Titanic Case Analysis

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  • Topic: RMS Titanic, Tort, White Star Line
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  • Published : February 18, 2012
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Titanic Case Analysis
Estate of Hans Jensen vs. The White Star Line
The White Star Line was owner of the Titanic, which was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world at the time. On April 10th, 1912, the Titanic left from Southampton, England with 2,227 passengers aboard bound for New York City. On April 14th, the ship struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland and sank about 2 ½ hours later. Passengers, mostly women and children, were loaded into lifeboats, however only 705 passengers survived as many lifeboats left partially full. Hans Peder Jensen and his fiancé Carla Christine Jensen were passengers from Denmark on the Titanic. Hans Jensen was a carpenter and they had planned to settle in Portland, Oregon after arriving in the US. Hans Jensen did not survive and his body was never recovered. Carla Jensen was on lifeboat 16 and was rescued by Carpathia few hours after Titanic sank. Before Hans and Carla left, they have signed a will, which designated Carla as Hans’s sole heir and executor of his estate. Carla Jensen filed a lawsuit on behalf of Hans Jensen Estate against White Star Lines for the death of his fiancé. Carla sued White Star Lines because the ship had struck the iceberg even though other ships had sent ice warning messages, which in turn caused death of her fiancé. Carla’s dream of settling in the US and start a new life with Hans was shattered. The story of what actually happened to Hans Jensen the night that Titanic sank was mostly true, even though there are some conflicting accounts by the witnesses. According to Carla Jensen’s information provided to her attorney, Hans Jensen was helping loading passengers into lifeboats when she last saw him. Second Office Lightoller, who was in charge of evacuating the passengers, provided his recollection of what happened that night. Lightoller had talked to Hans while he was helping loading the passengers and saw him getting into the collapsible Lifeboat D. However, when more women and children came, Lightoller asked others to make room and Jensen jumped out of the lifeboat. While the lifeboat was lowered into the water, two men jumped into the boat from another deck, but then he did not see Jensen again. Lieutenant Mauritz Bjornstrom Steffansson, another witness and one of the two men that jumped into Lifeboat D, however had a slightly different version of the story. He claimed that Jensen was actually drunk and was interfering with officers performing their duties, but he did keep the crowd away. Steffansson also said that he last saw Jensen when he got out of the lifeboat. Therefore, both witnesses stated that Hans Jensen voluntarily gave up his seat on the lifeboat and that was the last time anyone has seen him. Negligence:

Hans Jensen Estate sued White Star Line claiming White Star was grossly negligent in its operation of the Titanic, resulting in death of over 1,500 passengers, including Hans Jensen. Compensation sought by the plaintiff was for emotional, physical, and financial loss suffered by Hans Jensen and Carla Jensen. The compensation claimed was for: 1) Hans Jensen’s death, 2) the physical injuries and suffering he had to endure as he was frozen to death, 3) the anguish Jensen would have felt knowing that he was going to die, and 4) financial loss of wages he would have earned as a skilled carpenter. In order to claim negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, the defendant had breached the duty, the plaintiff had suffered a legally recognizable injury, and the injury was caused by the defendant’s breach. According to tort law, the duty of care is measured by the reasonable person standard, which is normally defined as what a person with ordinary care would do or not do under similar circumstances. Once defendant is determined to have breached the duty of care, the plaintiff must prove he or she had suffered some kind of loss, harm, wrong, or...
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