Horowitz Law and co-counsel Edwards Pottinger LLC obtained a jury verdict of over seventy million dollars ($70,000,000.00) on behalf of a young woman who was raped by a co-worker on a luxury yacht docked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida This is one of the largest jury verdicts ever obtained for a victim of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed in the State of Florida.
The lawsuit was filed against Island Girl, the company that owned the yacht and employed the victim and perpetrator. The victim and her assailant (Rafal Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki) lived and worked on the yacht (Endless Summer) while it was undergoing a re-fit at a marina. The rape occurred on the Endless Summer, a 150-foot vessel that was berthed at Universal Marine Center, 2700 SW 25th Terrace in Fort Lauderdale, in the early morning of Feb. 25, 2015.
Rafal Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki was arrested and charged with four counts of sexual battery after the woman reported he entered her cabin drunk and forced her to have sex with him, threatening to kill her if she did not comply. He pleaded guilty in December 2016 and served a two-year sentence. He was later deported to Poland.
The lawsuit alleged that Island Girl failed to provide the victim with a safe place to live and work. The victim, the captain and Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki were required to stay on board Endless Summer overnight. The victim was employed full-time on the yacht as a stewardess but was not issued a walkie-talkie to alert anyone on board that something was wrong. Similarly, there was no meaningful enforcement of the ship’s rule that prohibited crew from returning to the ship under the influence of alcohol.
The Broward County jury awarded the woman 66 million dollars for pain and suffering, plus $70,000 dollars in lost wages, and $4.2 million dollars in lost future earnings. She was also awarded $290,050 in past and future medical expenses. Horowitz Law is pleased to obtain this meaningful measure of justice for this client.
Sadly, sexual abuse can occur on yachts, cruise ships, boats, and ships of all shapes and sizes. There are a particular set of laws, known as maritime laws, that apply to incidents that occur on ships. Horowitz Law handles sexual abuse cases on behalf of passengers and ship employees. Sexual cases on yachts, cruiseships and other boats involve specific kinds of claims that are unique to maritime law. Persons who are sexually assaulted on a ship should always consult with experienced sexual abuse lawyers who have handled these claims. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused or assaulted on a ship, contact attorney Adam Horowitz at 954-641-2100 or send an email to [email protected] to learn your rights.