Plaintiffs file appeal against plea-bargain by Carnival

Four individuals filed an appeal in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday June 17th, according to environmental lobby group Stand.earth.

The appeals stemmed from an earlier decision by a federal judge in Miami to accept a plea deal between Carnival and the Justice Department. The judge in that case declined the submissions made by the four individuals, although she did allow them a statement at the hearing. The individuals are seeking judicial review according to the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

Under the terms of the deal, Carnival Corporation incurred $20m in fines for cruise ship pollution stemming from multiple probation violations from a 2016 conviction.

The individuals challenging the court ruling are:

·       Fotini “Sam” Tsavousis Duncombe, a Bahamian citizen and co-founder of Bahamian-based environmental group reEarth;

·       Theodore Thoma, the president of Responsible Cruising in Alaska;

·       Ronn Buschmann and Eric Forrer, who are both Alaska residents and retired commercial fishermen.

The victims are asking the 11th Circuit to review US District Court Judge Patricia Seitz’s decision that they did not meet the standard of ‘victim’ under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

The appelates said that this was a decision made without evidentiary inquiry, findings of fact, or explanation.

The victims filed their original emergency motion on May 31st to intervene in the court proceedings ahead of a scheduled June 3rd hearing, asking the federal district court to recognize their right to participate in the case.

Stand.earth, which is leading the international Clean Up Carnival campaign, has called the judge’s ruling no more than a “slap on the wrist”.