Holland America Line is asking for a dismissal of a $21.5 million dollar settlement awarded to a passenger in October of 2015. The passenger sued the cruise line in retribution for a purported injury sustained in a sliding-glass door accident. The cruise line is accusing the passenger of a laundry list of offenses: witness tampering, destroying evidence, and perjury.
During a 2011 eight-month worldwide sailing trip on the cruise line’s M/S Amsterdam, James Hausman of Illinois was walking out to the pool deck when the ship’s automatic doors struck him on the side of the head. Following the incident, a physician diagnosed the successful businessman with a minor brain injury and post-concussive syndrome. Reportedly, Hausman continues to suffer from seizures, fatigue, and bouts of dizziness because of the injury. An eight-person jury came to a unanimous decision after hearing witnesses on both sides during the course of a nine-day trial. Holland America Line was ordered to pay Hausman millions for pain and suffering as well as emotional distress. Over the course of the trial, attorneys for Hausman accused the cruise line of suppressing documents for over 30 cases of automatic glass door incidents occurring on other sailings in the past three years.
New witness testimony from Hausman’s personal assistant has prompted a federal judge to review the case to determine if there are grounds for dismissal. Holland America Line filed hundreds of pages of evidence that they claim demonstrates misconduct on the part of Hausman. The cruise line states Hausman deleted evidentiary emails, lied about his drinking habits, and fabricated details about his sustained injury. In a sworn affidavit, Hausman’s former personal assistant, Amy Mizeur, claimed Hausman asked her to delete emails from his account, told her to lie about the state of his marriage, and admitted to exaggerating his injuries. Mizeur testified Hausman would watch online videos about seizures in order to mimic the symptoms.
In turn, Hausman has called his former personal assistant’s credibility into question. Hausman maintains her accusations are in retribution for firing Mizeur after catching her forging checks. When she was released from her position, Mizeur allegedly tried to extort money from Hausman.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein is presiding over the upcoming hearing and will decide if the verdict should be reversed or if a new trial should be granted.