In Weissberger v. Princess Cruise Lines, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner of the Central District of California recently dismissed a claim brought by a class of Princess Cruise Line passengers based on their exposure to COVID-19 while aboard the now-infamous cruise ship that departed San Francisco for Hawaii on Feb. 21. While the court applied federal maritime law, this significant decision may shed light on how future courts treat claims for emotional distress premised on exposure to a risk of contracting COVID-19.  

Background

As the Grand Princess docked at the Port of Oakland in March, plaintiffs, Ronald and Eva Weissberger, while still aboard, filed suit against the cruise line alleging a claim for negligence.  Although the Weissbergers did not test positive for COVID-19 (or suffer symptoms of the disease), they sought to recover damages for the emotional distress they allegedly suffered based on their fear of contracting coronavirus while quarantined on the ship.

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