Lieff Cabraser and Mary Alexander announce the filing of a class action lawsuit in Federal Court in L.A. against Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines alleging that these companies negligently spread the COVID-19 pandemic among their own passengers and crew. More than 60 individuals who were passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship in February 2020 filed the lawsuit alleging gross negligence on the part of both cruise lines in the handling of passenger health and safety during the coronavirus outbreak.

The complaint alleges the Cruise lines and staff did not take proper precautions in cleaning or sanitizing the ship in-between voyages, and did nothing to properly screen or test existing or new passengers aboard the ship that was bound for Hawaii. Carnival and Princess are also accused of failing to notify passengers of the potential dangers on board the ship. As the complaint details, the cruise lines were aware that passengers on the prior trip reported COVID-19 symptoms but never made the new passengers aware of this fact.

“This appalling response by Carnival and Princess is defined by a callous disregard for passenger well-being,” said Lieff Cabraser partner Elizabeth Cabraser, who represents the plaintiffs. “They were more interested in packing in new passengers in order to continue operations than they were in thinking about the safety of those passengers.”

The complaint provides information on two passengers who contracted the coronavirus as the direct result of the cruise lines’ lack of proper care. Nancy Alvis became infected while on-board the Grand Princess, and when she sought medical help, the staff gave her ibuprofen and sent her back to her cabin. Pamela Giusti also became infected, was diagnosed with COVID-19, and treated in an intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanent Medical Center. These are two of numerous people who were exposed to and/or contracted the virus while on the Grand Princess.

The complaint also alleges:

  • On February 25, while the Grand Princess was on its way to Hawaii, Carnival and Princess sent emails to passengers who had disembarked from the San Francisco-to-Mexico trip on February 21 alerting them that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 during that trip. However, no such notice was provided to passengers who were aboard the Grand Princess at that time.
  • The passengers aboard the Grand Princess were not made aware until March 4 that there were COVID-19 infected passengers on the previous voyage. They were then told they would no longer be traveling to Mexico as originally planned but headed instead to San Francisco.
  • An advisory alert was sent to passengers that a “small cluster of COVID-19 cases in Northern California connected to” the Grand Princess’ Mexico trip, and informed passengers of their potential exposure to the virus.
  • The complaint alleges that had the passengers been properly alerted to the potential dangers on-board the Gran Princess they Plaintiffs would not have sailed on the February 21, 2020, roundtrip voyage to Hawaii.

“Princess put profits before people, plain and simple,” said co-counsel Mary Alexander of Mary Alexander & Associates. “At every turn, these cruise lines misinformed, misled, mistreated or put passengers in harm’s way.”

The case is Robert Archer et al. v. Carnival Corp., Princess Cruise Lines, Central District of California, Case No. 2:20-cv-04203-RGK-SK.


Elizabeth J. Cabraser
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
275 Battery Street, Suite 2900
San Francisco, CA 94111
Telephone: (415) 956-1000

Mary E. Alexander
Mary Alexander & Associates, P.C.
44 Montgomery Street, Suite 1303
San Francisco, CA 94104
Telephone: (415) 433-4440

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