Those in West Virginia following COVID-19 coverage might be interested to know that a couple has filed a lawsuit against Princess Cruise Lines. The suit claims the cruise operator placed passengers at risk of being exposed to the novel coronavirus. They are seeking $1 million in damages. The couple was held for a period of time on the cruise ship after more than 21 people contracted the virus.
The suit claims that the cruise operator acted negligently when it allowed the ship to sail even though two people who had previously been on the ship had been diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the suit, none of the passengers were informed. Previous passengers on the ship were sent an email notifying them of possible exposure on Feb. 25. The cruise with 3,500 passengers that the couple was a part of left Honolulu on Feb. 26.
Operators of the cruise liner said that their response to the outbreak was within parameters set by the government. A previous outbreak on the Diamond Princess vacation ship in February of 2020 resulted in more than 700 people becoming infected with the virus.
Business operators have a responsibility to their employees and patrons to provide a safe environment. Premises liability is the legal term used to describe this responsibility. When a business operator places their employees or patrons at-risk of danger, legal action may be warranted. In this case, the cruise operator knew that two previous passengers had been infected with the virus. They allegedly placed their employees and future passengers at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when the ship set sail days later.
Because they failed to inform future passengers of the exposure and set sail knowing that their employees had possibly been exposed, the cruise line may be liable for damages. Those infected by the virus might be awarded medical and compensatory damages.