Cruise Lines Sued in LA Over Coronavirus Spread


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A proposed class-action lawsuit -- the second within a week to be filed in Los Angeles -- alleges that the Princess and Carnival cruise lines knowingly helped spread the COVID-19 pandemic among passengers.

Attorneys for more than 2,800 people who were passengers aboard the Grand Princess on its cruise from San Francisco to Mexico from Feb. 11 through Feb. 21 filed the suit in federal court on Thursday, alleging gross negligence in the handling of passenger health and safety during the coronavirus outbreak.

The complaint alleges that Santa Clarita-based Princess and its Miami-headquartered parent company, Carnival Corp., did not take proper precautions in cleaning or sanitizing the ship in between voyages and did nothing to properly screen or test existing or new passengers aboard the cruise, which carried on to Hawaii on Feb. 21.

The cruise line has repeatedly said in response to similar lawsuits involving the Grand Princess that it does not comment on pending litigation.

“Princess Cruises has been sensitive to the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to our guests and crew,'' the company said in a statement released after the other suit that was filed this week. “Our response throughout this process has focused on the well-being of our guests and crew within the parameters dictated to us by the government agencies involved and the evolving medical understanding of this new illness.''

The complaint alleges that at least 100 passengers who traveled onboard the Grand Princess on the Mexico voyage have tested positive for COVID-19, and two died after disembarking. One of those fatalities was, at the time, said to be the first-reported death caused by the coronavirus in California. All told, Carnival cruises have reportedly been associated with more than 1,500 positive COVID-19 infections and nearly 40 deaths, plaintiffs allege.

“Carnival and Princess allowed potentially infected individuals on the Mexico cruise to share confined space with other passengers, casually and callously exposing all 2,500 passengers to serious illness from COVID-19,'' alleged plaintiffs' co-counsel Lieff Cabraser, who filed the latest suit.

The suit also alleges that on Feb. 25, when the Grand Princess was on its way to Hawaii, Carnival and Princess sent emails to passengers who had disembarked from the San Francisco-to-Mexico trip four days earlier, alerting them that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. However, no such notice was provided to passengers who were aboard the Grand Princess at that time, plaintiffs allege.

As alleged in the complaint, after Carnival and Princess became aware of the first case aboard the ship, they worked to “keep the fun going'' by “encouraging (passengers) to mingle.''

Photo: Getty Images

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