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Princess Cruises Sees First Coronavirus Wrongful Death Suits

April 16, 2020, 9:35 PM

Princess Cruises Ltd.'s alleged mismanagement of the novel coronavirus outbreak on its vessels is at the center of a new wrongful death suit filed Wednesday in California federal court.

Princess operates a number of ships that suffered high-profile Covid-19 outbreaks beginning in early February. Its parent company, Carnival Plc, allegedly knew about the problem early but chose to keep sailing, a choice that has drawn media scrutiny along with litigation.

Chung Chen was aboard the Ruby Princess’s March 8 sailing out of Sydney, Australia, with his wife and daughter, according to his complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. He was one of the passengers who contracted the virus during the journey, and later died after flying home to Los Angeles, according to the lawsuit.

More than 650 of the ship’s 2,700 passengers have tested positive for Covid-19.

Juishan and Vivian Chen contracted the virus and have suffered symptoms in addition to pain, suffering, and funeral costs related to Chung’s death, they say.

The cruise line is accused of allowing the Chens to board the Ruby Princess knowing that it hadn’t been adequately sanitized after a coronavirus outbreak on the previous voyage, and for taking a “lackadaisical” approach to their safety once aboard.

The Simmrin Law Group and Chalik & Chalik P.A. represent the Chen family. The firm has filed other negligence lawsuits against the cruise line on behalf of Ruby and Grand Princess passengers in recent days.

A separate wrongful death lawsuit against Princess filed Wednesday claims the company is liable for the death of a Texas man who was on the Grand Princess’s Feb. 21 sailing from San Francisco.

Causes of action: Negligence, gross negligence.

Relief: Compensatory and punitive damages to be determined at trial.

Comment: Princess declined to comment on pending litigation but said the company has been “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 case is Hsu v. Princess Cruises Ltd., C.D. Cal., No. 20-cv-03488, complaint filed 4/15/20

To contact the reporter on this story: Porter Wells in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at; Nicholas Datlowe at