Judge dismisses lawsuit on disappearance on cruise


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – A Miami judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Royal Caribbean by the family of a Greenwich man who disappeared from his honeymoon cruise, the cruise company said Wednesday.

The family of George Allen Smith IV of Greenwich filed the lawsuit after he disappeared from the Brilliance of the Seas while on a cruise in the Aegean Sea on July 5, 2005. His body was not recovered, though bloodstains were found on an awning underneath the newlywed’s cabin balcony.

The FBI is still investigating.

The lawsuit dismissed Wednesday was an amended version of a lawsuit that had been dismissed in November.

The latest action by Judge Jon Gordon was with prejudice, which means the lawsuit cannot be refiled, according to Royal Caribbean. The decision can be appealed.

“For some time, we have said that a fair, accurate and objective review of the facts would clearly demonstrate that both their first and amended lawsuits were completely baseless,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

Brett Rivkind, attorney for Smith’s family, vowed to appeal. “We think the decision is not well-reasoned,” Rivkind said. “We’re confident an appeal court will conclude that the conduct that has been alleged is sufficient to rise to a level of outrageous conduct.”

Smith’s disappearance became one of the most publicized cases of a missing passenger aboard a cruise ship.

, sparking congressional hearings on maritime security and a federal bill requiring cruise lines to report cases of missing passengers and crimes to the Department of Homeland Security.

Smith’s parents and sister alleged in their lawsuit that the cruise company tried to cover up the incident to avoid liability and negative publicity.

Royal Caribbean representatives have said the cruise line exceeded its legal requirements when it contacted the FBI and other authorities immediately after learning about Smith’s disappearance.

Royal Caribbean agreed this month to pay more than $1 million to Smith’s estate. His widow accepted the deal, but his parents and sister dismissed it as a “sellout.”