Articles Posted in Hotel Liability

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Services were held Saturday for three of the five teens killed two weeks ago in a Hialeah, Florida hotel room, when deadly carbon monoxide fumes seeped into their room. The Miami Herald reports that the five friends were celebrating a birthday at the Hotel Presidente, when they left their borrowed car running in the attached garage.

The Associated Press reported that friends of the deceased told police the car was having engine trouble so they likely left it running to avoid it not starting again. The door leading to the garage was slightly ajar, allowing the fumes to enter the hotel room, and the teens were found by a hotel maid the next day. She reported a strong smell of gasoline and saw that they were sprawled out on the floor, looking unconscious and not responding to her when she shouted ‘hello’.

In 2006, Florida law was changed to require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in new buildings. The Hotel Presidente (and other such older buildings) is exempt unless it undergoes major renovations. It is yet unclear whether a separate Hialeah ordinance was violated, which requires a higher level of carbon monoxide detection in older buildings.

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broken Christmas tree ornament.jpgTragedy struck at a Hyatt Regency hotel in San Francisco, amidst a holiday spirit and festive photographs. A mother, along with her daughter and nanny, were taking pictures of the holiday decorations at the hotel when her 18-month old son apparently fell into a pool of water in a fountain, unnoticed, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

The hotel’s Christmas tree is positioned near the multi-level fountain, which had about 2.5 feet of water in its lower trough where the child was found, lifeless. Emergency crews resuscitated him but he later died from the injuries sustained in the accident, reports the Examiner. The family was not staying at the hotel, but passing through to admire the holiday decorations, while escaping the rain outside.

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Resort Torts logo FINAL.jpgA man has accepted an $8.5 million settlement for severe injuries resulting from falling down a hotel elevator shaft. According to a press release, Gary Meade was in the elevator of New York’s On The Ave hotel when it stopped between the 2nd and 3rd floors. Hotel staff pried open the doors and encouraged the people inside to jump out. When jumping, Meade slipped and fell down the shaft, landing on a steel buffer in the elevator pit, causing a gash in his groin area and injuries to his venous and lymphatic system. He underwent five surgeries and 12 hospitalizations to manage the injuries and subsequent infections.

Meade sued the hotel owner, citing negligence on the part of the hotel and its employees, who encouraged him to jump rather than calling emergency services to perform the evacuation, for failing to provide him with a ladder, and failing to secure the shaftway. Meade now suffers from permanent disfigurement and scarring, constant pain, psychological injury including post traumatic stress disorder, numbness in his left leg and foot and must elevate his left leg at all times to manage the resulting Lymphedema.

ResortTorts are cases of civil liability for negligent or criminal acts that arise out of a resort, vacation or recreational setting. Hazards can include premises liability such as trip and falls, violent crime/negligent security, defective premises design or layout, defective products, transportation negligence (plane crashes, car crashes, boating mishaps), medical malpractice provided by an innkeeper or cruise ship and many other types of dangers.

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A homicide investigation is underway in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where five Canadians and seven Mexicans were killed by an explosion at the Grand Riviera Princess Hotel resort. Eighteen additional people suffered injuries.

Investigators are pursuing a theory that methane gas had accumulated from rotting material in waste water and the gas ignited, causing the explosion, the Vancouver Sun reports. Mexican authorities ruled out the possibility of an attack. Quintana Roo state attorney Francisco Alor said that homicide investigations are routine in Mexico whenever there are unexplained deaths. Complaints have been filed with Mexican authorities by three Canadian families.

Resort Torts are cases of civil liability for negligent or criminal acts that arise out of a resort, vacation or recreational setting. These can involve aspects of hotel and motel safety, cruise ship litigation, pleasure boating and jet ski incidents, amusement, aquatic, diving and swimming incidents, foreign travel and medical emergencies, gaming and casinos, aviation (commercial and general), rental car liability, moped, bicycle and motorcycle safety, buses and tour guides, travel industry liability for crime victims, and medical care provided to vacationers. Resort Torts can encompass a vast array of types of cases but they all have one thing in common: tourists, business travelers and locals alike are all exposed to risk while traveling, vacationing or engaging in resort or pleasure activities.

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The Deauville Beach Resort on Miami Beach has closed several areas of the hotel due to code violations including problems with a fire alarm system and the capacity of exit areas in the hotel’s ballrooms and theater. While The Miami Herald reported a couple’s misfortune of sorting out the relocation of their wedding ceremony to the hotel’s basement sandwich shop, the Deauville is rightfully taking steps to protect itself against potential liability issues.

The code and life-safety issues that threaten shutting down the historic hotel, where, in 1964 The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, raise the liability flag. As a general rule, property owners have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition to protect guests from dangers of which the owner is aware, should be aware, or might reasonably foresee. Some premises security cases turn on the issue of foreseeability. Should the hotel, resort or other establishment have been able to foresee the possibility of a violent crime or other incident?

The first duty of a property owner is to eliminate or guard against harm. If that is not possible, the owner has a duty to warn guests of hidden dangers. An effective warning is one which is clear and gives the consequences for failure to follow the warning. By closing off areas of foreseeable risk and possible danger, the hotel is appropriately taking measures to help guard against liability issues.

Following are several examples of relevant case law:
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A California man rented snorkeling equipment from the Breakers resort in Palm Beach where he was attending a conference, and died while snorkeling in eight feet of water. Neither of his snorkeling companions noticed him in distress in the water but a hotel guest had seen him in the surf and alerted hotel security about a potential problem. The man had been snorkeling the previous day.

The Palm Beach Daily News reported that a Breakers lifeguard and a hotel vendor pulled the man from the water at the north end of the resort after the vendor saw him drifting away from the reef and his snorkeling companions. After an unsuccessful resuscitation attempt by the lifeguard, Palm Beach Fire-Rescue arrived, administered CPR, and took the man to a Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Resort torts are instances of civil liability for negligent or intentional acts that arise out of a resort, vacation or recreational setting. These can involve aspects of hotel and motel safety, cruise ship litigation, pleasure boating and jet ski incidents, amusement and theme park liability, aquatic, diving and swimming incidents, foreign travel and medical emergencies, gaming and casinos, aviation (commercial and general), rental car liability, moped, bicycle and motorcycle safety, buses and tour guides, travel industry liability for crime victims, and medical care provided to vacationers. Resort torts can encompass a vast array of types of cases but they have one thing in common: tourists, business travelers and locals alike are all exposed to risk while traveling, vacationing or engaging in resort or pleasure activities.

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A marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor reports in The Huffington Post that beach goers in four Gulf states are suffering skin rashes, blisters, welts, sore throats, ear bleeds and bronchitis after being in the ocean. The culprit? Dispersed oil – tiny bubbles of oil encased in chemical dispersants in the water column – and they’re invisible. Overexposure to crude oil through inhalation and skin contact are known to create these symptoms.

Worse — not only are small children at risk of breathing a higher dose of contaminants per body weight than adults, but children, pregnant women, people with compromised or stressed immune systems like cancer survivors and asthma sufferers, and African Americans are more at risk from oil and chemical exposure – the latter because they are prone to sickle cell anemia, reports the toxicologist.

Long-term effects of exposure to the chemical dispersants being used on the BP oil spill are yet to be seen but, as reported in The Tampa Tribune, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention assert that long-term exposure can cause central nervous system problems or damage to the kidneys or liver.

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Cruise ship passageway.jpgCruise lines must now report to the FBI all crimes aboard cruise ships AND must take actions to protect the crime victims. The new legislation requiring these measures was passed in Congress last month. Once it is signed by President Obama, it will enforce security measures requiring ships to install peep holes on cabin doors and make further changes affecting rail heights, warning devices, and other security measures. Cruise lines will also be required to provide shipboard medical care for victims of sexual assault and medical staff that knows how to collect forensic evidence, reports USA Today.

Inadequate premises security is too often the culprit in personal injury cases that occur in tourist destinations, where vacationers naturally let their guard down to relax and ‘get away from it all.’ Inadequate security and premises liability lawsuits usually involve criminal assaults and violent crime due to negligent security, insufficient lighting, inadequate security equipment, inadequate security personnel, or other causes. The law governing these cases is derived from the general principle that those who own or possess property have a duty to protect users from accidental, negligent, and intentional acts of third parties.