In what could be a preview of things to come in the travel industry, a New York City school has filed a lawsuit against one of the grandest resorts in Miami Beach, saying the hotel refuses to refund a $2.3 million down payment for a 10-day Passover trip it had to cancel due to the coronavirus.
Almost 1,200 students, parents and staff of New York’s Magen David Yeshivah day school had planned the trip over the Jewish holiday, renting 621 rooms for 10 nights at the fabled Eden Roc Hotel. But New York has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus, and the school informed the resort on March 8 that many of the people who had intended to take the trip had dropped out.
So the school canceled the entire traveling party asking for the $2.3 million deposit back and filing a lawsuit in Miami-Dad Circuit Court, coronavirus/article241632126.html” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>according to the Miami Herald.
The school is seeking the down payment, citing a passage in the contract that provided the trip could be canceled in the event of a “disease outbreak.”
But, as the Herald noted, the Eden Roc is insisting the event be rescheduled or “proceed as scheduled with whomever was foolhardy enough to travel from New York to Miami Beach for the Passover 2020 event,” according to the lawsuit filed by lawyer Daniel Blonsky of the firm Coffey Burlington.
A publicist and a lawyer for the Eden Roc did not return a request for comment from the newspaper.
This could be a precedent-setting lawsuit for the entire travel industry when it comes to cancellations and refunds. The airline industry is currently grappling with its customers and travel agents over refunds on trips ruined by the virus, offering in many cases vouchers for future trips.
One thing that might be in the school’s favor is that the city of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County have ordered the closing of all hotels except for essential guests such as emergency and medical workers, and people unable to return to their homes outside of Florida. In addition, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week ordered a state-wide stay-at-home order.
New York State did the same on March 18.
“It is now illegal for the hotel to be in operation or to host the 2020 Passover event,” the lawsuit said.
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