Employed by COAC as a lifeguard and was on duty at the time
of the drowning. Merin left his post to get a soda, and walked right past
where little Yoni was drowning, yet he did nothing.
Nearly four years after Yoni's death, four years of denying any
responsibility by the defendants, on the first day of trial March 24,
2009, for the first time this defendant admitted (through his attorney)
that he was negligent and the cause of Yoni Gottesman's death.
depositions he denied being negligent or any responsibility in Yoni's
David Merin was negligent and the cause of Yoni Gottesman's death.
Testimony Excerpt - David Merin 12/23/2008
Q. Okay. Again, on recognition, "The lifeguard
wasn't vigilant in supervision."
Were you vigilant?
A. I believe I was, when I was at the pool.
Q. Well, if you were vigilant, wouldn't you have
seen the child?
THE WITNESS: I would have hoped that I would
have, but -- or I hoped I would have, but obviously, I
did not. And that's --
Q. BY MR. CAPPELLO: You weren't as vigilant as
you could have been. Right?
A. I'm not sure. I think --
Q. Well --
A. -- I was as vigilant as --
Q. Was it the other lifeguard's fault that failed
to save this child?
A. You know, I do not have any reason to believe
that Michael did anything wrong that caused the -- you
know, in responding to this.
It just seems --
Q. Nobody did --
A. -- like a terrible accident, as I recall.
Q. Nobody did anything wrong? Is that what you're
A. That's my recollection of the video. That's
correct. Um, it's just a terrible tragedy.
Q. Well, let me see if I understand it, Mr. Merin.
Is it, and was it your mindset after seeing the video
and understanding the event, that you could actually be
a lifeguard at a pool where a little child drowns and
dies and it's nobody's fault? Is that what you're
A. I'm not sure. I -- it -- I'm not sure what
anyone could have done.
Obviously, I wish we had done -- you know,
we -- something else had -- something had been
different, and we were able to save him.
And I understand that it's tough to see this.
I don't understand -- I don't know. I don't see what
anyone did -- in specific what anyone did incorrectly.
Q. Well, let's start off with the fact that your
job is to be looking at the pool. Right?
A. Mm-hm. That's correct.
Did you have -- Were you on any medicine that
A. Um, I may have been.
Q. What medicine was that?
A. Um, I may have been on Ritalin.
Q. Okay. And why were you taking Ritalin?
A. For attention deficit disorder.
Q. And how long had you been taking Ritalin?
A. Since high school.
Q. And did you tell Cathedral Oaks Club that you
were on Ritalin?
A. I do not believe so.
Q. Okay. But it's possible that you didn't take
it that day.
Q. And if you didn't take it that day, it affects