Non-suit closes Galveston Co.'s lone Carnival Triumph lawsuit

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Aug 6, 2013

GALVESTON - The first and only lawsuit filed in Galveston County in response to last February's Carnival Triumph disaster has been disposed, according to recent court records.

Collin County resident Kathy Marie Armstrong entered a notice of non-suit without prejudice into her suit targeting Carnival Corp., doing business as Carnival Cruise Lines, on July 25, closing the litigation almost six months after it began.

Armstrong was among 4,000 passengers and crew stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after a fire in the engine room knocked out power on the cruise ship, which departed Galveston on Feb. 7.

In the original petition filed Feb. 20 in Galveston County 56th District Court, Armstrong claimed that she was “forced” to endure deplorable, unsafe and unsanitary conditions, including but not limited to, “sweltering temperatures, lack of power and air conditioning, lack of hot or running water and lack of working toilets.”

Tug boats eventually arrived to help haul the crippled Triumph to a port in Mobile, Ala., and according to the suit, the plaintiff “feared for her life and safety, under constant threat of contracting serious illness by the raw sewage filling the vessel, and suffering actual or some bodily injury” during the slow journey back to the mainland U.S.

The suit further asserted that “the vessel listed sharply several times, causing human waste to spill out of non-functioning toilets, flood across the vessel’s floors and halls and drip down the vessel’s walls.”

Those aboard, including the complainant, were "forced to endure unbearable and horrendous odors on the filthy and disabled vessel, and wade through human feces in order to reach food lines where the wait was counted in hours, only to receive rations of spoiled food."

The ship, which Armstrong labeled “a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish [and] a floating Hell,” disembarked in Mobile the night of Feb. 14.

Meanwhile, Carnival did not provide a formal response to Armstrong's allegations.

An order of non-suit signed by Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is currently pending.

Case No. 13-CV-258

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