According to an online news story published on USAToday.com, two new lawsuits filed against Princess Cruises allege the cruise line failed to appropriately check passengers for coronavirus while allowing passengers to board two cruise ships. Also, the lawsuits allege that cruise liner neglected to respond quickly enough and initiate a quarantine of passengers as coronavirus cases were identified.
The Princess Cruises COVID-19 lawsuits are seeking status as a class-action for passengers exposed to the coronavirus on the Ruby Princess and the Grand Princess cruise ships. The cruise ships made international news when the cruise ships were hit with COVID-19 outbreaks.
The news article alleges that Princess Cruises declined to provide the USA Today with a response regarding the lawsuits. Princess Cruises’ only comment regarding the pending litigation was that the cruise line has been, “sensitive to the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to our guests and crew.” The statement was provided to USA TODAY by email, according to the news story.
The article reports that the Grand Princess lawsuit alleges that one passenger began exhibiting coronavirus symptoms eight days after the cruise ship left for Mexico on February 11, 2020. The lawsuit alleges that a passenger exhibiting signs of being infected with the coronavirus was able to board the ship because the cruise ship did not have a proper coronavirus screening procedure in place to protect the other passengers. Also, the lawsuit alleges that new passengers were permitted to board the Grand Princess only a few hours after the ship’s arrival in San Francisco and before the cruise ship was sufficiently decontaminated. The cruise ship then sailed to Hawaii; however, on the return trip, the cruise ship passengers were quarantined after one of the passengers from the previous Mexico cruise tested positive for COVID-19. The lawsuit also alleges that when the ship docked in Oakland, California, on March 9, 2020, the passengers were not ordered to social distance, which also may have also contributed to the spread of the virus. There have been wrongful death lawsuits filed against Carnival Cruises brought by the families who allege their loved one died of cruise ship-contracted coronavirus and lead to their death.
The Ruby Princess lawsuit alleges similar negligent actions. On February 24, 2020, although one passenger was known to have contracted the coronavirus, the cruise ship voyage commenced. This voyage resulted in 158 passengers becoming infected with COVID-19 plus 13 additional passengers presenting symptoms of the COVID-19 infection.
The new lawsuits allege that “Princess Cruises’ negligent misconduct was predicated on a profit motive.” The lawsuit alleges the cruise ships “set sail knowing it was a virtual certainty that there would be an outbreak.”
Currently, all cruise ship lines have halted operations, and the suspension of cruise ship voyages will likely extend into October since the ports of call throughout the world are closed.
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