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INFECTION POINT – Two California rulings dismissing lawsuits brought by cruise ship passengers who got COVID-19 may have charted a course—albeit a choppy one—for plaintiffs lawyers hoping to to bring future claims alleging a business’ negligence caused coronavirus infections. Either that, or these cases are sunk. As Amanda Bronstad reports, the California suits, against Princess Cruise Lines, were among the first in the nation to address two fundamental elements of such claims: plaintiff’s injuries and causation. While one plaintiffs lawyer said the strategy moving forward will be to retain experts to evaluate how COVID-19 spreads and whether someone could have contracted the disease at a particular defendant’s location, he also acknowledged “[t]hese are not going to be easy cases.” Others were even more skeptical. “These people are on a ship for almost three weeks,” said Christopher Robinette, a professor at Widener University Commonwealth Law School who is tracking the cases.“So, if you’re on a ship for three weeks and still can’t demonstrate causation, at least on your first attempt, walking into a grocery store for an hour among four other stores over a period of several weeks—causation seems extremely difficult to demonstrate here.”
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