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Grand Princess Passengers Launch $5 Million Virus Class Action

April 9, 2020, 5:05 PM

Grand Princess passengers who had to be quarantined at Travis Air Force Base just north of San Francisco last month filed a class action against the cruise line’s operators demanding $5 million in damages.

They claim that when the Grand Princess left for Hawaii on Feb. 21 with 2,000 passengers on board, Carnival Corp. & Plc and Princess Cruise Lines Ltd. were already aware of the escalating health crises on sister ships abroad.

A fellow Carnival cruise liner, the Diamond Princess, was docked in Japan by early February and two of her passengers had died as a result of Covid-19 before the Grand Princess pushed off, according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The companies also allegedly knew about Covid-19 cases on board its Australia-New Zealand cruise liner, the Ruby Princess, by mid-February, but chose instead to operate second voyage that left port with a new set of passengers weeks later, the plaintiffs say.

The Ruby Princess’s second trip docked in Australia on March 19, and New South Wales authorities have opened a criminal investigation into whether the disembarking process violated biosecurity laws.

Aboard the Grand Princess, officials allegedly delayed cabin-based quarantine and the cancellation of large events, and waited too long to start increased sanitation procedures. The plaintiffs say this allowed the disease and panic to spread, causing their physical and emotional injuries.

One of the plaintiffs, Pamela Guisti, tested positive for Covid-19 and says that her ICU medical treatment was directly caused by the Grand Princess’s alleged negligence.

Princess declined to comment on pending litigation, but said that it’s been “sensitive to the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to our guests and crew.”

“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.”

Carnival didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Causes of Action: Negligence, gross negligence.

Relief: Compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief.

Attorneys: Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Mary Alexander & Associates.

The case is Archer v. Carnival Corp., N.D. Cal., No. 20-cv-02381, complaint filed 4/8/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Porter Wells in Washington at pwells@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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