January 20, 2021 4 minutes to read ∙ 900 words

No COVID-19, No Emotional Distress Claim

By Andrew K. Robertson

Reprinted with permission from Litigation News, January 5, 2021. ©2021 by the American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

Fear of contracting COVID-19, without more, is insufficient to state a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, according to one federal court. In Weissberger et al. v. Princess Cruise Lines, the court held that permitting fear-based emotional distress claims would lead to “bizarre results” and unpredictable and unlimited liability. ABA Section of Litigation leaders believe that the plaintiffs may have had a viable claim with better facts and that the court expressed legitimate public policy concerns.

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