Royal Caribbean says grandfather knew window was open when he dropped toddler

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(CBS NEWS) – Royal Caribbean is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit over the death of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, who fell from an 11-story window aboard one of its ships in July. The cruise line said in a motion to dismiss that the actions of Chloe’s grandfather are “the sole reason why Chloe is no longer with her parents.”

Chloe’s grandfather, Sam Anello, says he picked up his granddaughter and leaned her against what he believed to be a closed window. Royal Caribbean says in a motion to dismiss that CCTV footage shows Anello leaning out of the window before picking up Chloe.

“When he arrives at the open window, and while Chloe is on the floor, Mr. Anello leans his upper-torso over the wooden railing and out of the window frame for approximately eight seconds,” reads the motion to dismiss, which was filed on January 8. “Because Mr. Anello had himself leaned out the window, he was well aware that the window was open.”

Anello then picked Chloe up and lifted her “over the wooden rail towards the open window,” it says.   

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Royal Caribbean says this still shot from a video shows Anello leaning “over the wooden railing and out of the window frame for approximately eight seconds.”ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S MOTION TO DISMISS
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Royal Caribbean says this still shot from a video shows Anello picking up Chloe and “lifting her over the wooden rail towards the open window located several feet off the deck.”ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S MOTION TO DISMISS

Royal Caribbean says Anello stayed in front of the open window and exposed Chloe to it “for approximately 34 seconds at which time she unfortunately fell.”

“The only reasonable conclusion from the video is that Mr. Anello knew the window was open before picking up Chloe. He nonetheless lifted the child over the wooden rail and the open window for a considerable period, recklessly endangering her life. There was no ‘hidden danger’ — Mr. Anello knew the window was open.”

The family’s attorney, Michael Winkleman, called Royal Caribbean’s motion to dismiss “baseless and deceptive,” and maintained that Anello “never knew there was an open window.”

“It is clear that Royal Caribbean’s tactic is to blame Chloe’s grandfather rather than to accept that Royal Caribbean did not implement industry standards for toddler safety aboard its ships which ultimately led to Chloe’s tragic death,” Winkleman said in a statement. “Royal Caribbean has premised its defense in this case and its blame on Chloe’s grandfather by supplying two deceptive views from its CCTV cameras to the court and the Puerto Rico authorities.”

Winkleman also alleges that a vessel inspection revealed there were “no less than THIRTEEN CCTV video cameras in the area of the incident.”

“The Wiegands will ask the Court to compel Royal Caribbean to produce all the video from those nearby cameras,” Winkleman said. 

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