Harris Co. couple brings federal lawsuit against Carnival over Triumph disaster

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Oct 21, 2013

GALVESTON - Harris County residents Luke Cash and Ami Gallagher brought a lawsuit against Carnival Corp. in response to the disaster which befell the Triumph earlier this year.

Recent court documents filed Oct. 17 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas claim Cash and Gallagher were among 4,000 passengers and crew stranded in the Gulf of Mexico from Feb. 10 to 14 after a fire in the engine room knocked out power on the cruise ship.

The suit is the first pertaining to the Triumph debacle to be filed in Galveston federal court.

A Collin County woman sued Carnival in Galveston County District Court about a week following the incident, but non-suited the defendant over the summer.

Cash and Gallagher boarded the Triumph in Galveston on Feb. 7 for what was supposed to be their wedding and subsequent celebration in Mexico and aboard the vessel.

Joining them were "much of" their wedding party and relatives, the suit states.

According to the suit, the Triumph was located some 150 miles off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Feb. 10 when the aforementioned fire left the ship adrift without its primary power source.

As alleged in many lawsuits filed against Carnival throughout the Gulf Coast in response to the subject event, the couple asserts that they "were 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."

"The plaintiffs feared for their lives and the lives of their friends and family members on board as they were under constant threat of contracting serious illness by the raw sewage filling the vessel," the suit says.

Tug boats eventually arrived to help haul the crippled Triumph to a port in Mobile, Ala., it further explains, and the towing process caused "human waste to spill out of non-functioning toilets, flood across the vessel's floors and halls, and drip down the vessel's walls."

Cash and Gallagher add that they "were forced to endure intolerable odors and wade through human feces in order to reach food lines where the wait lasted hours, only to receive rations of spoiled food."

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney John Bruster Loyd of Jones, Gillaspia & Loyd, L.L.P. in Houston is representing the claimants.

Case No. 3:13-CV-374

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