On April 14, 2020, another class action lawsuit was filed against the cruise industry for failure to respond in a timely manner to the threat of COVID-19. The most recent suit was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida against Celebrity Cruises, Inc. (“Celebrity”).
Named plaintiff in the suit, Alexandra Nedeltcheva, was a crew member aboard one of the defendant’s ships in the Mediterranean Sea when she contracted COVID-19. The plaintiff argues that Celebrity was careless and continuous in its failure to protect its crewmembers from COVID-19 onboard its ships, despite having prior notice pertaining to the dangerous conditions and highly infectious nature of the illness. The complaint further alleges that Celebrity had notice that COVID-19 was likely present aboard its ships and still failed to follow even the most basic safety precautions such as quarantining of crewmembers, providing crewmembers with masks and mandating crewmembers to observe social distancing measures while aboard the defendant’s vessels in a timely fashion.
According to the plaintiff, Celebrity allowed crewmembers to dine in buffet settings, directed crewmembers to participate in ship drills and even allowed crewmembers to attend crew parties on the ship. The suit argues that as a result of Celebrity’s egregious failure to protect its employees, hundreds of cases of COVID-19 manifested onboard the company’s ships.
The plaintiff seeks to represent a class comprised of all crewmembers who worked for Celebrity aboard one of Celebrity’s vessels and who contracted COVID-19 and/or were at a heightened risk of exposure while working aboard the defendant’s vessels as a result of Celebrity’s negligent conduct. The suit brings causes of action for Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness, failure to provide maintenance and cure, and failure to provide prompt, proper and adequate medical care.
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