16 September, 2015 Legal
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 hotel was negligent in not providing more adequate security: “It is clear that the security measures were not sufficient to prevent a lone gunman from accessing the hotel and its grounds, nor were they robust enough to stop him during a prolonged 30 to 40 minute rampage,” he told the press.
Thompson is a subsidiary of the travel company, TUI Group. Thompson lost more than $50 million on the negative fallout from the Tunisia attack. The company spent millions evacuating over 1,000 of its clients from Tunisia by air immediately after the attack.
This lawsuit is in its infancy, and more lawsuits against Thompson, the Rui hotel chain, and other entities associated with the attack are possible. This lawsuit also follows a growing trend where victims of hotel terror attacks are suing hotel chains and franchisers over what the victims perceive as negligence regarding poor security. Hotel chains and franchisers often cite the unpredictability of terror attacks and host country security responsibilities as a defense.
Sources and further reading:
“Tunisia attack victims start legal action against travel firm Thomson,” Reuters, 11 September 2015.
“British tour operators evacuate thousands of tourists from Tunisia,” Reuters, 27 June 2015.
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