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Don’t let the bed bugs bite in your hotel, or you might get sued

by Guest injury law blogger on August 21, 2012

What bed bugs can look like (not from the hotel) image from louento.pix on flickr

Two women filed a lawsuit on Monday against Marriott International Inc. and a Lisle Marriott Conference Center, claiming that they suffered numerous bed bug bites during a stay at the hotel in August, 2011.

Reported in the Chicago Tribune, the claim is being made by Pamela April of Phoenix, Ariz., and Char’o Safford of Chicago who claim that the hotel in which they stayed with two children failed to provide guests with sanitary rooms, failing to inspect and exterminate rooms and failing to recognize signs of bed bug attacks, in addition to other claims.

Having discovered bites all over their children’s “arms, hands, back, legs and scalp”, the two women and both children were diagnosed with “numerous bed bug bites from a significant infestation,” according to the lawsuit.

Not the first personal injury claim of its kind

This is not the first instance of a claim being filed in respect of bed bug bites. Indeed, it’s not the first claim to be brought in the US.

As reported in Lodging Hospitality and Bed-Bug.org, the following claims have been brought:-

“2004 — 45% rent abatement awarded for six-months to a New York apartment tenant
2007— A woman is claiming infestation by hundreds of bed bugs in a cheap motel during her recuperation from breast cancer. The person is suing the motel in Arkansas, alleging “pain and mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation, medical bills and expenses” from countless bug bites and visible bugs in her bed.
2008 — Three apartment tenants in Chicago are suing for bed bug injuries.
2008 — An opera singer initiated a lawsuit against a major hotel chain for $6 million. The alleged injuries involve over 150 bed bug bites.”

Lodging Hospitality also notes a landmark case involving a Midwest woman who brought an unprecedented $20 million claim against a New York hotel after she woke up in her bed with hundreds of bed bug bites. Following the report to hotel officials, the woman was offered two free nights’ stay at the hotel. Declining that offered, she sought $20 million instead. While an exorbitant amount, it illustrates that people are still intent on bringing significant claims for bed bug bit injuries, no matter how much pain is actually caused.

In London, UK, two sisters brought a claim against a hotel, described as ‘dirty’ and ‘grubby’ on TripAdvisor, after suffering over 130 infected bed bug bites, as reported in the Daily Mail. They were each given £1,600 through an out-of-court settlement (i.e. the court didn’t actually rule on the case).

When the hotel bites back

And then, on the other hand, hotels have been known to bring their own claims against visitors for making false statements against them. For instance, as reported in Bedbugs.net, the Carleton hotel of Oak Park sought damages of more than $30,000 for the loss of business and loss of reputation associated with a “malicious” claim made on TripAdvisor.

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