Via America’s Lawyer: Passengers aboard the Princess cruise liner which became a floating Petri dish for the Coronavirus have filed lawsuits against cruise owners for putting profits over people and failing to properly screen passengers. Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: The coronavirus is spreading all over the world and now lawsuits are beginning to pop up over contamination and corporate failures to prevent it. This, this is no surprise. This story is no surprise. What is up with the shipping business? I mean, the grand princess, the diamond princess. Here’s what’s so ridiculous about it, okay. These people, before this happened, this corporations were making more money than they could spend. People were, they were setting up, they were setting up trips three years in advance because it was, it became so popular. The baby boomers are traveling everywhere, right? They know this has been a problem with other types of infectious disease. They’ve never solved the problem. What’s your take?

Farron Cousins: Right. Well, the first time I saw this story, I thought, well, this makes sense and it always seems to be the cruise ships. There is always some kind of outbreak and you can trace it, okay, we started on this cruise ship or we got a quarantine, you know, 1500 passengers and the people who filed this lawsuit, they’re, they’re Florida residents on the princess cruise line. They actually filed it while they were still stuck and quarantined on that boat.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: And so what they’re saying is, listen, this princess cruise lines could have taken precautions. They could have actually screened people, but instead what they had passengers do before they got on this ship was sign a piece of paper saying, no, I’m not sick. That is the extent of the medical testing for every passenger that got on that boat.

Mike Papantonio: And the screening was all, the screening is in place for virtually every, I mean SARS, they do. The screening was developed before SARS. Swine flu, it was developed before swine flu became an epidemic. It’s not that they don’t know how.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: They don’t want to spend the money. Okay. This is what it looks like. Cattle pulls in to the dock. All the cattle get off. Mostly elderly people, 60 and above who are traveling, right, baby boomers who are traveling. They get off the boat, on comes a new bunch of cattle, 60 and above getting onboard the cruise ships. In between there they have no time to do anything to adequately make safe that ship and they’ve known it’s a problem. They’ve known the quick turnaround is a huge problem. They’ve known that there are filtering systems that actually work. They really do work, but they haven’t spent the money to put them on their ships.

Farron Cousins: Right. It’s not just about the, the pre-boarding screening process. It is about the safety measures on the ship itself. You know, you can put the UV lights into the filtration systems, that is going to cut down on a lot of germs in the spread of diseases.

Mike Papantonio: But it costs money.

Farron Cousins: Yes it does. It’s it, that’s not cheap on that large of a scale, but it does work. And now these cruise ship lines, and we’re probably going to see a lot more litigation like this evolve over the next few weeks.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, no question.

Farron Cousins: But they’re going to be on the hook for a lot more money than they would have paid if they would’ve just put these precautions in place and you could have saved people, maybe not stop the quarantines because that was necessary, but you could have prevented more people from getting infected.

Mike Papantonio: You know what really calls your attention? Okay. The diamond princess had just gone through this problem with coronavirus on coming from Mexico. Right? Then the, and that was before the problem with the grand princess. They don’t make any changes at all knowing that they’ve spread the coronavirus all around on the diamond princess. Nothing changes in the way they go about doing things. Here’s the other thing, employees. Sometimes you have to say, I’m going to put more employees on and I want to put less, fewer travelers on. They won’t do that because it’s a money issue. So I mean look, this is all about money and if this, if this industry is going to make a comeback right now, their stock is, you know, crashed.

Farron Cousins: Right.

Mike Papantonio: It’s like I don’t, you know, you wonder are they gonna stay in business. It’s crashed because they’re building new ships every day. I don’t know if they make a comeback. What do you think?

Farron Cousins: Well, I don’t know. Especially considering the fact that a lot of these ships are registered overseas, so they don’t necessarily get regulated as stringently as they should. We’ve got to do some, the federal government does have to step in and say, listen, if you’re going to be a cruise ship stopping in the United States, you are going to adhere to our standards and if you don’t, you’re not dropping anchor here.

Mike Papantonio: But best practices, that’s one thing you do, best practices they say we follow best practices. If you take a look at it, in reality, they’re really stretching that truth. But more importantly, the technology is absolutely there. There’s no question. It’s expensive, but they could use the technology and they could save lives and prevent this kind of economic disaster for this industry.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.