British and American passengers will be allowed to join a class action against Princess Cruises over the Ruby Princess debacle.
The cruise line had applied to block passengers from the UK and the US from joining a class action run by Shine Lawyers in response to the infamous outbreak on board Ruby Princess that saw 700 passengers become infected with COVID-19, and has been linked to the deaths of 28 people.
On Friday, Justice Angus Stewart rejected Princess Cruises stay application and said there were “strong reasons” not to bar passengers from the action, according to court documents.
Stewart said blocking passengers from the US and the UK from joining the action would end up wasting judicial resources by bringing “essentially identical claims” to courts in both Australia and the US.
He said it also runs the risk of conflicting outcomes, which would “bring the administration of justice into disrepute”.
Stewart determined the claims had a “substantial connection with NSW” because many of the breaches of duty of care alleged were connected to Sydney.
“There is simply no respect in which the continuation of the US or UK sub-group claims in the representative proceeding in this court is oppressive, vexatious or an abuse of process,” Stewart determined.
According to Shine Lawyers, all 2,700 passengers who disembarked the ship in Circular Quay on 19 March 2020 are eligible to join the class action, as well as relatives who have suffered mentally from the cruise’s aftermath and executors and administrators of deceased passengers’ estates.
The action, which is lead by Susan Karpick, who alleges she and her husband caught CoVID-19 as a result of the cruise line’s negligence.
The action alleges the cruise line broke Australian consumer laws by breaching consumer guarantees and by engaging in conduct that was misleading and deceptive.
It is also claimed the line was negligent and failed in its duty of care to provide passengers with a safe cruise.
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