NurseCon at Sea, LLC and Royal Caribbean International have attempted to use the COVID-19 pandemic as “a profiteering vessel” to steal money from nurses, according to a proposed class action lawsuit.
The case claims NurseCon and Royal Caribbean, who respectively manage and host a cruise marketed as a nursing conference by the social media personality and “self-proclaimed comedian” known as “Nurse Blake,” have refused to offer refunds to passengers after canceling the 2020 event in response to the coronavirus outbreak. In March 2020, Nurse Blake allegedly announced that passengers would not be provided with refunds for their $2,578 tickets and instead offered credit for a future NurseCon at Sea event between 2021 and 2023.
“In other words,” the complaint states, “despite the convention and cruise being canceled due to COVID-19, the nurses will not be getting their money back.”
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants’ cancellation policy will allow them to unlawfully profit off nurses’ money for the next one to three years while forcing proposed class members to wait for a yet-unknown future convention on a different date and to a different destination than the previously scheduled trip.
According to the case, the defendants’ conduct is especially egregious given the nursing industry is currently on the front lines of the public health crisis sparked by COVID-19. The plaintiff argues that while canceling the cruise was a responsible decision to make, it is “unfair and unlawful” of the defendants to retain “unearned fees and costs.”
“There is no reason for Plaintiff and members of the class to have their money withheld,” the complaint alleges, adding that such an action causes particular harm “in the face of the dangers, risks, and financial uncertainty associated with the pandemic.”
The lawsuit claims the defendants are essentially passing on the losses from the canceled cruise to consumers and their families, taking “the opposite approach” as other entities who have issued refunds after canceling scheduled events.
“No matter the excuse, Defendants’ actions are unlawful and unfair, and equity demands disgorgement of the fees and monies paid,” the lawsuit alleges.
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