Lawsuit alleges negligence in resort norovirus outbreak

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.

Ryan Ross rross@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on September 20, 2012
Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre
Photo special to The Guardian

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

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