That money is for medical bills and mental anguish, reports Reuters. An engine fire left the Triumph adrift at sea for days in February 2013, with many passengers complaining of overflowing, non-working toilets and other deplorable conditions.
If this group of passengers succeeds, it could change how cruise lines protect themselves in the future from other lawsuits, maritime legal experts told Reuters. There’s also another lawsuit pending with triple the number of plaintiffs that could do some damage as well.
Most cruise lines include ticketing contracts that bar passengers from bringing legal action. But nevertheless, Carnival was unsuccessful in trying to get these lawsuits dismissed based on those ticketing contracts.
A federal judge in South Florida — where Carnival’s ticketing contract requires litigation to take place, due to that being its home state — finished hearing three weeks of testimony from passengers recently and should issue a judgment in the next two months.
It’s the first Poop Cruise lawsuit to go to trial, and has the potential to change cruise tickets forever if the judge finds that the terms of conditions on those tickets, or “contracts of adhesion,” are overreaching.
Carnival said in a statement that it understands that guests experienced “uncomfortable conditions,” but ultimately everyone got home safely and received a full refund, along with a voucher for a free cruise and $500. So that should be enough, in Carnival’s opinion.
“This is an opportunistic lawsuit brought by plaintiff’s counsel and plaintiffs who seek to make a money grab,” a company spokeswoman said.
The judge has already ruled that the engine catching fire is proof of negligence on the part of Carnival, a major blow to Carnival according to one maritime lawyer.
“It would seem rather obvious that ships shouldn’t just catch fire and then have fire suppression systems that don’t work,” he said.