Federal judge has dismissed lawsuits of passengers
A federal judge has dismissed lawsuits by 'Grand Princess' passengers who sued for emotional distress caused by their fear of exposure to COVID-19, saying that allowing their cases to proceed would “lead to a flood of trivial suits.” Judge Gary Klausner in Los Angeles said in his ruling on July 15 that allowing passengers to collect damages based on potential COVID-19 exposure without suffering symptoms raised concerns of unlimited liability for restaurants and other businesses. Debi Chalik, a lawyer for passengers Ronald and Eva Weissberger, said she was disappointed with the ruling and might appeal.
Crew members disembarked in Los Angeles
Princess Cruises disembarked more than 100 crew members from the 'Star Princess', 'Grand Princess' and 'Royal Princess' on April 14 in Los Angeles. Passengers aboard the 'Grand Princess', which had coronavirus cases on board, were let off the ship in early March, in Oakland, but crew members remained on the ship. The 'Star Princess' and 'Royal Princess' were not included in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's list of cruise ships on where passengers could have been infected with coronavirus. The crew used tender boats between their home ships to board the 'Royal Princess', and then the vessel came into the port to disembark them. 101 crew members left from Los Angeles International Airport on a charter flight to Mexico. None of the crew on the charter flight were sick. The same day, the 'Royal Princess' and the 'Seven Seas Mariner' were in port in Los Angeles to refuel and restock. The 'Grand Princess' was off of Point Fermin, which is located in San Pedro, a community within the city of Los Angeles. It was unclear how many crew members remained on board the 'Grand Princess' and 'Star Princess' and whether any were ill with coronavirus symptoms. There were originally 1,111 crew members on board the 'Grand Princess'. The 'Star Princess' can hold 1,100 crew members. More than 3,500 people on board the 'Grand Princess' for a Hawaii voyage were potentially exposed to COVID-19, a revelation that came to light in early March after a 71-year-old man died from the coronavirus after sailing on the ship's previous voyage. More than 60 passengers from that trip stayed aboard for the second voyage. The ship docked in Oakland, California, on March 9 after reporting 21 coronavirus cases. Before it docked, the 'Grand Princess' was kept at sea for several days before being allowed back into port. At least 103 people who were on the ship tested positive for the coronavirus, and two have died. Over the course of several days, passengers were let off the ship in groups. Passengers were then spread between four military bases in California, Texas and Georgia to complete a two-week quarantine.
Lawsuit against cruise line filed
Passengers of the 'Grand Princess' filed a lawsuit on April 8, alleging the cruise line demonstrated negligence in its response to the coronavirus outbreak by operating cruises that led to the sickening of dozens of people and at least three deaths. The ship departed San Francisco on Feb. 11 for a round trip to Mexico. At least four passengers became ill and started showing symptoms, according to the lawsuit, “likely exposing dozens of other passengers to the virus.” The lawsuit was filed in the federal court in San Francisco and names Carnival Corporation, Princess Cruise Lines and Fairline Shipping as defendants. “Despite their knowledge regarding COVID-19, Defendants had no effective passenger medical screening methods in place at that time. By the time the ship docked in San Francisco to prepare for another round trip to Hawaii, approximately 62 passengers, at least two of whom were ill, and over 1,000 crew members remained onboard the Grand Princess to continue traveling on the ship’s next voyage. Still, no screening measures were in place, nor were measures taken to disinfect or sanitize the ship, the lawsuit alleged. Furthermore, the cruise line did not notify passengers who boarded on Feb. 21 for Hawaii that passengers from the previous voyage had reported COVID-19 symptoms and that passengers who stayed on the ship had been exposed to the virus, the lawsuit alleges. Passengers from the Mexico trip were emailed on Feb. 25 about their potential exposure. Crew did not begin sanitary measures until March 3, and on March 4 notified passengers of the presence of COVID-19 aboard the ship. Later that day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency and stopped the vessel from docking in San Francisco. The ship was forced to drop anchor off the coast for nearly a week before it was escorted by the Coast Guard to the Port of Oakland, where a CDC worker in a hazmat suit boarded and knocked on each cabin door inquiring if any passengers had symptoms. On March 9, passengers were finally allowed to disembark and were transported to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield for further quarantine. “If Plaintiffs had known that passengers from the Grand Princess’s San Francisco Mexico trip had suffered from COVID-19, or that passengers exposed to COVID-19 on the Mexico trip remained onboard the Grand Princess, Plaintiffs would not have sailed on the February 21, 2020, round trip to Hawaii,” the lawsuit states. The lawsuit argued that plaintiffs suffered injuries and emotional distress, and were traumatized by the fear of developing COVID-19 while confined on an “infected vessel.”Upload News