Lawsuit alleges negligence in resort norovirus outbreak

Ryan Ross
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The statement of claim alleged the resort acted with a “wanton, callous and reckless regard” for the safety of the class members who are seeking $5 million for negligence and breach of contract.

Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre

The troubles continue for the Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre with the launch of a $5 million class action lawsuit over recent norovirus outbreaks.

Deborah Basco and Christine MacDonald are the plaintiffs on a statement of claim filed Sept. 20 that seeks an order certifying it a class action.

It also seeks to have the women appointed as representatives for everyone involved in the claim.

Numbered company 100580 P.E.I. Inc., which carries on business as the Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre Little Boat Bar and Red Dory Restaurant, was named in the claim as the defendant.

D.P. Murphy Inc. is listed as one of the numbered company’s shareholders with businessman Danny Murphy as president.

The statement of claim alleged the resort acted with a “wanton, callous and reckless regard” for the safety of the class members who are seeking $5 million for negligence and breach of contract. It also seeks damages for breaches of the Business Practices Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act and Public Health Act.

Wagners, the law firm representing the plaintiffs recently ran advertisements for a potential norovirus class action lawsuit after the public health office shut down food service at the resort.

More than 230 people reported getting sick within the span of several weeks after several weddings at the resort.

Stool samples the public health office collected turned up positive for the norovirus.

In order for the suit to proceed as a class action, it has to be certified as such.

A class action allows numerous plaintiffs to proceed as a group in single lawsuit instead of each suing individually.

The statement of claim filed Sept. 20 said the plaintiffs raise common issues and a class action would be the best course of action.

Basco was a guest at the resort for five nights starting Aug. 17 and alleged she and her partner got sick with flu-like symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pains.

The statement of claim alleges Basco and her partner told management they were sick and thought it was because of the resort’s food.

MacDonald attended a wedding at the resort two weeks later and developed the same symptoms on or about Sept. 4.

The claim alleges the resort learned of the norovirus outbreak in August and didn’t do anything to warn the plaintiffs or their family members.

Among the allegations of negligence, the claim said the resort had a duty to act in a way that properly supervised the resort’s operation so guests, staff and visitors could expect it to be free of norovirus.

Once a norovirus outbreak was suspected, the resort had a duty of care to the plaintiff and class members to address the potential source and take other health and safety measures, the claim said.

The statement of claim said the resort also had a duty to tell visitors of any potential risks to their health.

In detailing the allegations, the claim laid out several other instances of alleged negligence, including inadequate inspections and testing to determine if norovirus was present at the resort.

It also alleged the resort didn’t take appropriate isolation protocols, including not closing down or stopping food service soon enough.

The plaintiffs and class members alleged they suffered mental distress, disappointment and frustration by the resort not providing the “holiday experience” it was supposed to.

In claiming damages, the plaintiffs alleged the resort knew or should have known its actions would have caused pain, suffering, mental distrees and loss of income along with medical and other expenses.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and 100580 P.E.I. Inc. has yet to file a defence.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: 100580 P.E.I., D.P. Murphy

Geographic location: Stanhope

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Recent comments

  • Get real
    September 24, 2012 - 14:01

    Ok this is not about making a quick buck, it is the point that they knew about it and did absolutely nothing at all. Talk about who is greedy here, how in the heck would you guys feel if that was your son or daughters wedding and it was ruined because the resort never told you that people were severely sick days before. They had a lady that was pregnant and was violently ill due to it what if she had of lost her baby???? It would be a different story if this was the first outbreak but it wasn't. They were notified Saturday morning from the wedding from Thursday which people were hospitalized and they had stool samples at the hospital and still let the weddings go on Saturday and Sunday. How would you feel if you were the bride and become violently ill the day of your wedding and then all your guests got sick and they wouldn't offer any of your money back. Now keep in mind they paid $40.00 dollars a plate not including accommodations. So with that being said it is ok for all you people to start making your comments and running them down but think about it if you were in there shoes what the heck would you do. I hope they win there case, maybe if the resort tried to do something right from the start it wouldn't of went this far.

  • Robz
    September 22, 2012 - 23:48

    wow , i didnt think Islanders still felt they should have to take what the upper class elite drop on them. Its clear the "Resort" was the cause and anyone sick should be compensated. About time someone started sueing people who cause sickness and possibly long term health problems for others. Heres a tip for the health inspector also. Those Chip trucks you see selling fries all over . Well once they put the picnic tables and chairs for people to sit on they now need a washroom or at least a port-a-potty. So when do i start at health department cause they drive right by them everyday and missed it.lol

  • ReallySick
    September 21, 2012 - 18:40

    Not American. Not from the Island. Don't know the owner(s). Not part of the lawsuit. Got REALLY sick. Violent vomiting. Excruciating cramps. Lasted over two days. Half of the wedding guests from our wedding were sick. Not my imagination. And not for any greedy purpose. Listen up, people - this resort had some serious problems in August. Washrooms without toilet paper or paper towels, food being handled improperly, young staff who didn't seem to have been trained in basic client service, and the list goes on. Not a true resort, by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps the lawsuit will put these owners on notice and, by extension, owners of other tourist establishments. It's time that PEI started treating tourists in a way that will encourage them to come back. Sure, the owners want to make money from the tourist trade but they had better provide quality service and not cut so many corners that people get sick. What if someone had died from this norovirus outbreak?

    • Pin Point
      September 22, 2012 - 23:01

      The thing is, a guest could have brought it in, passed it on to room cleaning staff who could have passed it on to the next room who passed it on to a waiter who passed it on to the kitchen within a short amount of time. Who do you blame there? When it comes to illnesses like the Novovirus, travelers are most likely to be the carriers. I don't mean to take sides but I'd hate to see someone lose everything they worked for and employees out of their jobs over something that was out of their control.

  • Chester Field
    September 21, 2012 - 17:27

    Well, well, aren't we becoming so Amercianized...you should all be so proud of yourselves, whose to say that one of these losers didn't bring it to the wedding, after all it is a virus, got nothing to do with food, there could be a person that is a carrier, who, at a wedding is hugging and shaking hands, bingo you got it. So you see dollar signs, I just hope that they print all your names , you funeral runners....I will push for all names to be published.....have a good night...

    • Robz
      September 22, 2012 - 23:57

      I cant figure out what your motovation is for this comment, your suggesting people got sick from shaking hands? only at that resort? and you think only Americans sue people? and you think all lawsuits are frivolous and just want money? what does "funeral runners mean"? and who do you think you are to threaten readers about having names published? Mr Chester. Why does everyone who threatens people about naming them think they can somehow intimidate them? Looks like someone gave you a double single when you wanted a single double Mr. Chester

  • Ulfric
    September 21, 2012 - 10:23

    the whole resort could have been infected before a single symptom was felt. greed, nothing more, nothing less

  • deal with it
    September 21, 2012 - 09:44

    People are ridiculous. Probably just holding a grudge against DP. Anyone can get sick at anytime, but it's always better when you have someone to blame right! They did their due diligence and cleaned what was required before they "fed" more guests. Seriously ridiculous....

  • Franklin macdonald
    September 21, 2012 - 09:42

    The only reason they have filed this lawsuit is because Danny Murphy owns the hotel and they figure he can afford it. When Churchill Arms had the food poisoning issue, people got sick but nobody sued. Greed is a terrible thing.

  • Ilokid
    September 21, 2012 - 06:12

    Once again, tort lawyers look to gain from other people's discomfort. In bygone years, the majority of the legal profession were held in high esteem - how times have changed! Given the behaviour of tort lawyers , it is becoming clear that there is now little distinction between them and the 'world's oldest profession'. To date, I have seen nothing from the resort owners as to what they have done, or offered to do, for those who have become ill whilst staying/eating at the resort. Perhaps this silence is to their detriment.

  • THE END
    September 20, 2012 - 22:39

    $5 million clas give there head a shake action lawsuit , good luck so what the got the runs and a bit of puking as DR. PHIL would say GET OVER IT,,,,,, STOP DRIVING UP INSURANCES PREIMUIMS

    • Jenn
      September 21, 2012 - 08:39

      HAHA ^

  • Nor'easter
    September 20, 2012 - 22:08

    I bet they are Americans and the will not stop until the get good compensation because,not enough due dilligence was done to protect the clients of you bussiness. Nice to see that someone whom can afford the bill is getting sued though

    • American
      September 21, 2012 - 10:58

      RE: No'Easter. I am an American and I also became ill at the resort. I AM NOT INVOLVED IN THE LAW SUIT! As far as I understand the people that are involved in this class action lawsuit are mostly, if not, all Canadians.

    • Lionel Hutz
      September 21, 2012 - 11:45

      Wehn you have the law firm advertising as such, like those US guys on TV, what do you expect? People think they will get rich, They don't care what it does to PEI business! Oh and BTW, same law firm as the suit against the ER doctors? Well Well aint that a coincidence, Strike them down, about time these vultures realize PEI is not some backwater ripe for the picking.