More evidence sought in Ruby Princess class action lawsuit after judge rules on international passengers

A judge has issued a significant ruling on whether international passengers can be included in a class action lawsuit over a Covid-19 outbreak on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

Deliberations on the documents continue as Carnival cruise ships fight a class action lawsuit over the deadly outbreak.

Hundreds of passengers contracted the virus after the outbreak on the ship that left Sydney on March 8, 2020 and returned on March 19 after sailing through New Zealand.

The class action lawsuit was filed by Shine Lawyers on behalf of 2,700 passengers, family members and executors in July 2020, brought about by Susan Karpik against Carnival PLC and Princess Cruise Lines Ltd, the owner and operator of the ship.

It focuses on more than 700 Covid-19 cases and 28 cruise-related deaths.

The cruise ship is being sued for negligence for three alleged breaches of its duty of care to passengers, including letting the journey continue despite being aware of the Covid-19 outbreak, failing to protect passengers from contracting the virus on board. and failing to warn passengers of the risk of contracting the virus while on the ship.

Carnival is also charged with two violations of the Australian Consumer Law, including failure to provide a “safe, relaxing and enjoyable” holiday as advertised and false, misleading and deceptive conduct in advertising the holiday as stated above.

During a hearing in Federal Court on Wednesday, attorneys for Ms. Karpik and the cruise ship deliberated on common questions and documents before next year’s trial.

David McLure SC, on behalf of the cruise ship, told the court that they are seeking more evidence from the parties involved, as the trial will have to take into account the law of England and the general maritime law of the United States.

“We will need to receive evidence from the parties about what the law is in relation to them,” he said.

McLure said the rules of the other legal systems are “phrased differently.”

“I do not claim that they are so radically different that conceptually an Australian lawyer cannot compare them in a relevant way to what the Liability Act says,” he said.

Mr. McLure argued that questions about what services were offered to patients did not need to be asked at trial, as they differed between clients.

Associate Editorial Fwd: COVID 19 Paul Faraguna RAH patient image
Camera iconCoronavirus patients Paul Faraguna and his wife Robyn. The couple fell ill at the Ruby Princess and Mr. Faraguna was the first patient admitted to the intensive care unit at Royal Adelaide Hospital. Credit: Supplied

“There is an allegation that the services offered included medical services, but I do not believe that Ms Karpik claims that she was provided medical services while she was a passenger,” she said.

Ian Pike SC, representing the group, said that if she took over the medical services “it wasn’t here or there.”

The hearing comes after Judge Angus Stewart ruled that passengers from the United States and the United Kingdom could be included in the class action lawsuit.

The Federal Court denied the cruise’s request to prevent foreign passengers from joining the class action lawsuit after failing to successfully argue that they should be excluded as they adhered to different terms and conditions when purchasing tickets.

Of the 2,651 passengers who paid for their tickets on the ship, 696 purchased tickets under the US terms and conditions and 159 under the UK terms and conditions. The rest bought the tickets under the Australian terms and conditions.

The US terms and conditions include a class action waiver clause.

Judge Stewart ruled that it was neither necessary nor appropriate to determine the law applicable to the negligence claims of the US and UK subgroups.

The hearing will reappear before Justice Steward in June 2022.

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