It took longer for a marooned cruise ship to be towed to port than for at least some passengers who were aboard the doomed boat to decide to seek legal redress. Two passengers stranded on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph cruise ship without electricity for five days have filed a class action lawsuit against the vessel’s owner, claiming that the company negligently failed to provide a seaworthy ship.
“Carnival knew or should have known that the vessel Triumph was likely to experience mechanical and/or engine issues because of prior similar issues,” passengers Matt and Melissa Crusan allege in a complaint against Carnival, according to Reuters.
The 893-foot long Triumph was towed to port in Mobile, Ala. after a fire caused it to lose power off the coast of Mexico. More than 3,000 passengers on the boat were left with no air conditioning for five days. Power outages in kitchens and bathrooms also meant many were forced to sleep on the boat’s deck and resort to using plastic bags in place of toilets.
The fire resulted from a leaking fuel-oil line, a Coast Guard investigation revealed. Yet, given that the blaze was limited to a small control room, the precise reasons for the continued power outage remains unclear.
Although Carnival offered to reimburse passengers for their fare and travel costs and pay them $500 a piece, at least some are looking for additional remedies. The Crusans’ suit seeks damages for physical and emotional injuries suffered by passengers as well as punitive damages, which are generally intended to punish a wrongdoer. The couple also claims that Carnival chose to tow the ship to Mobile, rather than a closer Mexican port, extending the agony aboard.
The Crusan’s complaint follows an individual suit filed by Cassie Terry, who called the disabled Triumph cruise ship “a floating hell.” Terry’s suit alleges claims for breach of contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraud, ABC News’ Matt Gutman reports.
There are a few major obstacles standing in the way of legal recovery. The cruise tickets – legally enforceable contracts – contain a provision limiting passengers’ ability to bring a class action, requiring them to sue in federal district court in Miami and waiving their right to sue for emotional damages, the Sun-Sentinel’s Robert Nolin points out. Passengers are likely to be required to show that they suffered an actual injury as a result of the ordeal.
Nevertheless, a person injured on-board a cruise ship typically has a number of legal remedies available under federal and state law. The South Florida personal injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine take pride in responsive, diligent and cost-effective representation. The firm’s client-centered approach, combined with vast personal injury experience, will help you to safely and confidently navigate the judicial system’s waters after an accident at sea or on land. If you or a loved one were involved injured in an accident, please take advantage of a free consultation by contacting the firm’s Fort Lauderdale offices at (800) 747-3733, or submitting an on-line “Contact Us” form.
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