In what is being seen as a landmark decision, Hill Dickinson is the first law firm to have successfully defended a U.K. class action case involving a norovirus outbreak onboard a cruise liner.
The case, which involved an outbreak of gastroenteritis onboard the Thomson Spirit, chartered by TUI UK limited and operated by Louis Cruise, was a 43-claimant class action, 28 of whom had alleged bacterial illness with the balance claiming breach of contract. The case was brought against TUI UK Limited who as contracting carrier would have been liable for the fault or neglect of the performing carrier, Louis, pursuant to the Athens Convention 1974.
Lawyers acting for the claimants had alleged that the outbreak was bacterial and caused by negligence on the part of the cruise line and poor adherence by the crew to the ship’s established outbreak response plan. In the alternative, if it was norovirus, then the ship itself was the source of the outbreak and the crew then failed to implement its gastrointestinal (GI) outbreak procedures.
However, the performing carriers, Celestyal Cruises (Louis Cruise Lines) produced test results showing that this was a norovirus attack rather than campylobacter as alleged.