Bed Bug Settlements of $425k from One Hotel
Bed bug settlements of $425,000 were reached with a hotel by Whitney, LLP after we filed lawsuits on behalf of several guests. Rather than pay Seven Hundred Dollars ($700.00) to a licensed pest control company to exterminate bed bugs in a hotel room known to be infested, the owner-operator opted to rent the room to unsuspecting guests. Those guests, successively checked into the same room, suffered multiple bed bug bites which triggered allergic reactions in the form of intensely itchy and painful skin lesions. Two of the victims required medical treatment for the inflamed and unsightly welts.
Whitney, LLP represents victims of bed bug bites across Maryland.
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The Standard of Care for Bed Bugs In Hotels
All hotels are vulnerable to bed bugs being introduced to the facility by bed bugs transported unwittingly on travelers or hotel employees. Once introduced, bed bugs are known to breed rapidly.
The standard of care requires that owners and operators maintain vigilance to detect the presence of bed bugs and arrange for an immediate treatment by a competent licensed pest control contractor. Bed bugs are a known threat that hotels must proactively address, but often fail to do so.
The Room was Initially Placed Out of Order
The hotel, which was the subject of litigation initiated by Whitney, LLP, detected evidence of bed bugs in the room. Unfortunately, the hotel dealt with the problem by merely placing the room out of order for several weeks. Because bed bugs can survive without a blood meal for a year or longer, this strategy did not result in killing the bed bugs by starvation.
Instead, it created a population of very hungry bed bugs, since they usually feed about once or twice a week when food (i.e., human blood) is available.
The Untreated Room was Placed Back in Service
When the room was placed back in service, the next guest was ravaged by ravenous bed bugs questing a blood meal. She was bitten on her face, including on her eyelid which became swollen. The distraught guest reported her bites to the front desk, and checked out. Yet, the hotel failed to call pest control for treatment. The guest’s symptoms progressively worsened, and she had to seek medical treatment.
The Untreated Room Remained in Service
Weeks later, another guest, who was checked into the same room, suffered the same fate. She sustained multiple bites which were reported to the front desk and general manager. She described the general manager as very unresponsive and difficult to reach. To even obtain a room refund required extended argument. Her symptoms worsened after check-out. Her uncontrollable itch was accompanied by a painful burning sensation, and she sought medical treatment.
A Third Guest was Knowingly Exposed to Bed Bugs
Despite actual knowledge of a continuing hazard, the room was left in service without professional extermination. Weeks later, along came the next victim, who was checked into the same room. After sleeping in the room for only several hours, she awoke with itchy bites; and to her horror, found bed bugs crawling on the bed covers. She complained to the front desk and immediately checked out. Dozens of horribly itchy bites emerged on her legs and back. She sustained both an allergic reaction and secondary skin infection. In response to her complaint, the hotel offered a Twenty Dollar ($20.00) credit towards a future stay.
Bed Bug Settlements Recovered By Whitney, LLP
It is apparent that some hotel owner-operators value profit over guest safety and will ignore the industry standard of care. In an attempt to hold the hotel accountable, and obtain fair compensation for the injured guests, Whitney, LLP filed suits on behalf of the three victims.
After receiving interrogatory answers and complaint history files, depositions were taken of key witnesses of the local owner-operator, who was the hotel franchisee, and the well-known national brand franchisor. In an unsuccessful attempt to hide evidence, the hotel initially failed to acknowledge that the second victim had even been a guest at the hotel.
Following negotiations, the cases were resolved without a trial. Whitney, LLP’s clients received settlements in the amounts of Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($75,000.00), One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) and Two Hundred Fifty-Thousand Dollars ($250,000.00) for a total of Four Hundred Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($425,000.00).
Much personal suffering could have been avoided if only the hotel had followed the industry standard of care and exterminated the room prior to renting it to guests who had expected to receive a safe and infestation-free room.
Whitney, LLP’s bed bug lawyers represent clients across Maryland.
Of course, all cases are different and past results do not guarantee future results.