US Appeals Court denies appeal against Carnival Corp ruling

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an appeal by four individuals, residents of the Bahamas and Alaska, against a lower court ruling that they were not “victims” in a legal case against Carnival Corp.
The shipping company was found guilty of probation violation and fined $20m in a plea deal. Carnival executives admitted in court to the company’s wrongdoing this month. As part of a new settlement, they agreed to pay $20m in addition to the $40m fine levied in 2016 for similar violations.
The plaintiffs filed their original emergency motion on May 31st to intervene in the court proceedings ahead of a June 3rd hearing, asking the federal district court to recognize their right to participate in the case. They recounted the impacts Carnival’s pollution had on their livelihoods and quality of life.
District Court Judge Patricia A Seitz had approved the deal with prosecutors. She explained in court papers that the harm claimed by the three Alaskans and one Bahamian were general in nature and could’ve applied broadly to others in the region. “Therefore, even though the court sympathizes with their frustration, fervour, and their outrage, the proposed intervenors are not ‘victims’ as that term is defined by the (Crime Victims’ Rights Act).”
After the judge permitted their lawyer to make a statement, but not to participate in the case as victims, they filed their appeal on June 17th, asking the 11th Circuit to review United States District Court Judge Patricia Seitz’s decision.
The three-judge appeals court agreed with Judge Seitz and ordered the case closed. San Francisco-based environmental group Stand.earth, which had coordinated the appeal said that is would continue its pressure campaign against Carnival. Miami-based Carnival defended its record, but also pledged to consolidate its environmental oversight by hiring a chief compliance officer to oversee its entire fleet.