrade Cruise News on COVID-19-Related Lawsuits Affecting Cruise Industry

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (July 22, 2021) - Fort Lauderdale Partner Robert Kritzman recently provided his thoughts to Seatrade Cruise News for a series of articles addressing significant COVID-19-related cruise industry lawsuits that are currently pending. These articles describe issues similar to those covered in two prior pieces for which Mr. Kritzman was also interviewed.

The articles titled “CDC Warns Lifting Cruise Line COVID Rules Could Put U.S. At Risk” and “Judge Rejects CDC Motion to Keep Conditional Sailing Order” discuss a case in which a Florida district court lifted a conditional sailing order (CSO) that provided COVID-19-related safety and health guidelines for the cruise industry. The articles also address the court’s recent denial of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) motion to stay the CSO ruling.

In commenting on the practical implications of the case, Mr. Kritzman told Seatrade Cruise News, in part, “Because of the rapid restart of cruising, the issues will be moot if the CDC is unable to obtain a stay.” He added, “Based on the detailed analysis and opinion provided by Judge Merryday, it does not seem likely he will grant the motion. If he does not, the Justice Department will almost certainly move for a stay from the Circuit Court of Appeals. If a stay is not obtained quickly, the actual ability of cruise lines to operate their ships devoid of serious health issues may provide the 11th Circuit the information it needs to rule on the case.” Moreover, in explaining how the circuit court might handle the CDC’s anticipated motion, Mr. Kritzman noted that “if deemed an emergency matter, the Court can appoint a single judge to decide on a temporary stay until a three judge panel can address the issue with more detailed arguments.”

Similarly, the article titled “Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Sues Florida Over Vaccine Passport Ban,” describes Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s (NCLH) suit against the state of Florida in which NCLH alleges that the state law banning vaccine passports is unconstitutional. As the article describes, NCLH contends that Florida’s ban is preempted by federal law, violates the First Amendment right to free speech, and violates the Commerce Clause.

In analyzing the claims set forth by NCLH, Mr. Kritzman told Seatrade Cruise News that, “NCLH’s arguments under the Commerce Clause and federal preemption seem to be reasonable,” while the “First Amendment argument and due process arguments seem less likely to prevail.” He also observed that the “availability of an injunction will depend on various factors,” and that the “resumption of other cruise lines in compliance with the Florida law” could weaken NCLH’s position.

Mr. Kritzman is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Commercial Lending, Complex Business & Commercial Litigation, Marine & Energy, and Transportation Practices. He focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital start-ups, corporate governance, corporate investigations, cross-border transactions, bank financings, lease financing transactions, debt restructurings and work-outs, mezzanine debt transactions and ship sale, and construction and finance transactions. His practice includes various regulatory issues and commercial transactions with an emphasis on the shipping/maritime industry.

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