230 sick; lawsuit alleges negligence in PEI resort norovirus outbreak

The Guardian reports that 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.

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.

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.

60 sick; norovirus suspected at PEI resort

An outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness at the Stanhope Beach Resort and Conference Centre last weekend is being investigated by the Department of Health, according to P.E.I.’s chief health officer.

Dr. Heather Morrison told CBC News about 60 people had symptoms of nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or diarrhea after attending events at the resort. Morrison says it could possibly be a norovirus-like illness.

“No cause has been identified to date. Food histories have not identified a likely food source of the illness. And no bacterial cause of the illness has been identified to date,” she said.

The health department says there were three different weddings at the resort on the weekend.

Audrey Firth, the general manager of the resort, says the facility has always maintained a high degree of cleanliness in all parts of the property and has re-doubled its efforts to ensure this doesn’t happen again.