Meyer v. Carnival: Michael Meyer deposition (injured party)

This review of Michael Meyer’s deposition is part of our much larger coverage of the Michael Meyer v. Carnival Cruise Lines et al. case resulting from a catamaran propeller accident on a cruise ship shore excursion.

Michael Meyer Deposition

Much of our discussion of his deposition is included in our coverage of the accident and in our summary of the legal case.

Most of our coverage of these depositions comes from legal documents in PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). We encourage those who wish to study the case more in depth to establish a PACER account and view the original records. Fees are typically about a dime a page.

How the Cruise and Excursion Were Booked

The Meyer’s were friends with a couple that had taken several cruises. When Michael learned their friends were going on a cruise to St. Lucia, he called a lady that had booked several cruises for these friends in the past and asked her to book he and his wife on the same cruise using his credit card in January 2011. He did that from his home in Arizona. The same lady sent him a list of all the shore excursions at stops along the way and the cost of each one. Michael reports he talked to the same lady about six times by phone prior to leaving on the cruise. He has a computer and access to the Internet but does not feel comfortable using it. During his visits with the booking agent, he and his wife also signed up for four or five excursions their friends were going on and paid for them with his credit card.

Michael says the booking agent told him the excursion tours were ran by Carnival and strictly for Carnival passengers. The friends they were cruising with had previously told them the same thing as well.

Michael received the excursion tickets the morning after they boarded the cruise ship from a cabin attendant. Each of the tickets said Carnival Cruise Line Excursion. In small print, the Catamaran Cruise to the Pitons ticket said, operated by Cox & Company. While Michael did not read it, the back of the ticket contained a boilerplate statement about excursions being operated by independent contractors and Carnival having no liability for any harm, damage or loss attributable to those independent contractors.

Later in court, Michael said he would not have gone on the excursion had he known that.

An announcement was made on the cruise ship that they were getting ready to leave for the day cruise and where to meet on the pier at the end of the runway from the cruise ship.

“Fun Ashore” pamphlets are normally placed in Carnival cabins. Michael did not remember seeing one. It talks about responsibility and says Carnival is not responsible for any losses, injuries, or claims while passengers are off the vessel in ports of call. This includes shore excursions whether the tickets were sold on board the vessel or ashore by 3rd parties.

Later in court, Michael said he would not have gone on the excursion had he known that.

Injured by the Propellers

In Michael Meyer’s deposition, defense attorney, Michael Eriksen, asked him if he thought it would have been safer if he had gone down the ramp at the front of the boat to shore instead of jumping off the rear, especially because he is not a good swimmer. Michael responded, “I don’t think that was the reason. I think the reason I got hurt is because they never turned the propellers off.”

Defense Painted Him as Having Some Challenges

Under questioning from the defense, Michael Meyer came across as somewhat wandering through life. He had been married several times including twice to one of his past wives. He worked a variety of jobs with his last job being a self employed gumball machine route.

He went to college one year. He said he did not swim well.

At one time he worked for a car dealer. They asked him some questions about car contracts and he said the finance guys did them.

They asked him about other tickets that might have had waivers on him he might have seen in the past and he had never paid attention to any of them.

He was repeatedly asked if he had ever closely looked at his cruise or excursion tickets to see the fine print, if he had read all the paperwork with his cruise papers, if he had read a pamphlet in the room about excursion trips, etc. He said he doesn’t read that stuff.

He said he was not comfortable with computers so he setup the cruise ship trip by phone, but later several emails related to the trip were found. He said he typically read his emails then deleted them, but for some reason he had kept the cruise ship emails.

He does not recall seeing several notices encouraging him to purchase trip insurance.

Defense pointed out he had some pre-existing medical challenges (bad back and diabetes).

While the defense painted Michael Meyer as somewhat bumbling a long through life, he has a son that is a lawyer (his son recommended an attorney to him), he had a strong link to a high level executive at Delta airlines, he was in a financial position to take his wife on a cruise, and he has a wife willing to devote much of her time to caring for him since the incident.

Michael’s wife, born in Mexico, was deposed through an interpreter. She speaks English, but was afraid she might be asked some questions with some words she did not understand.

Medical Expenses

Michael Meyer’s bill at Tapion hospital was about $20,000 which he paid by credit card. A friend at Delta Airlines arranged his flight home which cost about $4,000.

He thinks Cox arranged for the van from the Tapion Hospital to the airport. It was a white van with a private driver. (Meyer depo pg.409)

Michael continues to wear support hose on his legs at the request of Wound Care. His out of pocket expenses for supplies have been the support hose, some bandages, and several tubes of Mederma cream to reduce scarring.

Since the accident, he has been forwarding all his medical bills to his attorney. He was not aware if they were being paid or not. He has been on medicare since turning 65.

Michael Meyer’s Interactions With the Other Parties

A woman from Cox rode in the ambulance with him from the site.

A well dressed Africa American woman from Cox and her assistant visited him once in the private hospital in St. Lucie. She told him that if he had stayed in the general hospital, they would have picked up his expenses. (Meyer depo pg.398).

In his deposition, Michael says he thinks she offered him something like $16,000 to sign waiver to say he was going to be okay. (Meyer depo pg.402).

Michael Meyer told the Cox lady he had an attorney (his son had recommended one), she got a headache, said I don’t have anything else to say, and left.

Two people from Carnival came to visit him in the hospital in St. Lucia. They took his wife shopping since their luggage had been sent to their home from the cruise ship by Fedex.

Geography of the Accident

We prepared a Google Map of the sites relevant to the Michael Meyer incident.

View Michael Meyer Propeller Accident: St Lucia in a larger map

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