iOS app Android app

Spencer Aronfeld
GET UPDATES FROM Spencer Aronfeld
Spencer Aronfeld is an internationally recognized lawyer, author, and civil rights activist, who blogs frequently for the Huffington Post.

He writes about the issues that he is passionate about: protecting the legal rights and safety of everyday people who are harmed by corporate giants such as cruise lines and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Aronfeld was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law in 1991.

Upon graduation, he founded his own law firm Aronfeld Trial Lawyers located a few blocks from the University of Miami's campus.

In 1995, shortly after graduating law school, he earned international recognition by winning his first jury trial, a personal injury clam against Walt Disney World. That Orlando, Florida jury verdict remains one of the largest in history against Walt Disney and his legal battle was recounted in the best seller Disney, the Mouse Betrayed.

Aronfeld also attended and graduated from the Trial Lawyer College, a non‐profit institution founded by legendary lawyer, Gerry Spence.

Aronfeld frequently serves as a legal commentator and has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Dr. Phil, The Doctors, Primer Impacto, Dateline NBC, America’s Most Wanted and Headline News Network with Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Aronfeld has authored two books, “Make It Your Own Law Firm” and “Sara Rose, Kid Lawyer.”

Following the earthquake in Haiti, Aronfeld co-founded Lawyers to the Rescue, a not- for-profit humanitarian initiative that provides free legal services to the homeless and financial aid to those in need around the world.

Aronfeld is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by both the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Entries by Spencer Aronfeld

Pitbull to Christen Norwegian Cruise Line's Newest and Biggest Cruise Ship Yet

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 7:33 PM

Norwegian Cruise, the third largest cruise line, is intent on giving market leaders Carnival and Royal Caribbean a run for the competitive market share of passenger money by adding the newest cruise ship in the world to its 14-vessel fleet.

This week it took possession of the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, the biggest ship in the history of its fleet--but only the fifth largest in the world, behind Royal Caribbean's gigantic Oasis and Quantum-class ships.

The 164,000-ton Norwegian Escape was built by Meyer Werft in Germany and took just over a year to complete. According to Meyer, the Escape is the most advanced cruise ship in the world, featuring the world's largest water park and ropes obstacle course at sea. NCL is keeping Meyer really busy building several more ships for 2016 and 2017, including one specifically for the Chinese market.


NCL's Miami Connections

The Port of Miami will be the Escape's home port, where it will set sail weekly on seven-night Caribbean cruises. NCL has made certain the Escape will reflect plenty of Miami's signature style influences. For starters, recording artist Pitbull has been selected as the Escape's official "godfather" and is scheduled to christen the Escape's maiden voyage on November 9th.

In addition to Pitbull, the Escape's dining and drinking options will also feature a strong Miami influence, including the first Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville at Sea, a replica of the iconic Miami blues club Tobacco Road, and restaurants run by the owners of the highly successful South Beach restaurants The Pubbelly Gastro Pubs.

Other notable features of the ship include the largest water park at sea, the largest ropes course at sea, a spa with a snow room, and Tony Award-winning musical productions of Million Dollar Quartet and After Midnight, as well as an ode to '80s films by director John Hughes, like The Breakfast Club.

As a lawyer who investigates passenger cruise ship accidents, I hope that in the hurry to keep building bigger and more exciting vessels, NCL has also made passenger safety the primary focus by designing decks with slip-resistant surfaces and clearly marking thresholds with adequate warnings and lighting. Bigger is not necessarily better if it is not...

Read Post

Class Action Lawyers Gear Up for VW Fraud Case

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 5:00 PM

Lawyers who specialize in consumer class actions are gearing up for what promises to be one of their biggest paydays in years as Volkswagen digs itself deeper into the fraud scandal rocking the automotive industry.

Eleven million owners of faulty diesel vehicles made by VW and Audi...

Read Post

More Mega Cruise Ships On The Way

(11) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 1:26 PM

The race to sail the largest mega cruise ships is heating up among the world's cruise ship companies. Carnival announced its newly ordered ships will hold nearly 7,000 passengers each, making them literally floating cities. This seems consistent with CEO Arnold Donald's "long-term plan to return double-digit return on invested...

Read Post

Making Waves | Virgin Cruises

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 6:23 PM

Billionaire Richard Branson does not do anything "small" or "quietly." His move into the cruise line industry is sure to bring much needed competition and his signature "Virgin" quality and style. As a lawyer who represents people who have been injured during a cruise, I just hope he makes them...

Read Post

MSC Cruise Line Finds New Home in Havana

(2) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 4:30 PM

They say home is where the heart is, and the heart of MSC Cruise Line will now be in Havana...

MSC Cruise Line, the privately owned Italian company, is the first of the large cruise companies to announce moving their home port to Havana, Cuba. This presents...

Read Post

New Mega Ships on the Way for Carnival Cruise Line!

(31) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 3:41 PM

The race to sail the largest cruise ship is heating up among the world's cruise ship companies. Carnival announced its newly ordered ships will hold nearly 7,000 passengers each, making them literally floating cities. This seems consistent with CEO Arnold Donald's "long-term plan to return double-digit return on invested capital."

Read Post

It's Official! Cuba Is Now the Newest Addition to Carnival Cruise Line Ports of Call

(14) Comments | Posted July 21, 2015 | 6:03 PM

Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line, the largest passenger cruise ship company in the world, just announced that it will begin to include Cuba as a Port of Call in May 2016. Carnival claims that when its ship, the Adonia, docks in Cuba next year, it will be the very first American...

Read Post

Nuevo puerto de cruceros MSC: La Habana, Cuba

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 7:52 PM


Se anuncia el nuevo puerto de cruceros MSC, la linea de cruceros italiana es la primera de las grandes compañías de cruceros en anunciar que La Habana, Cuba sera su nuevo puerto de origen. Esto presenta una oportunidad significativa para MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company)...

Read Post

Niña de 10 años murió ahogada a bordo del crucero Norwegian Gem

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 7:05 PM

Nuestros abogados de pasajeros de cruceros de Miami se entristecieron al enterarse de que una niña de 10 años de edad de Nueva York murió ahogada estando a bordo del crucero Norwegian Gem. El barco fue colocado esta semana a unas 75 millas al este de Myrtle Beach, Carolina del Sur, cuando la Guardia Costera recibió la notificación de la muerte de la niña. La nave fue inmediatamente desviada a Puerto Cañaveral, Florida, donde llegó el pasado lunes a mediodía. Poco se sabe en este momento acerca de las circunstancias que rodearon la muerte de la niña.

Conforme al comunicado emitido por la sede de NCL en Miami:
"... el equipo médico de la nave respondió a una llamada de emergencia desde la terraza de la piscina, cuando una pasajera de diez años de edad, se informó que estaba inconsciente. El equipo rápidamente le administró CPR y cuidado de emergencia. Después de grandes esfuerzos, la pasajera no pudo ser revivida".

El Gem había partido de Nueva York para un crucero de siete días a la Florida y las Bahamas. Esta no es la primera vez que un niño se ahoga estando a bordo de esta nave. Apenas el año pasado, hubieron dos casos trágicos sobre el mismo NCL Gem. Un niño de cuatro años se murio ahogado, y su amigo de seis años de edad, fue aerotransportado a un hospital fuera de la nave, por la Guardia Costera de los Estados Unidos.

A principios de este año, un niño italiano de cuatro años de edad, se ahogó en el RCCL Oasis of the Seas. Ascanio y su familia fueron a un crucero de siete días que partió de Port Everglades, Florida. Un pasajero vio que el niño se encontraba bajo el agua, se lanzó a la piscina, y lo sacó de allí. Por desgracia ya era muy tarde, Ascanio había estado sin oxígeno durante seis minutos.

Ha habido un número creciente y alarmante de ahogamientos de niños a bordo de los cruceros en los últimos años. Y de acuerdo con las estadísticas, más de 1.5 millones de niños navegan a bordo de estos cruceros anualmente.

Es increíble, pero las tres mayores líneas de cruceros del mundo --Carnival, Norweigan, y Royal Caribbean--, no emplean salvavidas en ninguno de sus buques en ninguna de sus piscinas. Teniendo en cuenta que un mega barco, como el Gem, típicamente emplea a más de 1,100 miembros de tripulación por viaje, parece inconcebible que no puedan encontrar a nadie que pueda ser utilizado como salvavidas en las áreas donde hay piscinas.

Me he dado cuenta que es importante que los padres se aseguren de mantener una estrecha vigilancia sobre sus hijos, sobre todo en un crucero. Sin embargo, los padres a menudo se dejan llevar por el confort y la falsa sensación de seguridad que pueden transmitir los cruceros a minutos de encontrarse sobre estas naves. Tal vez sea el mar, el spa, las bebidas, o el estar de vacaciones que hacen que los padres bajen su guardia y se relajen, especialmente alrededor de una piscina, donde uno fácilmente puede perderse en un artículo de una revista. Estos motivos son más que suficiente para que las líneas de cruceros entiendan que deben tomar una posición para proteger a sus pasajeros tanto jóvenes como mayores, y tener salvavidas en servicio en todas sus piscinas.

Estoy seguro, que este cambio podria salvar vidas. Por lo tanto, estoy pidiendo que los directores generales de Carnival, RCCL y NCL pongan la seguridad de sus pasajeros jóvenes por encima de sus ganancias corporativas y pongan salvavidas a bordo de todas sus...

Read Post

Drownings on Cruise Ships

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 2:21 PM

Last week, a 10-year-old New York girl died aboard the Norwegian Gem cruise ship. The Gem had departed from New York for a seven-day cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. The ship was positioned just 75 miles east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; when the Coast Guard received...

Read Post

¿Estaremos seguros en los nuevos mega cruceros?

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 5:05 PM

Las principales líneas de cruceros parecen estar concentradas en superar unos a otros mediante la construcción de mega cruceros más grandes y más elaborados que se asemejan a resorts flotantes o hoteles de Las Vegas en vez de cruceros reales. La competencia es particularmente fuerte entre los gigantes de la...

Read Post

Cuba: ¿El próximo destino para cruceros estadounidenses?

(1) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 11:00 AM

Líneas de cruceros de pasajeros en Estados Unidos como Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, & Celebrity pronto estarán desembarcando pasajeros ¡en La Habana! Nadie parece más entusiasmado, preparado, y capaz de navegar grandes cruceros hacia Cuba que el CEO de Norwegian Cruise Line, Frank Del Río. El Sr. Del Río, ahora...

Read Post

Cuba: The Next Destination for Cruise Ships

(2) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 3:08 PM

Will U.S.-based passenger cruise lines like Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity soon be unloading passengers in Havana? No one seems more excited about, prepared for, and capable of navigating major cruises to Cuba than Norwegian Cruise Line's newly minted CEO, Frank Del Rio. Mr. Del Rio, now...

Read Post

Bienvenido a Miami, Capital del Fraude en los Estados Unidos de América

(1) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 12:51 PM

El Departamento de Justicia tuvo un año récord en la recuperación de casi 6 mil millones de dólares en dinero que se obtuvo por individuos y corporaciones que defraudaron al gobierno.

2015 ha comenzado con la condena de 3 residentes de Miami, Florida, que dirigían un régimen de devolución de...

Read Post

Tecnología para rescatar pasajeros que se han caído de un crucero

(1) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 11:26 AM

Quizás el temor más grande que los pasajeros de cruceros tienen es caer o ser empujados por el borde de la nave. Aunque la preocupación es real, una caída o que alguien salte de un crucero no es muy frecuente.

De hecho, en lo que va del año 2015, sólo ha habido tres casos documentados de caídas de pasajeros en el mar. Tal vez el más notable se produjo en enero, cuando un pasajero se cayó de un barco de cruceros Royal Caribbean, cerca de la costa de México y más tarde fue descubierto y rescatado por un barco de cruceros de Disney.

Como abogado de lesiones de pasajeros, he investigado miles de accidentes de cruceros en todo el mundo. Con frecuencia me preguntan por qué los pasajeros caen al agua y cómo se pueden acelerar sus rescates.

Desafortunadamente, muchas veces, cuando no se recuperó al pasajero, somos incapaces de entender lo que causó esa caída en particular. Muchas veces, el alcohol, el juego sucio, y el suicidio, son razones.

El Presidente Obama promulgó requisitos de seguridad importantes en ''Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010''. La Ley exige, entre otras cosas, que todas las líneas de cruceros utilicen alta tecnología a bordo de la nave que ayude a recuperar pasajeros que han caído al mar. Sin embargo, la ley sólo exige que la tecnología --que consiste en el radar, el sonar, y otros tipos de sistemas de alerta--, sean instalados en las naves que han sido construidas a partir del 2010. Desafortunadamente, la mayoría de las líneas de cruceros no han podido instalar estas medidas para salvar las vidas de pasajeros.

Marine & Remote Sensing Solutions SAM, a FLIR Systems, Inc. ha desarrollado un sistema de dos patas capaz de capturar a cualquier humano que entre por la borda de un barco o de un crucero con un 99% de precisión. En cuanto se detecta la caída, drones marinos se disparan inmediatamente y son conducidos a la ubicación precisa del pasajero caído. Realmente pueden rescatar a los pasajeros y traerlos de nuevo a bordo del barco.

Es mi deseo, que la industria de los cruceros instale inmediatamente estos nuevos sistemas en todas las naves antes de que otro pasajero se pierde en el...

Read Post

Man Overboard! Cruise Ship Passengers Lost at Sea

(61) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 1:16 PM

Every cruise ship passenger's worst nightmare is the fear of falling or being pushed overboard. While the cruise industry likes to downplay the frequency of these events -- as well as their ability to prevent them, they seem to be happening far more often.

So far in the first two months of 2015 there have already been 3 reported cruise ship passengers who have gone overboard. In January 2015, a 22 year old male passenger on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, fell overboard just off the coast of Mexico. The Oasis of the Seas, one of the world's biggest cruise ships, has the capacity to transport over 6,000 people. Miraculously, passengers and crew aboard Disney Cruise Lines Magic were able to identify and rescue the man.

A passenger apparently dove off the 13th deck of Princess Cruise's Sapphire Princess off the 13th; but was found after the ship's captain issued a "Man Overboard Alert."

In February, Carol Tremblay, a 66 year old Canadian went overboard from Celebrity Cruise Line's Constellation. Celebrity is owned and operated by Royal Caribbean. Mr. Tremblay's fall was captured by the ship's CCTV. The footage apparently showed him going overboard from the 11th deck (110 feet) at about 3:00 AM, 23 miles off Summerland Key -- near the Port of Key West.

Why do people fall off of cruise ships and can it be prevented? Alcohol, foul play or suicide are the most frequent causes; but often it is simply impossible to discover the truth -- because rarely are bodies recovered. Fortunately, technology exists to sound alerts when a passenger goes overboard. These systems called MOB Detection Devices, include motion sensors, thermal detection systems and drones that are designed to alert the ship's bridge; to stop the ship and immediately deploy search and rescue protocols.

Tragically, most major cruise lines, with the exception of Disney, refuse to employ these devices -- even though the 2010 ''Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010" or CVSSA -- requires them. Probably because the CVSSA enacted by President Obama, only requires cruise ships built after 2010 to integrate MOB technology as well as minimum height requirements for cabin safety railing. Under the CVSSA the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) have established model training standards for crime prevention, detection, evidence preservation as well as the reporting of criminal activities aboard cruise ships.

According to, a website that tracks man overboard cases, there have been 243 cases since 1995. Over the last 15 years Carnival Cruise lines which includes their other brands, (Costa, Cunard, P&O, Princess and Holland America) have totaled 50 of MOB cases; that is more than any other cruise line. Perhaps Carnival's high MOB incident rate may be explained by the sheer number of vessels in its fleet as well their limited use of modern MOB detection systems.

If you are aboard a cruise ship and see a passenger or what looks to be a passenger go overboard- immediately notify the ship's security or bridge. As a lawyer who investigates cruise ship passenger accidents, It is my hope that all cruise lines will soon utilize technology to help detect and prevent another passenger overboard...

Read Post

Passenger Raped and Nearly Killed on a Cruise Ship

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 5:19 PM

A former crew member aboard Holland America's MS Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship was sentenced by a Broward County Florida Federal Judge to 30 years in a federal prison this week for raping and then attempting to kill a female passenger.

Ketut Pujayasa, 29 admitted to choking, beating and raping the passenger -- before attempting to throw her overboard from her cabin's balcony while the ship was in open sea. His victim survived and faced him in Federal Court in Broward County, Florida just a few miles from Port Everglades where the cruise departed from.

Mr. Pujayasa gained access to the victim's cabin by using a master key. He then waited for her on her balcony. As a result of the attack, the woman suffered serious injuries including fractures to her spine, skull and face. Thankfully, the attack was interrupted by fellow passengers. Mr. Pujayasa escaped from the cabin by jumping from the balcony and subsequently confessed the crimes to the FBI.

Passenger rapes continue to plague cruise ships. In response, in 2010 Congress enacted the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act -- mandating that cruise lines initiate policies to prevent and protect passengers from rape. The bill mandates that all serious crimes involving U.S. citizens be reported to the FBI as well as the publication of crime statistics on a website available to the public.

Surprisingly, the law requires only crimes "that are no longer under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation" be publicized. Some studies show that the FBI only investigates about 10 percent of reported cruise ship crime. As a cruise ship passenger lawyer, I find these results to be very misleading. To see the latest cruise ship crime statistics click here.

It is important to protect yourself and your family on your next cruise. According to FBI Special Agent David Hearn: "Watch what you are doing and keep your wits about you. It seems like an enclosed environment. That gives people a false sense of security. You should have fun, but act responsibly and know what your kids are doing at all times. And if you see suspicious activity or a crime has occurred, contact the ship's personnel...

Read Post

Holiday Cruises-Put Passenger Safety First

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 12:45 PM

The holidays are right around the corner and thousands will be taking vacations cruises this year. Most cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Celebrity deck the halls of their ships literally with holiday decorations and Christmas trees in their lobbies, restaurants and have massive gingerbread houses.


Read Post

Suing Cruise Ship Doctors for Medical Malpractice

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 12:44 PM

Modern mega cruise ships now have urgent care centers on board that are staffed with doctors and nurses who can treat passengers suffering from a wide range of illnesses and injuries ranging from sea sickness, broken bones, and in some instances, even life threatening medical conditions.

However, holding cruise ship doctors and nurses accountable for medical mistakes has been nearly impossible for injured passengers because for decades cruise lines have been insulated from legal liability when passengers receive inadequate or negligent medical care from the ship's doctors and nurses. This week a United States Appellate Court has made it far easier for injured passengers to sue cruise lines for medical malpractice in a ruling that involves an elderly cruise ship passenger who fell during a cruise-- while docked in Bermuda.

After falling, the passenger, Pasquale Vaglio, returned to the ship and sought medical treatment in the ship's hospital. Unfortunately, the care was allegedly so negligent that he fell into a coma and died a week later. His daughter filed a wrongful death case against RCCL and alleged that the ship's health care providers failed to timely diagnose Mr. Vaglio's cranial trauma.

She filed the lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, located in Miami, Florida. The trial judge, the Hon. Joan A. Lenard dismissed her complaint by applying the longstanding maritime legal concept that provides immunity to cruise lines like RCCL when a crew member renders negligent medical care to passengers.

In a 63-page opinion appellate court Judge Marcus juxtaposed maritime law with legal theories of medical malpractice, personal injury, and agency law. The court found that maritime law supports holding Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., as vicariously liable for the medical negligence of its on board nurses and doctors. To read the Court's opinion, click here. This law sends a clear message to the cruise industry by holding it responsible to provide injured passengers a higher standard of medical...

Read Post

Cruise Ships and Ebola

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 10:56 AM

Concern about the Ebola virus is spreading across the cruise industry and amongst future passengers after a lab technician who came into contact with fluid specimens taken from Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan prior to his death at a Texas hospital was permitted to board Carnival Magic, a cruise ship...

Read Post