CARNIVAL’S WEEK: THE COVID AND THE KING
Carnival Cruise Line suffered two setbacks this week. One having to do with a lawsuit arising from claimed Covid infections on CCL cruises. The second loss came over a dispute with Lebron James as to whether Carnival Cruise Line’s intended use of the name “KING JAMES” for a cruise ship would infringe upon Lebron James’ trademarks.
Many people know that NBA star Lebron James is known as “KING JAMES”, and Lebron James to his credit trademarked several versions of that name. Carnival Cruise Line wanted to use the name “KING JAMES” for the name of one of their newer ships coming online. Not a surprise that Lebron James didn’t think much of Carnival’s idea. Initially, Carnival’s attorneys fought with Lebron James to be able to use the KING JAMES name. However, Carnival this week threw in the towel on their pursuit of the idea. The entire situation is ironic in that Carnival is based in Miami, Florida and Lebron James played for the Miami Heat NBA team—and even won two world championships there. The real irony is that the Miami Heat team is owned by Mickey Arison—the founder of …… Carnival Cruise Line.
Second defeat of the week comes from California where a judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that several passengers were infected with Covid-19 on a Carnival Cruise Ship. The case is filed as Robert Archer et al v. Carnival Corporation and PLC et al (Case No. 2:20-cv-04203). The federal judge denied Carnival Cruise Line’s motion to dismiss the case. The claimants—17 of them—alleged they were exposed to Covid-19 on a February 2020 cruise in which CCL knew of certain other passengers’ illnesses but did not inform the new passengers.
We will be watching this case closely. Very frequently a defendant at the outset of a case in federal court will ask the judge to dismiss it, and many times that motion is granted. In this case it does not mean the claimants will win, it means they live to fight another day in that court. One of the tough issues with Covid-19 or even simple Norovirus cases is proving when the claimant contracted the virus and how they contracted it. The cruise lines’—and we mean all of them—general position is that a claimant had the virus before they came on board, or second, that the cruise line cannot possibly know the health status of very single person who comes on board the vessel. This will be interesting to see how this case plays out, in that, the allegations are that certain passengers were on this voyage who had been on a previous vessel which was allegedly known to have Corona virus cases.