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Cruise line passengers sue over COVID-19 exposure

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2020 | Premises Liability

Mississippi residents may have read news stories about COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships. Many of these stories have focused on the Grand Princess liner, which was ordered to remain off the California coast while passengers and crew members were tested for the virus. The ship finally began to disembark on March 9 after being granted permission to dock in Oakland, but its passengers still face weeks of quarantine on a military base even if they test negative for COVID-19. At least 21 people on board the Grand Princess have tested positive for the virus.

A Florida couple who booked a cruise on the Grand Princess feels that Princess Cruise Lines could have done far more to protect them from a possibly deadly virus. The couple has filed a lawsuit that accuses the cruise line of allowing their ship to sail despite knowing that at least two previous passengers had tested positive for COVID-19. The couple is seeking damages of at least $1 million to compensate them for the cruise line’s alleged gross negligence.

When asked about the premises liability lawsuit, a Princess Cruise Lines representative said that the company followed government guidelines when responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. The plaintiffs argue that the cruise line had an obligation to inform passengers about the previous COVID-19 cases before they embarked. The cruise line allegedly knew about the threat because they sent emails advising passengers to get tested.

Lawsuits like this one often hinge on whether or not the harm suffered by the plaintiff was foreseeable. When litigating premises liability cases, attorneys with experience in this area will seek to establish that the defendant either knew or should have known that a hazardous situation posed a danger to guests, visitors or passengers. Attorneys could use the discovery process to gather evidence to support this argument.