Coronavirus lawsuits coming against Princess Cruise Lines after COVID-19 outbreak

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- They have just begun their two-week quarantine after leaving the Grand Princess in San Francisco, but some passengers are already filing lawsuits against the cruise line.

The number of lawsuits climbed to five on Friday, with more coming. The main complaint is that Princess Cruise Lines knew a passenger left that ship in bad condition with symptoms that pointed to coronavirus, yet the company allowed thousands more to board, putting their health at risk.

"I think they put the money ahead of the safety of our-, us and our friends," says Steve Kurvivial. The I-Team's Dan Noyes spoke with Steve and his wife, Tryphenia, from their room at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas where they are under quarantine.

They drove historic Route 66 from Chicago to San Francisco, to board the Grand Princess. They heard about the coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess in Japan, but they trusted the company would keep them safe.

"We didn't hear about anybody sick on this boat until we were like the second or third day in the cruise," Steve Kurvivial told us. "We started hearing rumors of other passengers on the previous cruise having some illness issues."

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Their lawsuit against Princess Cruise Lines says the company knew "at least one of its passengers from the prior voyage ... had symptoms of coronavirus, and yet it made the conscious decision to continue sailing the voyage that began February 21, 2020 with another three thousand passengers on an infected ship."

Debi Chalik is their attorney based in Florida: "Just letting them on the ship blindly not knowing what they were going to walk into, everybody who thought they were going on a dream vacation and ended up in a nightmare."

Chalik has filed four lawsuits this week, including one on behalf of her parents who were on the ship. Each of the complaints asks for damages in excess of $1 million.
Princess Cruise Lines tells us they won't comment on pending litigation, but the company president, Jan Swartz, released a video yesterday, saying, "We have battled this virus on two continents, always with the mission of doing the right thing, taking care of our guests and team so they get home safely, while being as transparent as possible with everyone throughout the entire process."

The process of placing three-thousand passengers in quarantine at military bases across the country has not gone smoothly.

Attorney Debi Chalk told us on Friday, "I'm learning that there were still passengers on that ship as of this morning, they just disembarked today."

Steve Kurvivial questions the decision to keep passengers together for the two-week quarantine period: "You get out of the cruise ship, you board a bus. Everybody's together, tight. And you get on a plane for three and a half hours. Everybody's on the plane tight. And then you get here. And it's like, well, if I didn't have it before, there's a good chance I got it now."

One other important point: none of the quarantined passengers has been tested for coronavirus, and the ones we spoke with say, that doesn't make sense. If you have something we should investigate, call at 1-888-40-I-Team or send a tip at the I-Team page.

Take a look at more stories by Dan Noyes and the ABC7 News I-Team.

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