Advisen FPN

Advisen Front Page News - Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Hundreds of skiers to sue Austrian resort for exposing them to coronavirus
Hundreds of skiers to sue Austrian resort for exposing them to coronavirus
Publication Date 03/30/2020
Source: Daily Telegraph (UK)

Hundreds of tourists are to take legal action against an Austrian ski resort, accusing it of knowingly exposing them to the coronavirus.

An Austrian consumer affairs watchdog is pursuing a class action lawsuit against the authorities in Ischgl, a ski resort now known to be a major source of the European outbreak.

Some 400 skiers have already signed up to take part, according to the Austrian Consumer Protection Association (VSV).

The association accuses the authorities in Ischgl of covering up the extent of the outbreak in the resort and keeping it open despite the risk to people.

“The global coronavirus pandemic qualifies as force majeure and nobody can be held responsible for any damage suffered. However, keeping ski resorts open, even though authorities knew or should have known of a threat of mass infection, is certainly a reason to consider claims for damages,” the association said in a statement.

It has emerged that Ischgl remained open for a full week after Iceland warned Austria it was seeing multiple cases in skiers returning home from the resort, and for several days after a barman at a popular venue tested positive for the virus in March.

The VSV said it had filed criminal complaints against officials in Ischgl and was seeking testimony to prove “the ski resort's closure was delayed for commercial reasons”.

Separately, Austrian prosecutors last week opened an investigation into allegations that a suspected infection in the resort was covered up and not reported to the authorities as early as February.

The VSV has invited anyone who was at Ischgl and believes they may have a case to sign up using an interactive form on its website.

Those believed to have caught the virus in Ischgl include tourists from the UK, Iceland, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Canada. Of the 400 who have signed up so far, 350 are understood to be German.

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Berkshire Hathaway
St. John's University