On April 7, 2020, class claims were filed against Costa Cruise Lines (“Costa”), owned by Carnival Corporation, in Florida federal court alleging that Costa knowingly subjected over 2,000 passengers aboard the Costa Luminosa to the highly-contagious Coronavirus.
In the complaint, named plaintiff Paul Turner argues that Costa and the entire cruise industry was well aware of how easily the virus could spread aboard cruise ships based on the events aboard the Diamond Princess, which resulted in the deaths of seven passengers. The plaintiff goes on to allege that based upon the defendant’s awareness of the escalating dangers of the presence of coronavirus onboard a ship, it should have taken all necessary precautions to keep passengers, crew and the general public safe.
On February 24, 2020, the Costa Luminosa set sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Four days later, a 68-year-old Italian passenger was evacuated from the ship in the Cayman Islands due to apparent symptoms of coronavirus. The passenger later died from the virus. Despite the presence of the virus onboard the ship, the Costa Luminosa returned to Fort Lauderdale to pick up more passengers on March 5, 2020, after sending prospective passengers an email assuring them that the defendant was holding itself to the highest standard of care and following CDC guidelines.
Despite these assurances, additional passengers were allowed to embark before the ship was properly sanitized. Not only did the defendant fail to incorporate UV light into the filtration systems and antimicrobial sanitizing equipment, but it also neglected to hire a third-party indoor environmental professional to verify that common use areas and surfaces on the ship were reasonably safe for passengers and crew. Additionally, Costa informed passengers that they would not be reimbursed if they canceled their March 5, 2020 voyage on the Costa Luminosa.
On March 13, 2020, an Italian couple who were passengers on the Costa Luminosa were rushed to a hospital for coronavirus-like symptoms and were subsequently targeted as having introduced the coronavirus to Puerto Rico. On March 16, 2020, passengers were informed by the ship’s captain that they were to quarantine themselves in their cabins. By the time the ship docked in France on March 19, 2020, 36 passengers had tested positive for coronavirus.
The plaintiff is seeking to represent a class made up of all passengers aboard the Costa Luminosa who embarked on a cruise on February 24, 2020 and/or March 5, 2020. The suit brings causes of action for negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, misleading advertising in violation of Florida Statutes 817.41 and negligent misrepresentation.
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