Legal

21 March 2017, Assault victims sue UK hotel for “breach of its duty of care”

On 21 March, The Guardian announced that three sisters from the UAE had begun a lawsuit against The Cumberland, a hotel in London, over an assault they suffered at the hands of a career criminal, Philip Spence. On 6 April 2014, Spence made his way into the trio’s room and attacked them with a hammer, inflicting grievous injuries. The Cumberland, owned by London and Regional Properties, is listed as a four-star hotel in the heart of central London. It is a Guoman Hotel (management), which is part of GLH Hotels Management Ltd. Guoman has five properties: four in London, and one in Shanghai. GLH owns five brands, including Thistle. Hospitalitynet.org says GLH has 4,000 plus rooms between the UK and Asia – mostly in the UK – and it has ambitious expansion plans that target 100 cities in 10 years. On 21 October … Continue reading

13 March 2017, Lawsuit against TUI regarding Sousse hotel massacre moves forward

A group of families whose relatives were killed and/or injured in the June 2015 ISIS attack on the Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, is moving forward with their lawsuit of tour company TUI Group that arranged their vacation, reports The Mirror. They are seeking a £10 million ($12,205,350.00 USD) payout. This move resulted from a two-month inquest by the British coroner’s office that declared ISIS gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, murdered or “unlawfully killed” 30 UK citizens in the attack. The term “unlawfully killed” is the precise legal language that the plaintiffs’ attorneys were waiting for in order to take their lawsuit to the next phase. Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith was the judge/coroner in this case. At least two UK law firms, Irwin Mitchell and Slater and Gordon, are involved in the suit. If a settlement cannot be reached, then the opposing parties will … Continue reading

12 October 2016, William Michael Jr. of Mayer Brown LLP, writes about hotel liabilities

On 12 October, William Michael Jr. of Mayer Brown LLP, published an informative article on hotel liabilities related to terrorism titled, “Hotels at Risk: The Legal Consequences of Terrorist Attacks on Hotels.” It was posted on Lexology.com. In the article, Mr. Michael discusses the rise of terror attacks on hotels, the three main defenses used by hotels in terror attack lawsuits, and the circumstances where hotel legal defenses typically fail. Michael writes, “Negligent security cases that advance past the summary judgment stage typically involve special facts indicating that the defendant could or did reasonably foresee the attack.” Missing from the article is the concept of “totality of circumstances,” a concept that is increasingly being used to fight against typical hotel legal defenses in terror attack cases. In very approximate terms, totality of circumstances broadly means that, since there is so much terrorist violence directed at hotels … Continue reading

15 August 2016, Lawsuit over sexual assault

The Insurance Journal reports that in August 2016, an employee of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and its Na Ho’ola Spa filed a lawsuit against the hotel and one Mr. Hassan Maan Melhem, who allegedly sexually groped and propositioned her in March. Melhem, who is an interpreter for a Saudi Arabian prince, pleaded no contest to the charges – fourth degree sexual assault and “was given a deferred sentence and probation,” reports CourthouseNews.com. Melhem is also apparently responsible for administering the schedule of his benefactors, including booking entire floors of hotels such as the Hyatt, a major revenue-generating event for hotels the Saudi royals stay in, says CourthouseNews.com. The same source says Melhem is reported to have tried to make his masseuse – the victim in this case – touch his private area, and she is said to have refused and fled the … Continue reading

15 February 2016, Mumbai attack hotel lawsuit settled; trends RE: jurisdiction and liabilities demonstrated

On 21 January 2016, DNA India news reported that the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (owned by Indian Hotels Company Ltd, which is owned by the Tata Group,) had settled a lawsuit filed against it by British citizen Will Pike who was permanently injured during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The settlement outcome was not disclosed to the public. Mr. Pike and his girlfriend had barricaded themselves in room 316 during the attack, but the fire started by the terrorists threatened to asphyxiate them, so they fashioned makeshift ropes out of towels, curtains, and bed sheets to lower themselves down the side of the building. Mr. Pike’s girlfriend made a successful descent, but the riggings did not hold for Mr. Pike, and he fell 50-60 feet. His injuries left him paralyzed below the waist. Upon filing their lawsuit, Pike and his Leigh Day attorneys … Continue reading

11 September 2015, UK firm launches lawsuit against Thompson over 26 June 2015 Tunisia hotel attack

Reuters reported on 11 September that a group of UK victims (injured and families of the deceased) of the 26 June terror attack on the Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, had hired British law firm Irwin Mitchell to represent them in a lawsuit against Thompson, the travel company that arranged their tour. The attack occurred when ISIS-linked Seifeddine Rezgui, a university student in Tunisia, attacked the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba with an AK-47 and what appeared to be homemade grenades. Police shot and killed Rezgui on the street after he egressed from the hotel property. The attack killed 38 and wounded 39. Irwin Mitchell recently sent formal claim letters to Thompson and has yet to receive a response, says Reuters. Clive Garner, head of Irwin Mitchell’s international personal injury section (also described as head of the firm’s “International Travel Litigation Group,”) said the … Continue reading

11 August 2015, Not terrorism, but a possible legal precedent for hotel safety and security liability (including terrorism)

CBS Boston reported on 11 August that a female rape victim was awarded $6.6 million in damages for an attack that happened on a hotel’s premises in 2009. A jury found that JPA IV Management Co. Inc. – which owned the Radisson Hotel in Boston (since changed names and ownership, see below,) and attached to the 200 Stuart Street parking garage – was negligent in providing adequate security to its patrons. The woman was the second rape victim within 12 days in the parking garage. The Daily Report says the victim’s legal team, Keenan Law Firm in Atlanta, successfully argued JPA IV Management, a) did not adequately increase security after the first rape, and that b) both of the hotel’s security guards were in the hotel at the time of the attack, which left the parking garage vulnerable. CBS reported that the court … Continue reading

7 July 2015, Myanmar – bombers sentenced

On 3 July, a Myanmar district court sentenced Saw Myint Lwin to life in prison with hard labor for helping a terror cell bomb the Traders Hotel in Yangon in October 2013. Lwin claimed during his trial that his handlers said he’d be killed if he didn’t plant the bomb, reports Consult-Myanmar.com The Traders bomb was one of eight that exploded throughout Myanmar over a six-day period. Two other lodgings were targeted, including the Chan Myae Guest House in Taungoo, and the Shwe Pyitsone Hotel (also reported as the Shwe Pyae Sone Guest House) in Sagaing. The Traders Hotel bomb exploded on 14 October in the bathroom of a suite occupied by an American couple and their children, reports the BBC. The bomb was reportedly a time bomb planted approximately 24 hours earlier. The targeting of the victims seemed to be random. The blast … Continue reading

19 March 2015, the Honorable Thomas A. Dickerson on protecting hotel guests

On 19 March 2015, the Hon. Thomas A. Dickerson, writing for eturbonews.com, penned an article titled, “Primer on hotel law: The common law – duty to protect guests from others.” In it, Dickerson comments on past precedents in the U.S. – specifically cases such as Shadday v. Omni Hotels Management Corp. (2007), which deals with the liability of hotels regarding rape or assault of its guests. While this is focused on crime, the application to terror cases is obvious. Read Dickerson’s highly useful article here.

28 October 2014, Mumbai attacks, Chicago-based lawsuit

On 28 October 2014, the estate of a Chicago man killed in the Oberoi Trident hotel during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the Cook County Circuit Court against Lashkar-e-Taiba. The victim was Sandeep “Sam” Jeswani, and the special administrator to his estate legal champion was identified as Maribeth Jeswani. Read more here: 28 October 2014, Lawsuit: Terrorists killed Chicago man in Mumbai