AP Legal Affairs Writer
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Hundreds of passengers from the stricken Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia and up to 1,000 businesses on the island where it ran aground are pressing ahead with U.S. lawsuits against Miami-based Carnival Corp.
The lawsuits contend Carnival is the corporate parent and is ultimately responsible for any violations or negligence that may have led to the deadly Jan. 13 accident. Investigators say the ship rammed a reef while passing too close to an Italian island, killing 32 people.
Carnival contends the Italian Costa line is a separate corporate entity and that lawsuits should be filed only in Italy.
U.S. judges must decide soon.
At least four lawsuits have been filed on behalf of passengers. Another is on behalf of about 1,000 Italian businesses who say the wreck hurt tourism.
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