Cruise Lines – Weissberger v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd., 2020 WL 3977938, at *1 (C.D. Cal. July 14, 2020)
Weissberger v. Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd., 2020 WL 3977938, at *1 (C.D. Cal. July 14, 2020)
Judge R. Gary Klausner of the Federal District Court for the Central District of California granted a consolidated motion to dismiss fifteen complaints against Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd. which sought to recover damages for emotional distress caused by fear of contracting COVID-19 during the quarantine of the Grand Princess cruise ship. None of the involved Plaintiffs contracted the disease. The Court determined that the claims were properly construed as negligent infliction of emotional distress claims and applied the US Supreme Court’s zone of danger test articulated in Consolidated Rail Corp v. Gottshal 512 U.S. 532 (1994) and interpreted in Metro-North Commuter R. Co. v. Buckley, 521 U.S. 424 (1997). The Court found that under Metro-North, a plaintiff must manifest some symptom of the feared disease to support recovery on a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim, merely demonstrating exposure to a potentially harmful substance was insufficient. On this basis the Court found that Plaintiffs could not recover for negligent infliction of emotional distress based solely on their proximity to individuals with COVID-19 and the resulting fear of developing the disease. Judge Klausner also expressed public policy concerns that permitting Plaintiffs’ claims to proceed would lead to a flood of trivial suits and unlimited and unpredictable liability. Judge Klausner found that giving Plaintiffs leave to amend would be futile and granted the Motion to Dismiss without leave to amend.
Thanks to Zach Politis for assisiting with this post.