Cruise Bruise

James Hausman Gold Dealer
Private Investigator Sues Holland America Line

Holland America Line Cruise Ship Amsterdam, Automatic Door Injury - Jury Awards $21.5 Million

 

 

 

James Hausman Gold Dealer
Private Investigator - Sues Holland America Line

Holland America Line Cruise Ship Amsterdam, Automatic Door Injury - Jury Awards $21.5 Million


UPDATE: Hausman Not Credible $21.5 Million Award Reversed

  • Jilted Former Employee Tells Holland America Line Truth After Jury Verdict


  • Gold Dealer Private Investigator Strikes Gold With $21.5m HAL Lawsuit

    James Hausman Walks Into Door

    We found a very odd and shocking out come for Holland America Line after a cruise ship passenger from Springfield, Illinois filed an injury lawsuit in Seattle Washington, striking gold with a jury awarded $21.5 million for an injury incurred from an automatic closing door.

    Cruise Bruise opened an investigation into what circumstances lead to such a high jury award, an injury which was sustained aboard their cruise ship Amsterdam. We secured over 40 documents in the public domain and through the Freedom Of Information Act related to this case and James Hausman.

    We asked ourselves, was this injury so severe, so life changing for this individual and/or was this person so important his injury was worth such an incredible award?

    What we discovered during our investigation paints a picture of the circumstances surrounding this event. The first piece of evidence was the video from the incident. The video shows Hausman not paying attention when he walked through the doorway.

    The screenshot above from the video captures the moment before impact. Hausman is looking at someone on the pool side of the door, perhaps the person who filmed the event, as the automatic door opens. In effect, he walks into the door, which is already open an estimated 8-12 inches, as you can see. He is walking very close to wall/door housing, which is also obvious. This is enough, for us say, in our personal opinion, Hausman appears to be at least partially at fault for not paying attention to his immediate surroundings while walking.

    Related Case Information

    James R Hausman, 56, is a gold dealer and owner of The Gold Center from Springfield Illinois. Hausman embarked on a 270-day world cruise with his wife Carol and their 8-year-old daughter aboard Holland America Line's (HAL) MS Amsterdam, from Seattle, Washington on September 26, 2011. This is an unusual scenario at the start, a 270-day world cruise with an 8-year-old child.

    Saturday November 26, 2011 on Thanksgiving weekend, while the cruise ship was sailing to Honolulu, Hawaii, Hausman was injured aboard the cruise ship sustaining a head injury. The lawsuit says Hausman was walking from his cabin to the swimming pool on deck 8, following a group of crew members through a set of automatic double doors to the pool. The lawsuit claims a set of automatic doors suddenly opened, striking Hausman in the head. The lawsuit further claims,among other things, Hausman suffered "traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic vertigo, seizures, epilepsy, neuropsychological, psychosocial impairments".Those health conditions we do not dispute. What we have investigated is the degree of the injury warranting a mega million jury award and how much Hausman's own negligence may have contributed to the injury.

    At face value, this seems like a very traumatic event for Hausman. Court documents paint the picture for the jury, who seemed oblivious to some important facts. Hausman had been on the cruise ship for two months. Surely, he walked through those doors to the pool numerous times before. Yet, he was walking very close to the wall at the point where the automatic doors move. The doors open and close almost continually when a flow of people are accessing and leaving the pool area. This is a common occurrence, not at all unusual for a cruise ship. In fact, automatic doors are not a new invention. They are found in hospitals, government buildings, malls, department stores, grocery stores and other businesses around the world. and have been for many years.

    Did Hausman's injury warrant a jury award of $21.5 million or is there more to this story than meets the eye? Upon investigation, we discovered that James Hausman is not an ordinary person. He has a long history of lawsuit involvement both personally and through his businesses, mostly as a plaintiff. So much so, we would call him "civil lawsuit plaintiff savvy".

    Perhaps one of the most important aspects of his life was his many years licensed as a private investigator in Illinois. Hausman was first licensed as a private investigator September 22, 1986. Hausman's most recent renewal was on February 26, 2014, midway through the lawsuit, a year and half before the jury award in this case.

    According to a deposition Hausman gave during a lawsuit he filed against Sawyer County, Wisconsin on September 16, 2003, Hausman had an Associates degree in Law Enforcement from Parkland College in Champagne, Illinois and a Bachelors Degree from University of Illinois for Criminal Justice. The degrees dated back to the mid 1970's.

    News archives show during that same period he studied law enforcement, he worked as a communications operator at the Champaign, Illinois Police Department in 1973.

    During the Sawyer County, Wisconsin lawsuit he outlined other lawsuits he had been involved in which include one to collect a debt in Wisconsin and another in Illinois, "lots of them through the business". Those businesses he stated include "Illinois Depository Corporation, we store metals", Illinois Armored Transport, we transport precious metals, stuff like that, and it's also Illinois Armored is which is also a private detective agency.".

    He also owned Illinois Wholesale Jewelry, and The Gold Center (current business during the cruise) in Springfield Illinois, which included lawsuits against people he was involved with through those business entities: James R Hausman v Estate of John C. Hirschfeld Jr, Springfield Rare Coin Galleries (James Hausman) v. Mileham, The Gold Center v DIGITAL BUSINESS SOLUTIONS (03-24-2005) The Gold Center v GOLD DUST COIN COMPANY (01-29-2003), The Gold Center v TED LENKER JEWELRY MANUFAC (08-23-2013), The Gold Center v S & D ELECTRIC SERVICE INC (01-10-1997), Ronald Petcher v Illinois Wholesale Jewelry, Inc. and The Gold Center, Todd Green v James R Hausman - Illinois

    Hausman outlines in the Sawyer County case, another lawsuit he filed in 1985-86 against J. Thomas Johnson, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue at the time, which went to the Illinois Supreme Court for a sales tax issue. After the Sawyer County, Wisconsin lawsuit he went on to sue (after the head injury) the State of Wisconsin for the same issue as the Sawyer County, Wisconsin lawsuit.

    According to the Sawyer County deposition he was also involved the wrong death lawsuit for his brother, who wasn't named in the deposition. The Cruise Bruise investigation discovered the brother was Thomas Hausman, 33, married, from New York who was killed during the crash of Swissair Flight 111 near Peggys Cove, St. Margarets Bay Nova Scotia, Canada on September 2, 1998.

    Thomas Hausman was head of Continental Grain Co.'s Latin American division, one of the 229 who died that day. The crash spurred dozens of lawsuits against Swissair, resulting in 167 families joining to file 42 separate lawsuits, most of them filed in New York. The total initial amount of the claims came to $16 billion. The lawsuits were a huge modern day, eye-opener into the complexities of the Death on the High Seas Act (46 U.S.C. app. SS 761-768). 46 U.S.C is the same U.S. legislation that governs most cases in the cruise industry.


    The Swissair Flight 111 plane crash and loss of his brother had such an impact on James Hausman, that he posted to his 1972 high school reunion page online making reference to the event when speaking about his daughter. "Margaret Bay was named after Saint Margrets Bay, Nova Scotia. Couldn't put the "Saint" in her name, she has to earn that one. Hope when she grows up she will be like her mother and not me. Will be on social security and medicare before she is a teenager. Oh what fun." The meaning of that last sentence is unclear. We mention the crash and lawsuit only because the event and the long drawn out lawsuit clearly had an impact on Hausman's life and added to his knowledge of the civil legal system, extending his experience beyond his private investigator skills.

    In deed, there is nothing typical about this jury award nor about this particular cruise ship passenger. To say Hausman is experienced in civil laws as a plaintiff, would be an understatement. His incredible, if not unfortunate set of experiences suing businesses, spanning at least three states, including the airline as well as local and state governments primed this gold dealer for handling the lawsuit against Holland America Line, with a pure gold jackpot in this outrageous $21.5 million lawsuit. We note, Holland America Line is appealing the award. The story is far from over.

    One of the most surprising facts we uncovered in this case was the fact that James Hausman is a member of the Republican Party. According to Conservapedia, my personal authority on Republican Political Ideology, "Historically, the fundamental philosophy and political ideals of the Republican Party are founded on the idea that societal health is rooted in personal responsibility and actions.". The solid ideology of "personal responsibility and actions", goes against suing people and businesses for personal injury. As the photograph above and resullting lawsuit shows, personal responsibility was not accepted in this case.

    Yet, the jury award was based on 100% responsibility to HAL, none to Hausman. This is not surprising when you consider Seattle, where the trial was held, is a very liberal, Democratic city. A map which outlines the city politically by neighborhood, paints a very blue picture. It might be said that Hausman was a Republican by voice not action. That's not the case. He put his money where where his mouth was in the past. Hausman, his business and his wife collectively donated to election campaigns for numerous local candidates and for George Bush, totally nearly $10,000.

    Of particular note, was Hausman's and his company The Gold Center donations of $2800 to Illinois 18th congressional district Republican Aaron Schock who as of this date is still under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics. According to Wikipedia, "Republican Aaron Schock, resigned on March 31, 2015 following allegations of improper spending of political campaign funds and an impending ethics investigation. scrutiny of congressional expenditure reports showed that Schock had spent over $100,000 in government funds on office decorating and renovations between January 2009 and late 2014, mostly during his first term. Other media reported Schock had charged thousands of dollars for private flights, legal expenses, new cars, tickets to the Super Bowl and Country Music Awards,as well as cufflinks, massage, "gold equipment" and cigars to his government-funded office account."

    In the lawsuit against HAL he listed among other injuries "traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic vertigo, seizures, epilepsy, neuropsychological, psychosocial impairments" as a result of the head injury. While we sympathize with the long term effects of a head injury, there are other facts of concern related to this case.

    James Hausman Walks Into $21.5M Door

    There was the launch of the lawsuit against the State of Wisconsin Natural Resources on 8-07-2014, while he was suffering from those stated injuries ("traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic vertigo, seizures, epilepsy, neuropsychological, psychosocial impairments" ) and involved in the litigation against HAL.

    More concerning was his private investigator business practice with Illinois State. Though Hausman reports to having seizures and other impairments from the injury, he updated his Private Investigators license with a renewal on February 26, 2014, showing his intent to work and provide a competent service to clients ,in spite of "traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic vertigo, seizures, epilepsy, neuropsychological, psychosocial impairments".

    Hausman's Illinois State FIREARM CONTROL CARD was renewed April 30 2013. Illinois State FIREARM CONTROL CARD Requirements: The form asks, "Have you ever been declared by any court incompetent by reason of mental or physical defect or disease?" While Hausman wasn't declared incompetent, the information provided in the court case related to his brain injury, opens the door to public discussion about his ability to handle a firearm competently with the stated "traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic vertigo, seizures, epilepsy, neuropsychological, psychosocial impairments".

    There are other aspects of the case which are cause for pause. With a long history as a private investigator, you would think Hausman might have investigated the potential cruise line and cruise ship for a planned world cruise with his wife and child, in order to consider comfort, security and safety issues. If Hausman had done pre-booking due diligence as an investigator, he would have discovered the lawsuits for those automatic doors, which numbered around a dozen in the prior three years, according to his lawsuit.

    There is also a pause at this set of facts. The Hausmans were booked into one of only two Pinnacle Suites for that seven-month-long world cruise. The Pinnacle Suites are forward on the Deck 7, also known as the Navigation Deck. The HAl description of the suite amenities includes, "Bedroom with 1 king-size bed, oversize whirlpool bath & shower, living room, dining room, dressing room, private verandah, pantry, 1 sofa bed for 2 persons, mini-bar, refrigerator, guest toilet, floor-to-ceiling windows. Approximately 1,181 sq. ft. including verandah."

    You would think after a cruise ship injury warranting a $21.5 million jury award, the Hausman's would have disembarked the cruise in Honolulu, the next port. They didn't. Instead, they cruised for another five months, with "traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic vertigo, seizures, epilepsy, neuropsychological, psychosocial impairments". We considered this fact.

    Head injury post-traumatic vertigo creates numerous problems. First, it creates what Hausman termed "dizziness". The dizziness of post-traumatic vertigo actually involves the symptoms of motion sickness, including a sensation of spinning, rocking or to-and-fro oscillation sensations, floating, or drunkenness. It generally causes severe nausea, which requires medication to ease symptoms. The vertigo symptoms mirror the symptoms described in our Mal de Debarquement Syndrome cases. Second, these vertigo symptoms are aggravated by elevation, walking up road grades, height of tall buildings, sometimes in buildings as low as two stories high, stairs or using elevators.

    The Hausmans were on Deck 7. Deck 8 has the Lido Pool, Lido Bar, Canaletto Restaurant, Lido Restaurant, Sea View Bar, and Sea View Pool. In order to go to the Canaletto Restaurant or Lido Restaurant, Hausman would have to go down stairs or use the elevator, something which is very problematic for a person with "post-traumatic vertigo". In fact, using the elevator to go down to disembark at ports, which the Hausman's did in numerous ports during the next five months, would seem to be a problem. It wasn't.

    Holland America Line had months to prepare for a potential lawsuit, to follow and document Hausman after the head injury, as the Hausmans' went on enjoying their cruise. HAL produced photos of Hausman. See Exhibit list for the list of photos submitted to the court by Holland America Line. Special Notice "D26 - Photo: Hausman Elephant Ride, taken March 2012"

    How to ride an elephant video by Tripp Films - (photo example shown here)

    Trip Films How to Ride an Elephant

    Photos Submitted into evidence By HAL :
    D13 - Photo: James Hausman /2011
    D14 - Photo: James Hausman /11
    D15 - Photo: Hausmans at Recife, Brazil, taken (ERROR /15), /11
    D16 - Photo: Hausmans at Perito Moreno, Taken /2012
    D17 - Photo: Hausman in 02/2012
    D18 - Photo: Hausman in 02/2012
    D19 - Photo: Hausman
    D20 - Photo: Hausman at Tahiti, taken /2012
    D21 - Photo: Dinner in Caims, taken /2012
    D22 - Photo: Hausman-Hosted Dinner in Caims, taken /2012
    D23 - Photo: Hausman-Hosted Dinner in Caims, taken /2012
    D24 - Photo: Hausman-Hosted Dinner in Caims, taken /2012
    D25 - Photo: Hausman-Hosted Dinner in Caims, taken /2012
    D26 - Photo: Hausman Elephant Ride, taken March 2012
    D27 - Photo: Hausman Ashore in Phuket, Thailand taken March 2012
    D28 - Photo: Hausman Ashore in Safaga, Egypt taken April 2012
    D29 - Photo: Hausman Ashore in Safaga, Egypt taken April 2012
    D30 - Photo: Hausman Ashore in Barcelona, Spain taken April 2012
    D31 - Photo: Hausman Ashore in Barcelona, Spain taken April 2012
    D41 - Post-Incident Photos Collection re PL. Hausman and Various Events/Excursions

    Other evidence submitted by HAL included gangway logs from Hausman coming and going from the cruise ship while the cruise ship was in port, per the photo list above. The gangway logs are divided up into those for Hausman, those for his wife and daughter and those for Kallie Knutson. Kallie Knutson was the person who reported the injury according to HAL evidence submitted to the court. She is listed as living in Springfield, Illinois and her address listed is the same as the address listed in company records for the Hausmans at The Gold Center and apparently was a Hausman guest on the world cruise.

    In a summary of a deposition labeled 'Exhibit A' dated Jan 30, 2015, the cruise line discovers some other interesting facts. Of importance to us is the information Hausman offers as how he managed his business back home while spending 8 months at sea. He states "116,000 minutes on the internet for 270 days, comes out to 8.33 hours a day." The math doesn't add up, but the point is this. He clearly states he used the internet for approximately 7-8 hours a day, seven days a week for 270 days, running his business while on the cruise. There were over 150 days days after the head injury within those 270 days. Surely, he didn't use the internet 7-8 hours a day running his business in those more than 150 days, given his traumatic brain injury?

    Hausman says in 'Exhibit A' (Jan 30, 2015) he sold his business, as he could no longer run it any more. A Corporate fling dated /2015 for the year 2015, shows Hausman still connected to the business.

    Also in 'Exhibit A' the cruise line is clearly digging for information as to whether Hausman had been having seizures, how many and how his own actions might have contributed to those seizures, which Hausman estimates at perhaps as many as 100. We wondered about that line of questioning in the deposition Hausman gave.

    According to the National Institute of Heath (NIH), "Several pathogenic mechanisms for the development of epilepsy in alcohol users were identified. Most of the relevant studies found that a high percentage of alcohol users with epilepsy would qualify for the criteria of alcohol dependence. Data were inconclusive regarding a threshold for the effect of alcohol, but most studies suggest that the effect may only hold for heavy drinking (four and more drinks daily)."

    James Hausman Gold Dealer

    The NIH further states, "Available data seem to suggest that the prevalence of epilepsy among alcoholics is at least triple that in the general population, and that alcoholism may be more prevalent among epileptic patients than in the general population. Although there is general agreement that excessive alcohol intake can increase the frequency of seizures in epileptic patients, limited available data suggest that light to moderate social alcohol drinking may not affect seizure frequency."

    So, while epilepsy is common among those who have suffered a head injury, it is also attributed to excessive alcohol consumption or as increasing seizures for those who have epilepsy. This explains the line of questioning by the HAL team. "How many beers a day do you typically drink now?" [since the cruise] Hausman: 4,5, or 6 per day. If it was choir practice night, 14, 16, 18. Question by HAL team," Has the amount that you drink changed since the cruise?". Hausman: "Estimating, I would say that it had gone down, that at least the first part of the cruise I think it was elevated."

    Cruise ship casino dealer (Croupier) Boban Tomasevski has publilcy stated and claims he worked aboard HAL's Amsterdam during this particular cruise, alleging that "After accident he was complaining all the time but that did not stop him from drinking 24 beers a day in his cabin mini bar and continuing to drink and gamble at casino late at night." As of print date, Boban Tomasevski was a Croupier at Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) and worked for Carnival Corportation (parent company of HAL)prior to being hired at NCL. This claim, if true, could be supported by HAL CCTV feed from the casino. Cruise ship casinos are well-known for having a lot of noise and bright lights, especially when you consider the slot machines. This would be a traumatic brain injury nightmare.

    So, consider this. In an interview after the verdict, Hausman's wife Carol said. "He doesn't like to be in public, he doesn't like to be in places with too much stimulation, too much bright lights. He just can't tolerate that stuff in the way that he used to be able to."

    New evidence was presented by Illinois Times newspaper article by Bruce Rushton November 3, 2015 titled: Winner of $21 million verdict speaks out. Hausman is quoted regarding the advice he got from a doctor in San Diego. "The sentence was, 'Don't do a damn thing for six months -- you need to be waited on hand-and-foot,'" Hausman recalls. Yet, the photo evidence HAL acquired shows that didn't happen.

    There was also an issue during the jury deliberations, where the jury asked for clarification on numerous issues. The jury then came back again to request a new form for their verdict and use of a shredder to shred the verdict form previously filled out.

    All this comprises the anatomy of a $21.5 million award for a "mild head injury" on a cruise, which took place according to the images above. Did Hausman deserve a jury award of $21.5 million? Not in our opinion. To compare this injury to another , there was the much more 'just' verdict in the case of a person injured in an automatic door who was an elderly woman who broke her hip. She had to be put in a nursing home for the rest of her life. She had been caring for her disabled daughter at the time, displacing both women. She was awarded $7 million.

    In conclusion, you need to consider the following facts. I can say without a doubt, in the past ten years of investigating incidents at sea, I have never once seen a case which involved an injury serious enough to deserve millions in a lawsuit award, where the passenger stayed on the cruise ship after the injury beyond the time it takes the ship to get the passenger back to port. People almost always are medically disembarked by the cruise ship or choose to get back to port as soon as possible in order to attain qualified medical treatment for their injuries. Hausman elected to stay aboard Amsterdam, more than 150 days after the injury, through the rest of Thanksgiving weekend celebrations, as well as shipboard celebrations for Christmas, New Year's Eve, New Years Day, Valentines Day and Easter instead of going home to manage and treat his $21.5 million traumatic brain injury.

    READ THE UPDATE:

  • Jilted Former Employee Tells Holland America Line Truth After Jury Verdict

  • Cruise Bruise Investigates: Article Resources (pdf files):
    James Hausman Wife Carol King 5 Interview
    James Hausman v Holland America Line - Complaint
    James Hausman v Holland America Line - Complaint Amended
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Answer
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Exhibit A
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Exhibits List
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Motion For Leave
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Motion To Compel Discovery
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Order Partial Summary Judgement June 3 2015
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Protective Order
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Jury Instruction Objection
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Jury Questions
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Jury Questions 2
    James Hausman v Holland America Line Verdict

    James Hausman Private Detective License
    James R Hausman - Firearm Control Card Renewed April 30 2013
    The Gold Center Inc - Corporation
    Carol Hausman King 5 Interview After Verdict
    Boban Tomasevski Amsterdam Casino Croupier (currently NCL Croupier) Public Statement
    James Hausman vs. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 8-07-2014
    James Hausman v Sawyer County Wisconsin
    Charles Robbins Realtor v James R Hausman
    Thomas Hausman Death Swissair 111
    James Hausman Unity High School Reunion
    Springfield Rare Coin Galleries (James Hausman) v. Mileham
    Springfield Rare Coin Galleries Corp Document
    James R Hausman v Estate of John C. Hirschfeld Jr
    Ronald Petcher v Illinois Wholesale Jewelry, Inc. and The Gold Center
    The Gold Center v Ted Lenker Jewelry Manufacture (08-23-2013)
    James Hausman el at v CIB Marine Bancshares - 2005
    The Gold Center v Digital Business Solutions (03-24-2005)
    The Gold Center v Gold Dust Coin Company (01-29-2003)
    The Gold Center v S & D Electrical Service (01-10-1997)
    James Hausman 1973 Employment (People v Hahn)
    Todd Green v James R Hausman - Illinois
    James R Hausman Campaign Contributions

    HAL Helpful Links
  • HAL Schedules
  • Track HAL Ships
  • HAL Consumer Ratings

  • Other Article Resources
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Schock
    www.conservapedia.com/Republican_Party
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3891322

    Photo Credits:
    Seattle Washington TV King5
    Tripfilms: How to ride an elephant
    The State Journal Register

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