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Lawsuit accuses cruise line of letting passengers ‘mingle’ during virus outbreak

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Lawsuit accuses cruise line of letting passengers 'mingle' during virus outbreak

The family of a Lehigh County man who died from a COVID-19 infection contracted aboard a cruise ship is accusing the company of failing to protect passengers and even encouraging guests to mingle.

Carl Weidner died March 26 after reportedly contracting COVID-19 aboard a Grand Princess cruise bound for Hawaii. The 74-year-old Whitehall Township man boarded the ship on Feb. 21, disembarked March 9 and was taken to the California Pacific Medical Center on March 11, where he was put on a ventilator five days later.

San Francisco-based attorneys Mary Alexander and Elizabeth Cabraser filed the federal wrongful death suit Monday in the Central District of California on behalf of Weidner’s son. The suit is filed against Carnival and Princess cruises and parent company, Carnival Corporation.

The company issued a brief statement in response to the lawsuit.

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"Princess Cruises has been sensitive to the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to our guests and crew," according to a prepared statement. "Our response throughout this process has focused on the well-being of our guests and crew within the parameters dictated to us by the government agencies involved and the evolving medical understanding of this new illness. We do not comment on any pending litigation."

The lawsuit lays out a rough timeline for the emergence of the COVID-19 virus and notes that Carnival Corporation became aware in early February of an outbreak on the Diamond Princess, which was docked in Japan. Personnel initially diagnosed 10 cases, which grew to more than 700, according to the lawsuit.

The attorneys cite investigative reporting that alleges the company worked to "keep the fun going" and encouraged guests to mingle after […]

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