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Rodney Gould Victorious for European River Tour Operator in Class Action Brought by 168 Passengers

Smith Duggan Buell & Rufo partner Rodney E. Gould successfully defended a Massachusetts tour operator in a class action brought by 168 passengers in federal court in Boston. The case examined the impact of a previously rarely-used Attorney General Seller of Travel regulation, 940 CMR 15.06, upon a tour operator’s obligation to make adjustments when a cruise ship breakdown forced changes in the middle of a European river tour.

After successfully obtaining summary judgment in favor of the tour operator in all but one count brought by the plaintiff passengers, the case went to a bench trial before District Court Judge Denise Casper on the sole remaining count – whether the tour operator violated the Attorney General Seller of Travel regulation, whether the plaintiff class suffered injury as a result and, thus, whether the tour operator had violated Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A.

After extensive testimony concerning the efforts undertaken by the tour operator, not only in making sure the vast majority of the original tour itinerary was kept, but also as to the additional services and attractions provided to the passengers after the breakdown, the court determined that the plaintiff passenger class suffered no cognizable economic injury arising from the violation of the Attorney General regulation, and thus did not violate Chapter 93A, and entered judgment in favor of the tour operator. 

The company was also represented Smith Duggan lawyers Melissa B. Paradis, Robert C. Mueller, and Christopher A. Duggan. The case has received significant attention in the legal press.