Cape Canaveral Cruise Line, Inc. – Breach of Contract, False Inprisonment

Cape Canaveral Cruise Line, Inc. – Breach of Contract, False Inprisonment

False inprisonmentUNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
ORLANDO DIVISION

SUDHIR NEGI, MELCHOR ALFONSO,
and CANDACE NEGI

Plaintiffs

Case No. :
V.

CAPE CANAVERAL CRUISE LINE, INC.
and STEADFAST SECURITY, INC.,

Defendants,

________________________________ /

COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs SUDHIR NEGI, MELCHOR ALFONSO and CANDACE NEGI, through their undersigned attorney, sue Defendants CAPE CANAVERAL CRUISE LINE, INC. (hereinafter “CCCL”), and STEADFAST SECURITY, INC. (hereinafter “Steadfast”) and allege:

JURISDICTION AND PARTIES
1. This is an action in admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, as hereinafter more fully appears. This Court has jurisdiction of this action under 28 U.S.C. Section 1333.

2. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso are non-resident aliens who at the time of the acts alleged in this complaint were employed as crewmen aboard Defendant CCCL’s vessel, the “SS Dolphin IV”. Defendant CCCL periodically docked said vessel at Port Canaveral, Florida, and at the time of the acts alleged in this complaint, the vessel was docked at Port Canaveral, Florida. Plaintiff Candace Negi is the wife of Plaintiff Sudhir Negi and at all times material herein has been a resident of Brevard County, Florida.

3. Defendant CCCL, is and was at all times relevant herein a foreign corporation registered and doing business in the State of Florida, including Port Canaveral, Florida.

4. Defendant Steadfast is and was at all times relevant herein a Florida corporation registered and doing business in Florida.

5. The unlawful acts alleged herein were committed within Brevard County, Florida.

STATEMENT OF CLAIM

GENERAL FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

6. Plaintiff Sudhir Negi was employed as an Assistant Food Manager by Defendant CCCL aboard CCCL’s luxury cruise ship, the “SS Dolphin IV”, until approximately October 28, 1999. Plaintiff Melchor Alfonso was employed as a Bar Manager by Defendant Cape Canaveral Cruise Line, Inc., aboard the “SS Dolphin IV” until approximately October 28, 1999. Prior to beginning work with Defendant Cape Canaveral Cruise Lines, Inc., Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso had entered into employment contracts (copies of which are attached as exhibits “A” and “B”, respectively ) with Defendant Cape Canaveral Cruise Line, Inc., which set forth the terms and conditions of their employment to work as part of the ship’s crew aboard Defendant CCCL’s ship, the “SS Dolphin IV”.

7. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were terminated from their employment with Defendant Cape Canaveral Cruise Line, Inc., and as crewmen of the “SS Dolphin IV”, on or about October 28, 1999.

8. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso at all times material herein carried out their duties as employees of Defendant Cape Canaveral Cruise Line, Inc., in a diligent and responsible manner.

9. On or about October 24, 1999, while the “SS Dolphin IV”, on which Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were employed was docked at Port Canaveral, Florida, and while Plaintiffs were off duty, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso engaged in a social outing with fellow crewman onshore in Merritt Island, Florida.

10. On or about October 27, 1999, while the “SS Dolphin IV” was docked at Port Canaveral, Florida, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were summoned by their CCCL supervisors to go to the CCCL terminal, where they were informed by CCCL Operations Manager that there would be a “management meeting” for certain ship personnel at an Econo Lodge motel in Cocoa, Florida. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were then taken to the Econo Lodge motel under the false pretense of attending this meeting.

11. On the evening of October 27, 1999, at the Econo Lodge motel, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were informed by CCCL personnel that a fellow crewman had reported to CCCL management that he had been sexually assaulted by another CCCL employee. Plaintiffs were further informed by CCCL personnel that they would have to remain at the Econo Lodge Hotel pending a police investigation of the events surrounding the alleged sexual assault.

12. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were then taken to a room which they had to share with a third crewman. The alleged perpetrator of the assault was confined to a separate room. CCCL paid for the rooms. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso, and the third crewman were placed under guard by two of Defendant Steadfast’s security guards. Defendant CCCL had retained Defendant Steadfast to imprison Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were not permitted to leave the hotel, were placed under guard, were threatened by the physical presence of the guards and their statements to them and their prominent display of handcuffs. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were held and falsely imprisoned against their will, and were physically restrained in their freedom of movement to pursue their normal business and personal affairs and were further restrained in their freedom of movement by verbal threats and intimidation by the physical presence of guards equipped with handcuffs.

13. On or about October 27, 1999, the alleged perpetrator of the sexual assault, Defendant CCCL’s Hotel Manager, was arrested by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Department for sexual battery. Despite this, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso continued to be confined and detained against their will by Defendants CCCL and Steadfast, and they were ultimately deported on or about October 29, 1999.

14. On or about October 28, 1999, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were questioned by a police detective regarding the incidents surrounding the alleged sexual assault. After questioning Plaintiffs Negi and Alfonso, the detective informed Plaintiffs and the guards of Defendant Steadfast who had been guarding them that the Plaintiffs were free to go, and could return to their ship. CCCL and its agent, Steadfast, continued their false imprisonment of Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso.

15. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso made numerous requests to return to the ship, but were denied on each occasion. Their requests for clothing and personal hygiene products were also denied.

16. While her husband, Plaintiff Sudhir Negi, was being confined at the Econo Lodge motel, Plaintiff Candace Negi came to the motel to visit her husband. During her visits, Plaintiffs Candace Negi and Sudhir Negi were closely monitored by Steadfast’s security guards and could not speak in private without being overheard by the guards. The guards were present as Plaintiff Candace Negi made telephone calls to an attorney.

17. Defendant CCCL’s Operations Manager came to the Cocoa, Florida Econo Lodge motel later on the same day and informed Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso that their employment had been terminated by CCCL, and that they would be deported. Plaintiff Sudhir Negi requested that he be flown to the Bahamas so that he could return to the United States by utilizing his B-2 tourist visa, which he possessed, so he could remain with his wife, but CCCL refused to accommodate his request. Instead, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were both deported to London, England, and placed in a detention facility there, and then were returned to their home countries.

18. While Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were being held against their will by Defendants CCCL and Steadfast, Plaintiffs were informed that they were being taken to the Immigration and Naturalization Service offices to be processed for deportation. Plaintiff Sudhir Negi thereupon attempted to speak with his attorney. Defendant Steadfast’s security guard told him to “hang up the phone” and then grabbed the phone from Plaintiff Sudhir Negi’s hand. Defendant Steadfast’s guard then told Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso that if they did not go to immigration he would call the “border patrol”. Thus threatened, Plaintiffs Negi and Alfonso were taken under guard to be processed through immigration. CCCL gave the Plaintiffs’ passports to Defendant Steadfast’s guards, not to the Plaintiffs themselves.

19. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were then returned to the Cocoa Econo Lodge motel where their clothing and personal belongings were delivered to them by CCCL personnel. Plaintiff Sudhir Negi’s wife, Plaintiff Candace Negi, was forced to leave as Plaintiffs packed their belongings, which had been thrown into boxes and mixed together by CCCL personnel. Until that time, while they were being detained, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso had not been provided any change of clothes, or any personal hygiene products, or any of their other personal belongings.

20. Defendant Steadfast’s guard remained with Plaintiffs until they were placed aboard a flight to London, England. Because of the actions of CCCL and Steadfast, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were not given their passports until they reached their home countries. Also as a result of Defendants’ actions, while in England en route to their home countries, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were further confined and imprisoned in a detention facility with other deported persons.

21. During their confinement by CCCL and Steadfast, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso felt physically threatened, due to the physical size, attitude and demeanor of Defendant Steadfast’s security guards and the verbal threats they made, so that at no time during the events complained of herein could Plaintiffs have voluntarily left their confinement. The guards harassed and threatened Plaintiffs and frequently stopped them from making phone calls, and threatened Plaintiffs with their handcuffs, and a guard stated to Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso that he “might have to get physical.”

22. Plaintiffs have complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.

COUNT I

BREACH OF CONTRACT

Plaintiffs incorporates and re-alleges, as fully as if set forth herein, paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Complaint.

23. This action is brought by Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso against Defendant CCCL for breach of contract.
24. Under their employment contracts with CCCL, Plaintiffs were required to be given seven (7) days notice of termination by CCCL.
25. Plaintiffs were not given seven (7) days notice of termination.
26. By deporting Plaintiffs on October 29, 1999, one day after notifying them that they had been terminated, CCCL breached its employment contracts with Plaintiffs.
27. Defendant CCCL owes Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso all wages and other benefits which Plaintiffs would have earned had Defendant CCCL not breached its employment contracts with Plaintiffs.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso pray that this Court grant relief as follows:
A. Order damages to be paid by Defendant CCCL to Plaintiffs;
B. Order payment to Plaintiffs by Defendant CCCL of pre-judgment interest;
C. Grant such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

COUNT II
FALSE IMPRISONMENT

Plaintiffs incorporate and re-allege, as fully as if set forth herein, paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Complaint.

28. This action is brought by Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso against Defendants CCCL and Steadfast for false imprisonment.
29. The events described in paragraphs 11 through 21 of this Complaint constitute false imprisonment. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso were unlawfully restrained and held against their will and their liberty was deprived because of the actions of CCCL and Steadfast as described herein.
30. The detention of Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso by CCCL and Steadfast were unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances.
31. Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso have suffered and continue to suffer grave and severe mental anguish and emotional distress by reason of Defendants’ false imprisonment of Plaintiffs, and violation of Plaintiffs’ rights. The conduct of Defendant complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of Plaintiffs.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso pray that this Court grant relief as follows:
A. Order damages to be paid by Defendants CCCL and Steadfast to Plaintiffs;
B. Order payment to Plaintiffs by Defendants CCCL and Steadfast of pre-judgment interest;
C. Grant such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

COUNT III
LOSS OF CONSORTIUM

Plaintiffs incorporate and re-allege, as fully as if set forth herein, paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Complaint.

32. This action is brought by Plaintiff Candace Negi against Defendants CCCL and Steadfast for loss of consortium.
33. Plaintiff Candace Negi, the wife of Plaintiff Sudhir Negi, has suffered damages due to the loss of consortium of her husband, Sudhir Negi, because of the tortious conduct of Defendants CCCL and Steadfast described in paragraphs 11 through 21 herein. Specifically, as a result of Defendants’ actions, Plaintiff Candace Negi was deprived of the companionship and fellowship of her husband and her right to the company, cooperation and aid of her husband in their conjugal relations.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Candace Negi prays that this Court grant relief as follows:
A. Order damages to be paid by Defendants CCCL and Steadfast to Plaintiff;
B. Order payment to Plaintiff by Defendants CCCL and Steadfast of pre-judgment interest;
C. Grant such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

COUNT IV
ASSAULT

Plaintiffs incorporate and re-allege, as fully as if set forth herein, paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Complaint.

34. This action is brought by Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso against Defendant CCCL and its agent, Defendant Steadfast, for assault.

35. The actions of Steadfast’s guards described in paragraphs 12, 18 and 21 herein constitute an assault of Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso. The actions of Steadfast’s guards caused Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso to fear for their safety and well being and constituted an intentional, unlawful offer of corporal injury to Plaintiffs by force which created in Plaintiffs a fear of imminent peril, because of the physical size of the guards and their display of handcuffs when giving the Plaintiffs orders during their confinement.

36. As a result Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso suffered mental anguish and loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs Sudhir Negi and Melchor Alfonso pray that this Court grant relief as follows:
A. Order damages to be paid by Defendant CCCL and Defendant Steadfast to Plaintiffs;
B. Order payment to Plaintiffs by Defendant CCCL and Defendant Steadfast of pre-judgment interest;
C. Grant such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.

Dated this _____ day of August, 2000.

_____________________________
Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
R. Brent Blackburn, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 093270
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0060119
WAYNE L. ALLEN & ASSOCIATES, P.A.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
700 N. Wickham Road
Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681

More Information: For more information, please see our employment law page
Attorney: Firm Wide
Status: Closed
Date Filed: 8/2000

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