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Grand Princess passengers sue cruise line, alleging negligence in coronavirus handling

Molly Sullivan, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in News & Features

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Passengers of a Princess cruise ship filed a lawsuit Wednesday, alleging the cruise line demonstrated negligence in its response to the coronavirus outbreak by operating cruises that led to the sickening of dozens of people and at least three deaths, including a Placer County man.

Plaintiffs in the case were passengers on the Grand Princess, which departed San Francisco on Feb. 11 for a round trip to Mexico. At least four passengers became ill and started showing symptoms, according to the lawsuit, "likely exposing dozens of other passengers to the virus."

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco and names Carnival Corporation, Princess Cruise Lines and Fairline Shipping as defendants.

"Despite their knowledge regarding COVID-19, Defendants had no effective passenger medical screening methods in place at that time," the lawsuit alleges.

A Placer County man aboard the cruise died after disembarking, becoming California's first death to COVID-19.

By the time the ship docked in San Francisco to prepare for another round trip to Hawaii, "approximately 62 passengers, at least two of whom were ill, and over 1,000 crew members remained onboard the Grand Princess to continue traveling on the ship's next voyage," the lawsuit said.


Still, no screening measures were in place, nor were measures taken to disinfect or sanitize the ship, the lawsuit alleges.

Furthermore, the cruise line did not notify passengers who boarded on Feb. 21 for Hawaii that passengers from the previous voyage had reported COVID-19 symptoms and that passengers who stayed on the ship had been exposed to the virus, the lawsuit alleges.

Passengers from the Mexico trip were emailed on Feb. 25 about their potential exposure.

Crew did not begin sanitary measures until March 3, and on March 4 notified passengers of the presence of COVID-19 aboard the ship. Later that day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency and stopped the vessel from docking in San Francisco.


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