Dateline… Mobile Alabama: While 4000 weary and filthy passengers scrambled to flee stricken Carnival cruise ship “Triumph,” anxious relatives at the dock jostled with thousands of lawyers who had traveled from across the United States to be there to welcome the unfortunate vacationers.
Candi Bowlton, a grandmother who was there to find her daughter and grandchildren, described the attorneys as “a pack of jackals with briefcases fighting over a fresh kill.” She sobbed, “One of then hit me on the neck with a beautiful alligator attaché case while another one cut me off at the back of the knees. I went down instantly, I thought I was going to be devoured then and there, but they didn’t want me, they just kept charging the people trying to get off the ship.”
For the attorneys, many of whom were veterans of the “Costa Concordia” disaster, there was blood in the water. “Life is pretty sweet on Isola del Giglio, damn I love Italian food, this one’s going to be rough,” lamented one attorney who wouldn’t give his name.
While dozens of lawyers in three piece-suites circled the vessel on jet skis, others parachuted onto the deck of the disabled luxury liner; all hoping to get first crack at the most disgruntled vacationers.
We found W. T. Heck, a lawyer from Aspen, Colorado smoking a cigar and relaxing on a bench on the dock. “I already bagged fourteen, I’m taking a little break before I get back in there.” He continued, “as the disaster began to unfold word spread like wildfire in the legal community.” Heck described a mad scramble of lawyers scooping up airline tickets and banding together to charter busses to get the to the port in Mobile.
“We put thirty lawyers on a bus designed to carry sixty human beings, it was pretty tight. Once the bus was finally loaded, we began a nightmarish two-day trip to Alabama. It was like being in hell. With only three meal stops per day, hunger was a real problem and some of those restaurants were pretty bad. Then there was the time we ran out of champagne….”