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Chambers and Partners (2014)
Illness on MS Sundream cruise
Following an outbreak of viral gastroenteritis that occurred on the cruise ship MS Sundream, a group of 58 holidaymakers instructed us to bring an action for damages against the Defendant, Airtours, for breach of contract and breach of Package Travel Regulations and breach of other relevant legal duties.
The clients who were affected had taken holidays in 1998 in the Caribbean and whilst the cruise ship was crossing the Caribbean for the summer season in the Mediterranean. A small number of Claimants subsequently took holidays during the end of the summer season in the Mediterranean in 1998.
All of the clients apart from two became ill, suffering with gastric illnesses of a viral nature, which is often referred to as winter vomiting disease. Several clients complained of suffering tiredness, lethargy, weight loss and other symptoms extending beyond periods for which their gastric symptoms continued. A number of clients suffered with long term illnesses as a result of the acute gastric illness, including conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Following negotiations between the parties, the Defendant agreed liability in respect of short term illnesses but did not accept the fact that contraction of viral gastroenteritis could lead to the long term symptoms of which some clients complained. This issue was litigated all the way up to Trial before the Defendant, at the door of the Court, conceded that there was a link. Damages of over £250,000 were recovered on behalf of the 58 Claimants.
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