Stranded cruise ship’s passengers need major injury, loss to sue, lawyers say
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013
After four days on a crippled cruise ship with overflowing toilets, stifling heat and hours-long waits for food, at least one passenger from the Carnival Triumph is seeking legal revenge.
But lawyers familiar with cruise ship lawsuits suggest angry passengers should think twice before rushing to the courts. Unless passengers suffered major injuries or other losses due to negligence by the cruise operator, they would be better off accepting compensation from Carnival Corp., they said.
The Carnival Triumph was towed into port in Mobile, Ala., late Thursday, giving disembarking passengers an opportunity to speak out about their ordeal.
Within hours, Cassie Terry of Brazoria County, Texas, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Miami describing the ship as “a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell” and seeking damages from Carnival Corp.
As the ship listed as it was being towed, Terry was in constant fear of contracting serious illness from raw sewage spilling from non-functioning toilets. She had to wade through human feces to reach food lines that were hours long, only to receive spoiled rations, according to the lawsuit.
But Terry's account and those of other passengers do not describe the type of injuries or harm that could lead to a successful lawsuit, according to attorneys who specialize in suing cruise companies.
Conditions might have been disgusting, “but get over it,” said Miriam Lebental, an attorney from San Pedro, Calif., who specializes in cruise ship injuries.
Like other attorneys who pursue cruise companies, Lebental said she would not be interested in taking a case unless it involved a major injury and negligence, such as a passenger breaking their neck during a fall down an unlit stairwell.
There have been no such reports from the Triumph.
Terry declined to comment. Her attorney, Brenton Allison of Gilman & Allison in Pearland, Texas, said he understood that other attorneys were skeptical about taking cases from passengers, but his client was nauseated and running a fever.
“I don't know what may manifest from her exposure to those conditions,” he said, adding that Terry would decline the compensation offered.
Carnival has offered passengers $500, reimbursed their transportation and many onboard costs and given them a credit toward a future cruise equal to the amount they paid for the Triumph vacation.
Jim Walker, a premier lawyer for cruise passengers, said passengers would be wise to take the money.
- Fire chief says search almost complete in Oklahoma
- Unplanned holiday comes courtesy of sequester cuts
- Massive tornado roars through Oklahoma City suburb
- Powerball officials: 80 percent of number combinations picked
- Summer travel could inch upward
- Drones policy remains enigma
- Pennsylvania trooper injured in North Carolina accident
- FBI cast reporter as criminal in probe of North Korea leak
- Anti-war activist heckles Obama over Gitmo
- Broadwell says she has moved on from scandal
- N.J. operates top-shelf liquor patrols to snare restaurants who swap brands
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.