According to Florida’s Sun Sentinel, a Florida jury awarded $70.6 million in damages to a former stewardess on the Endless Summer yacht in connection with her claim that the boat’s owner, Island Girl, failed to protect her from being sexually assaulted by a co-worker in February 2015. The award included $70,000 in lost wages, $4.2 million in lost future wages, $290,050 in past and future medical expenses, and $66 million for physical and emotional pain and suffering. The stewardess said she was sexually assaulted for over an hour by a deckhand while the yacht was docked in Ft. Lauderdale. In her Complaint, the stewardess alleged that Island Girl never conducted a background check on the deckhand, and the company failed to enforce its policy that prohibited crew members from returning to the boat intoxicated. She accused Island Girl of “negligently hiring” the deckhand, and the jury apparently agreed in awarding its verdict against the boat’s owner. This verdict against Island Girl serves as a cautionary reminder to employers and property owners that fail to conduct a background check on applicants for employment or tenants could contribute to significant legal exposure.
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