Litigation (both frivolous and meritorious) has been a foregone conclusion since the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic. The locks have opened and the court files are now full of lawsuits for death, personal injury, and worker compensation claims resulting from the global corona virus health crisis.
In the early stages of the pandemic, headlines from around the world broadcast the plight of cruise ship passengers who were stuck in foreign ports during quarantine. Some of these passengers were affected by the disease, while others were in captivity. They were prohibited from getting out of fear that they would spread the virus due to their possible exposure to infected passengers. These events lead to a wave of claims against the cruise industry.
However, at least one group of passengers is not brought to trial. A federal court in Los Angeles dismissed a lawsuit against Carnival cruise line Passengers claiming monetary damages because of alleged "emotional strain" caused by fear of exposure to the virus. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit had not contracted Covid-19 on board the Grand Princess and could therefore not prove any damage that could be attributed to the cruise company's negligence or fault.
These denied legal claims differ significantly from those of passengers and crew who suffered from Covid-19 during the cruise. These cases are still in litigation and will likely take years. Passengers whose claims have been denied are typical of lawsuits filed for fear of illness, since mere concern about illness is not a viable reason for action in most countries, even under maritime law. The carnival case is in line with the basic legal requirement that a party must actually suffer harm or damage before the right to a judicial decision is granted. The dismissal of the lawsuit does not, however, fully settle its claims, since legal remedies are expected.
The Covid 19 pandemic shows no signs of waning, and pandemic-related litigation will continue through our legal system in the years to come.