Failure to Comply With COVID-19 Requirements May Ignite Class Action Claims
Failure to Comply With COVID-19 Requirements May Ignite Class Action Claims

In the first of its kind, a class action lawsuit has been filed in Florida District Court alleging Celebrity Cruises ignored the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other regulators and allowed “business as usual” instead of heeding warnings. The case was brought under the Jones Act. The class could possibly be as large as 10,000 members.

Alexandra Nedeltcheva, who works on the new Celebrity Apex, accused the cruise line of failing to take appropriate measures to protect its workers from the coronavirus.  Even after the CDC’s March 14 no-sail order for all cruise ships, Celebrity continued to force its crew members on the Apex to engage in drills and allowed a crew party for workers with a large communal buffet line. 

The lawsuit further alleges that despite having notice that COVID-19 was likely present aboard the vessels, Celebrity failed to quarantine crew members, failed to provide masks and other protective gear, and failed to request them to observe social distancing measures.  Additional allegations include the failure of Celebrity to provide adequate medical care to its crew members.

As of April 6, 2020, 350 of Apex’s crew members had tested positive for the coronavirus and eight had to be hospitalized. 

Class actions pose great liability to employers and have recently been used overwhelmingly in the wage and hour context.  This novel approach is indicative of the new wave of employee strikes and walk-outs experienced by Amazon and Instacart.  It is a wake-up call for all employers to be sure to make good faith efforts to comply with these new and ever-changing regulations in an effort to avoid such risks.

This AALRR publication is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in reaching a conclusion in a particular area of law. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. Receipt of this or any other AALRR presentation/publication does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Firm is not responsible for inadvertent errors that may occur in the publishing process.

©2020 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

Categories: Class Action

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