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Family of toddler killed in fatal cruise ship fall to sue Royal Caribbean

Chloe Wiegand's mother said they should be celebrating their daughter's second birthday this week. Instead, they are talking about her death.
Credit: AP
** FILE ** Freedom of the Seas cruise ship is docked in Bayonne, N.J., in this May 11, 2006, file photo. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)

The Indiana parents of a toddler who plunged through an open widow on a cruise ship in Puerto Rico have filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruises. 

They accuse the company of negligence in Chloe Wiegand's death by allowing a window to be opened last July. 

Chloe would have turned two years old on Friday, Dec. 13. The girl's grandfather, Salvatore "Sam" Anello, has been charged in Puerto Rico with negligent homicide for her death. 

"We should be celebrating with a present and birthday cake, but instead we are here talking about her death," Chloe's mother, Kim, said at a news conference Wednesday announcing the lawsuit. She added that the family in no way supports the charges that have been brought against Sam. 

Chloe's grandfather insists he's colorblind and didn't know the 11th floor window was open. He says he believed he was lifting the girl so she could bang on the glass like at a hockey game.

RELATED: Family of toddler killed in cruise ship fall denies grandpa dropped her

The family's attorney did not specify what damages they are seeking and instead focused on their desire to "raise awareness about window falls to try to prevent this from ever happening to another child again."

Attorney Michael Winkleman argued the windows on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas ship weren't compliant with window fall prevention laws. He argued that if the family would have been on a different ship, Chloe would still be alive. 

"At a minimum there should have been some type of warning, or some type of decal," Winkleman said. "Just four simple words: 'Caution, these windows open' would've alerted Sam to this hidden danger. Chloe would still be here today." 

Chloe's grandfather, Sam, made a brief statement at Wednesday's announcement, saying their family is strong and they will stay strong together.

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