Posted on Jun 30, 2006
1994 Outbreak on Cruise Ship Horizon Results in Jury Award to Celebrity
A federal court jury in New York on June 28th awarded Celebrity Cruise Lines, Inc. $193 million in damages in a suit stemming from a 1994 outbreak of Legionnaires' disease on the cruise ship Horizon.
At least 16 persons who had sailed on nine separate week-long cruises from April 30 to July 9, 1994 were subsequently found to have Legionaires' diease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. One of the passengers later died.
Celebrity contended that Essef Corp., which since has been acquired by Pentair, Inc., provided a defective filter in the ship's hot-tub system which the CDC linked to the outbreak.
The outbreak of Legionnaires ultimately resulted in a number of personal injury suits and a class action suit by passengers who had booked a subsequent cruise that was halted.
Celebrity sued for damage to the company's image, legal fees and the cost of suits stemming from the outbreak. Horizon left Celebrity's fleet at the end of last year.
"This was a long awaited result for Celebrity Cruises," said Dan Hanrahan, President of Celebrity Cruises. "We feel vindicated by this verdict. In the cruise industry, the safety of our guests and employees is paramount."
Pentair said the verdict was contrary to law and the evidence.
"We will pursue all available means to achieve reversal of this jury verdict," Pentair Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randall J. Hogan said in a statement.