$60,000 Bed Bug Settlement Against College Park, MD Hotel
A family staying at a hotel and being badly bitten by bed bugs is an increasingly common occurrence in Maryland and the United States in general. In this case, our clients, a single mother and her 17 year old daughter, checked into the College Park Comfort Inn & Suites (the “Hotel”) in College Park, Maryland on August 21, 2014 to attend a family wedding. The daughter was a bridesmaid. Upon waking up on the morning of August 22, 2014, the daughter was suffering from an asthma attack and had welt-like bites across her body, including on her chest, arms, legs, shoulders and neck. During the wedding later the same day, she was very uncomfortable, itchy and irritable, and had a miserable experience. Neither she or her mother knew what had happened to her, and both went to sleep again in the same room that night.
The next morning, the mother woke up itching as well. She looked around and discovered a bug crawling on the hotel room ceiling. She immediately woke her daughter up and searched both beds. While searching her daughter’s bed, she found another bug crawling in the sheets and immediately called the front desk. A Hotel employee came to the room, refused to enter it, and told our clients that the Hotel had a bed bug problem and that their room had recently had bed bugs and had been “sprayed” for bed bugs along with the other infested Hotel rooms. Our clients were shocked to learn this information, checked out immediately and discarded most of their personal property that had been in the infested Hotel room to avoid spreading the infestation to their car and home.
HISTORY OF BED BUG INFESTATION IN THE COLLEGE PARK, MD HOTEL
Given the statements of the Hotel employee to our clients, it was evident that the Hotel had a history of bed bug infestation, and specifically in our clients’ room. Although no guest would choose to stay in a hotel room that had a history of infestation, the infestation was never disclosed to our clients before they checked in. That our clients were immediately bitten on the first night, and again on the second night, indicates the Hotel had an entrenched and improperly treated bed bug infestation in their room that had been present for before they arrived, and should have been detected by housekeeping staff. Had our clients been made aware of the history of infestation in the Hotel and in their room, they never would have agreed to stay at the Hotel. However, when the Hotel failed to disclose that information, they took away our clients’ ability to make an educated choice and instead chose to make money renting the room instead of doing the right thing.
The owners and operators of the Hotel, like owners and operators of all hotels, had a duty to provide a clean, safe and habitable hotel room to its guests, free from dangerous conditions. The owners and operators of the Hotel breached that duty by placing our clients in a room that was infested with bed bugs.
Our clients were bitten approximately 20 times each. The actual bite marks, itching and discomfort lasted for several weeks. Several hundred dollars of clothing and suitcases were discarded. One of our clients sought medical treatment and was advised to use anti-itch cream on her bites, which she did.
LAWSUIT FILED BASED ON BED BED BITES AT THE COMFORT INN & SUITES IN COLLEGE PARK, MD
After our clients hired Whitney, LLP to represent them, our experienced bed bug lawyers sent a letter of representation to the Hotel. An insurance adjuster contacted us, and requested that we send a demand letter as well as proof of injuries, which we did. Several months went by with constant delays and without the insurance adjuster making an offer. When faced with such unreasonable delay by the insurance company, the attorneys at Whitney, LLP had no choice but to file a lawsuit.
Once the lawsuit was filed, we obtained many records from the Hotel and took depositions of key witnesses. After a thorough investigation of the facts and going through the legal discovery process, all parties attended a mediation. Interestingly enough, the Hotel denied that any of its employees had treated our clients’ room for bed bugs, and claimed that they never employed the employee who came to our clients’ room and told them about the infestation that he had treated. Shortly thereafter, the case was settled for $60,000.
HOTEL BED BUG CASES AND DUTIES OWED TO GUESTS
The industry standard of care that hotels are required to follow when providing rooms to guests include making sure that the room is safe, clean and sanitary, which includes being free of a bed bug infestation. Housekeepers need to be trained to complete thorough inspections for bed bug every time they clean the room, and proper procedures must be in place and must be followed to have infested rooms promptly treated.
Hotels must also have licensed pest control companies treating bed bug infestations. The bed bug attorneys at Whitney, LLP have seen many instances where a hotel has tried to save money by having their own unlicensed and untrained employees spray ineffective over-the counter pesticides to treat bed bugs. Not only do those cheap attempts at self-treatment not work and serve to spread the infestation to adjacent rooms, they are also a violation of the industry standard of care and usually illegal.
The attorneys at Whitney, LLP provide legal consultations to potential clients. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars for victims of bed bugs and other personal injuries. Of course, all cases are different and past successful results are not a guarantee of future results. Contact us now using our Quick Contact Form or call us at 410 583 8000.