Carnival Triumph Civil Lawsuits Go To Trial In Miami

Lawsuits filed by maritime attorneys have recently gone to trial against Carnival Cruise Lines and the Carnival Triumph cruise ship because of a four-day cruise that turned into a nightmare for more than 3,100 passengers and 1,100 crew members. The cruise ship departed from Galveston, Texas, February 7, 2013, with a destination of Mexico, and passengers expected to arrive back in Galveston four days later. However, a fire in the engine room crippled the ship’s main source of power, leaving the vessel drifting in the Gulf of Mexico without working plumbing or water systems. The fire broke out early in the morning of February 10 when leaking oil contacted a hot surface and ignited while the ship was cruising about 150 miles from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The disabled Triumph drifted to the north, and tugboats finally pulled the ship to a Mobile, Alabama, harbor late on February 14, 2013. However, many passengers were unable to disembark from the vessel until the next day. A Coast Guard investigation is ongoing to determine the reason for the ship’s lengthy incapacity. The first civil lawsuit, filed February 15, 2013, went to trial beginning February 12, 2014, in the Miami, Florida, US District Court. The complaint stated that passengers endured oppressive heat, an absence of running water and an absence of working toilets while the ship remained powerless. The tow back to the US was horrifying and excruciating as the vessel listed a few times and caused non-working toilets to spill human waste, which flooded the floors and dripped down the walls of the ship. The complaint also stated that the plaintiffs encountered horrible odors and had to make their way through human feces on the floors to reach the lines of people waiting for food. Hours later, the passengers received rations of food that had spoiled. Fraud and breach of maritime contract are the accusations against Carnival in the class-action suit, which states that passengers “were injured as a result of the unseaworthy, unsafe, unsanitary and generally despicable conditions of the vessel.” The plaintiffs expect to receive undetermined actual damages as well as exemplary damages and court costs after the judge makes his decision. Carnival answered the complaint with responses that included the statement, “The plaintiffs’ injuries and damages, if any, were caused solely by an Act of God or perils of the sea for which defendant cannot be held liable.” Another class-action lawsuit filed against Carnival alleged that the ship’s conditions created a serious risk of illness, disease or injury. The suit also alleged that Carnival was aware or should have been aware that the ship was prone to encountering engine or mechanical problems because of previous related issues. On a voyage in mid-January, 2013, the Triumph had propulsion problems, and an incident that occurred several weeks later caused damage to the generators and propulsion system of the ship. However, in spite of the potential dangers, Carnival chose to allow the ship to embark on the February cruise to Mexico. The Jones Act helps protect the rights of people who have suffered injuries at sea, and a Jones Act lawyer can provide valuable assistance for anyone who considers filing a lawsuit against a cruise line. It is important to contact a Jones Act lawyer as soon as possible after the event because most cruise lines impose limitations on when and where people can sue for injuries at sea. Some cruise lines attempt to negotiate settlements with injured passengers, which may delay lawsuits past the time limitations for filing them. Maritime attorneys with experience in bringing lawsuits against cruise lines can help injured parties receive the full compensation to which they are entitled after incurring injuries at sea.