Cruise Passenger Awarded $21 Million in Sliding Door Mishap

A U.S. District Court jury in Seattle awarded $21.5 million in damages to an Illinois man who suffered a brain injury after being struck in the head by a glass sliding door on the M/S AMSTERDAM.  The plaintiff was traveling with his wife and daughter on the first leg of their around-the-world cruise.  Plaintiff initially reported a facial contusion and chipped tooth.  He was later diagnosed with a concussion and post-concussion syndrome.  Plaintiff asserted that since the injury he began suffering from vertigo and seizures.  Plaintiff argued that there have been dozens of other injuries related to sliding doors in the Holland America fleet due to faulty sensor settings that allowed the doors to open and close faster than normal.  United States District Judge Barbara Rothstein allowed the jury to review evidence of 16 other incidents causing injury, including broken hips and back injuries, to passengers and crew members.  Plaintiff’s experts testified that the sensors were adjusted to open at the last moment and close after half a second of inactivity, which was against the manufacturer’s recommendation.  Plaintiff averred that this was done in order to save on air-conditioning.  Accordingly, the jury awarded plaintiff $5 million in compensatory damages and $16.5 million in punitive damages.

Hausman v. Holland America Line-USA, et al