Florida sued the US Centers for Disease Control for not allowing cruises to sail a few months back. Unfortunately, the CDC and Florida failed to settle during mediation.
The court-appointed mediator, US Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli, wrote that “Despite the party’s good faith and concerted efforts, the settlement discussions have concluded and the parties have reached an impasse”. Since last May, the legal team from both CDC and Florida met with Porcelli five times.
US District Judge Steven Merryday granted the request from CDC’s attorneys to have more time to respond to Florida’s complaint. According to their motion, they will “need a short extension of time in order to complete the response, particularly in light of the press of other business”. Federal attorneys got the extension they wanted as the lawsuit is expected to extend at least until July.
Putting The Return of Cruises in Alaska in Jeopardy?
According to the CDC, this lawsuit puts the cruising industry operating in Alaska in jeopardy. Florida sued the CDC because of the conditional sailing order that has initially stopped cruises from operating. If Florida wins and successfully proved that the conditional sailing order illegal, it could “end cruising in Alaska for the season” according to CDC’s lawyers. That’s because the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act (ATRA) references the conditional sailing order by the CDC.
However, the ATRA could work in favor of the CDC and imperil Florida’s lawsuit against the federal government. According to federal attorneys, the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act is a de facto approval of the conditional sailing order.
As the lawsuit drags on, this could mean good news for the cruise industry. Any decision made is expected to be appealed which means that it is going to lapse the summer season. The summer is among the busiest times for the cruise industry. More than 10 ships have already received approval from the CDC to have their simulated voyages.