Carnival Cruise Ship Hit With First Lawsuit Over 'Floating Hell'
The crippled cruise ship arrived in Mobile, Ala., late Thursday night.
Feb. 15, 2013 — -- The first lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines has been filed and it is expected to be the beginning of a wave of lawsuits against the ship's owners.
Cassie Terry, 25, of Brazoria County, Texas, filed a lawsuit today in Miami federal court, calling the disabled Triumph cruise ship "a floating hell."
"Plaintiff was 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," according to the lawsuit, obtained by ABCNews.com. "Plaintiff was forced to subsist for days in a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell."
The filing also said that during the "horrifying and excruciating tow back to the United States," the ship tilted 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."
Terry's attorney Brent Allison told ABCNews.com that Terry knew she wanted to sue before she even got off the boat. When she was able to reach her husband, she told her husband and he contacted the attorneys.
Allison said Terry is thankful to be home with her husband, but is not feeling well and is going to a doctor.
"She's nauseated and actually has a fever," Allison said.
Terry is suing for breach of maritime contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraud as a result of the "unseaworthy, unsafe, unsanitary, and generally despicable conditions" on the crippled cruise ship.
"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," the lawsuit says.
Despite having their feet back on solid ground and making their way home, many passengers from the cruise ship are still fuming over their five days of squalor on the stricken ship and the cruise ship company is likely to be hit with a wave of lawsuits.
"I think people are going to file suits and rightly so," maritime trial attorney John Hickey told ABCNews.com. "I think, frankly, that the conduct of Carnival has been outrageous from the get-go."
Hickey, a Miami-based attorney, said his firm has already received "quite a few" inquiries from passengers who just got off the ship early this morning.
"What you have here is a) negligence on the part of Carnival and b) you have them, the passengers, being exposed to the risk of actual physical injury," Hickey said.
The attorney said that whether passengers can recover monetary compensation will depend on maritime law and the 15-pages of legal "gobbledygook," as Hickey described it, that passengers signed before boarding, but "nobody really agrees to."
One of the ticket conditions is that class action lawsuits are not allowed, but Hickey said there is a possibility that could be voided when all the conditions of the situation are taken into account.
One of the passengers already thinking about legal action is Tammy Hilley, a mother of two, who was on a girl's getaway with her two friends when a fire in the ship's engine room disabled the vessel's propulsion system and knocked out most of its power.
"I think that's a direction that our families will talk about, consider and see what's right for us," Hilley told "Good Morning America" when asked if she would be seeking legal action.
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