As reported on Law360.com, “a California federal judge on Tuesday tossed two suits alleging Princess Cruise Lines put passengers in danger of contracting COVID-19, finding the passengers can’t recover damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress just because they were afraid of contracting the virus.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner granted with prejudice a motion to dismiss brought by the Carnival Corp. subsidiary, saying that allowing the Grand Princess passengers leave to amend their suits would be futile. The plaintiffs, formerly quarantined passengers Ronald and Eva Weissberger in one suit and Michael and Wyonnie Austin and Kenneth and Lucille Nickens in the other, did not test positive for the virus or have COVID-19 symptoms.”
The court said that under federal maritime law, plaintiffs seeking to recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress must satisfy the “zone of danger” test set forth in Consolidated Rail Corp. v. Gottshall , meaning plaintiffs can recover only if they suffered a physical impact from the defendant’s negligent conduct or if they were placed in immediate risk of physical harm by the conduct. The passengers had argued that they fell into the second category.
Princess cruises argued that the defendants did not ‘manifest symptoms of Covid-19. The judge agreed, adding he felt the “plaintiffs’ proposed rule would lead to a flood of trivial suits, and open the door to unlimited and unpredictable liability.”
Cruise lines have been hit with numerous lawsuits related to the Cornoavirus pandemic.
The cruise ship industry has been a lightening rod for lawsuits and media attention, and in many cases, the reasons for that have been valid. The cruise lines made questionable decisions regarding the safety of their passengers and their crewmembers, many of which have been outlined on this website.
Does this mean cruise ship will not be liable for Coronavirus related lawsuits. The simple answer is “no” as each and every case from an injured passenger or crewmember will have its own unique details. The best way to determine if you or a loved one has a case against a cruise line is to contact a cruise ship attorney. They can evaluate your case and provide you with the appropriate direction – whether to continue to proceed with an injury claim – or provide you with reasons why your claim may not be valid.
At Waks and Barnett, aka, CruiseLawyers.com, we’ve been speaking with passengers from many cruise lines who are victims of cruise ship accidents, harrassment, sexual assault or who have been impacted by Coronavirus. If you want to speak with an attorney, we’re here to help. Our contact information is: 1-800-905-2891. Call today for a free review of your claim.
Bloomberg Law: Princess Cruise Beats Coronavirus Exposure, Distress Claims
Claims Journal: Judge Dismisses Cruise Passengers’ COVID-19 Lawsuits