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Public Health Emergency: Legal Preparedness and Response

Weissberger v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd.


Weissberger v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd. (U.S. District Court, Central District of California, July 14, 2020): The court dismissed plaintiff’s case, finding that a couple could not hold Princess Cruise Lines liable for emotional distress because of fear of contracting COVID-19 they experienced onboard. The Weissbergers alleged the cruise line knew individuals onboard the ship had been exposed to COVID-19 but did not properly screen others for symptoms. They claimed emotional distress from being placed in immediate risk of contracting COVID-19 while quarantined on the ship. For the couple to recover damages for their claim, they must have been either (1) physically impacted or (2) placed in immediate risk of physical harm by Princess Cruise Lines’ actions. The court found that for an individual to successfully bring a claim for emotional distress caused by exposure to disease, they must allege that they contracted or exhibited symptoms of the disease. This court was disinclined to make an exception to this rule, which is designed to prevents trivial lawsuits and protect businesses from unlimited liability. Read the full opinion here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – August 11, 2020.

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