Last June everyone wondered why Jennifer Hagel Smith settled with Royal Caribbean. I guess there were over 1 million reasons why Jennifer Hagel Smith settled the law suit with Royal Caribbean following the disappearance of her fiancee, George Allen Smith IV.
Royal Caribbean Cruises has agreed to pay more than $1 million to the estate of a Connecticut man who vanished from his honeymoon cruise of the Mediterranean in 2005.
The Florida-based company will pay $950,000 to the estate of George Allen Smith IV and reimburse his widow, Jennifer Hagel Smith, for legal costs up to $110,000. Hagel Smith will start a fund in memory of her husband with an initial donation of $25,000 that the cruise line will match, according to a copy of the settlement obtained by The Associated Press. (Fox News)
Dana Pretzer interview with Bree Smith on Scared Monkeys radio (Dec. 7, 2006), sister of missing George Smith. (Play podcast, go to time stamp: 66:30)
It is hard to believe that is what one’s life is worth. The rush to a settlement had raised the eyebrows of many who followed the case. What is most puzzling is the continued admissions that some how Jennifer Hagel Smith will be able to use any records that she gains from Royal Caribbean against them in the future. I am sure their is very fine and legal print that Royal Caribbean attorneys put in this settlement that states otherwise.
Hagel Smith noted that the settlement also gives her access for the first time to records kept by the cruise line, including vessel logs, security reports, door activity records, photographs, witness statements and correspondence with the FBI.
“My single goal continues to be to find answers regarding how George died,” Hagel Smith said in a statement. “Reaching a settlement in this case in no way shuts down the investigation.”
Since the settlement by Jennifer Hagel Smith there has obviously been a strain in the relationship with George Smith’s parents and sister. They are suing Royal Caribbean in a separate lawsuit, that was initially dismissed but since amended. The bizarre situation that exists in the Hagle Smith settlement is that according to CT State law, the parents of George Smith are entitled to some of the proceeds. Hopefully they can use that in their quest against Royal Caribbean for real answers. As we have discussed with Bree Smith in the past, she and her parents want answers to George’s disappearance not settlements.
Under state law, Hagel Smith will be entitled to the first $100,000 and 75 percent of the balance of the settlement after estate bills are paid, according to her attorney, Elizabeth Byrne. Smith’s parents will be entitled to 25 percent of the balance after the initial $100,000 is paid to his widow, Byrne said.
Cross posted at Scared Monkeys.