David Boyle successfully defends holiday sickness group action after viral outbreak in Rhodes
In the early hours of 12 August 2014, the 5* Lindos Hotel in Rhodes was hit by a sickness bug. As the number of guests reporting violent vomiting and diarrhoea snowballed, the hotel instigated a full POSI (Prevention of Spread Of Infection) response, with an array of measures including extra cleaners being brought in to deep clean rooms and clear the main areas of the hotel, but the matter made national news:
In a group action, 26 Claimants made claims against Jet2 Holidays under the Package Tour Regulations, leading to a 5-day trial, heard remotely by HHJ Gosnell sitting in Leeds. The Claimants called 17 lay witnesses and 2 experts, whilst the Defendants called 3 lay witnesses and 3 experts. The Claimants asserted that the illness was a foodborne bacterial pathogen, or alternatively norovirus spread by food, or alternatively that the hotel had been negligent in its response to a norovirus outbreak, whilst the Defendant averred that it was norovirus and that the hotel had acted reasonably in unexpected circumstances. The parallels with potential Covid-19 claims were obvious.
In a reserved judgment, HHJ Gosnell dismissed the 24 extant claims, finding that the illnesses were indeed caused by norovirus and that the hotel had acted entirely reasonably in all the circumstances.