Federal judge rules Royal Caribbean not responsible for death of Granger toddler
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. --The Wiegand family attorney said the court ruling Tuesday came as a surprise and they will appeal the judge’s decision soon, According to court documents, Royal Caribbean was not at fault in the 2019 death of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand of Granger.
Her heartbroken mom, Kim Wiegand gave ABC News an exclusive interview two years ago about that terrifying moment.
“He was screaming, and I was screaming and saying he didn't know over and over. I was screaming, and he was screaming and passengers were screaming," Kim Wiegand said.
The Lawsuit that the Wiegand family filed was thrown out of federal court Tuesday before it could go to trial. The judge argued that Chloe’s grandfather, Salvator Anello is to blame, not the cruise line. In July 2019, Chloe fell 150 feet to her death on a Royal Caribbean ship docked in Puerto Rico.
Chloe was playing with her grandfather near an open window in the children’s play area when the incident happened. The family filed a lawsuit saying that the cruise line failed to warn them of any open windows. Anello pled guilty to negligent homicide charges and was sentenced to probation. Anello has repeatedly stated he did not see the window open, but the cruise line released security video they say proves otherwise, and the judge agreed.
The family's attorney, Michael Winkleman tells ABC57 News today, "the family is surprised and deeply saddened by the court’s ruling. This is a matter that should be decided by a jury, and we are confident and hopeful the appellate court will agree. We will be filing the appeal shortly, and we will continue to fight and raise awareness about the dangers of unintentional toddler window falls. This case was always about Chloe and shining a light on her brief but beautiful life. That goal has not changed."
ABC57 reached out to Royal Caribbean for a statement on the court’s ruling, but they have not gotten back to us at this time.