Royal Caribbean Deals with Smith Issues

Royal Caribbean International and Jennifer Hagel Smith have reached an agreement settling any potential spousal claims regarding the death of her husband George Smith IV, who disappeared on a honeymoon cruise on Brilliance of the Seas in the eastern Mediterranean last fall; he is now presumed dead. The parties did not disclose terms, which must be approved by a Connecticut probate court. Royal Caribbean said it settled to provide closure and that it will continue to ensure Hagel Smith has access to information regarding her husband's disappearance. Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean's president, said his line had done its best to assist Hagel Smith through the tragic events, and said she handled things well under trying circumstances. The cruise line will also match a contribution by Hagel Smith to the charity of her choice. In a statement, Hagel Smith said it has been her most difficult and challenging year, and she described discussions with Royal Caribbean as open, productive and informative. That's in wide contrast to the critical comments she made about the line after her husband's disappearance last fall. Royal Caribbean's settlement with Hagel Smith, however, does not symbolize the end of its problems with the case. Separately, a lawsuit was filed Thursday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court by Smith's parents, Maureen and George Smith, as well as his sister, Bree Smith, who is an attorney. The lawsuit accuses Royal Caribbean of hampering an investigation into Smith's disappearance by downplaying the possibility of murder to avoid scandal and protect its public image. That lawsuit called Royal Caribbean's response "shocking" and "atrocious". The cruise line said it did everything possible and said those comments were "recklessly false" and that will prevail in court.

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