Family of Grand Princess Cruise Passenger Who Died of Coronavirus Files Negligence Lawsuit

The family claims the cruise line should have known a passenger on the ship's prior voyage had coronavirus

Grand Princess cruise ship
Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty

The family of a cruise ship passenger who died of coronavirus has filed a negligence lawsuit against Princess Cruises and its parent company, Carnival.

The complaint, filed last week, was submitted by the Wong family, after Ronald Wong, 64, died of the deadly virus after allegedly contracting it on one of the ships.

Ronald had boarded a Princess Cruises voyage in late February in San Francisco with his wife, Eva, who had booked the cruise to celebrate her husband's birthday. According to the complaint, the Wongs initially didn't show any symptoms of the virus after returning from their voyage. However, Ronald soon developed a persistent fever and cough, and was taken to a hospital in Vallejo, California, on March 16.

Both he and Eva then tested positive for coronavirus. Ronald died March 24 and Eva, who recovered, was not able to visit him in the hospital.

In the lawsuit, the Wong family claims that Carnival and Princess Cruises should have known that a passenger on the ship's prior voyage had coronavirus.

They cite Carnival's chief medical officer, Dr. Grant Tarling, admitting in a conference call on March 7 that "a passenger aboard the earlier Grand Princess Mexico cruise fell ill within 'two or three days' of boarding the ship, and that the timing of when the passenger’s symptoms first appeared indicates he brought the coronavirus onboard when he boarded the ship on February 11, 2020" — potentially infecting crew members that would be working on Ronald and Eva's voyage.

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That passenger, a 71-year-old man, later died on March 4 at a hospital in Roseville, California, USA Today reported. He was one of the first known California residents to die from the virus.

"Despite knowing the Grand Princess was armed with a highly contagious and deadly virus, defendants boarded the ship and failed to take any safety precautions or warn passengers," the lawsuit reads.

According to the complaint, the Wongs, along with hundreds of other passengers aboard the ship were taken to two military bases on March 9 for a 14-day quarantine. During that time, Ronald began showing symptoms.

In a statement to PEOPLE Princess Cruises said they were not commenting on any pending litigation.

"Princess Cruises has been sensitive to the difficulties the COVID-19 outbreak has caused to our guests and crew," a spokesperson for the cruise line said. "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."

The new lawsuit is just the latest in over a dozen filed against the company by passengers who had been aboard the ship, USA Today reports.

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