A model working on a photo shoot alleges that she was bitten multiple times and sustained rashes and welts as a result of an overnight onslaught from bedbugs during her hotel stay. She is suing the establishment and its parent company for monetary and punitive damages.
Sabrina Jales St. Pierre, who according to the Los Angeles Times, has appeared as a model for Avon, Neiman Marcus, the Limited, Tommy Hilfiger, and more, was staying at the Embassy Suites in Palm Desert, California during a 2016 photo shoot. The model, whose very livelihood depends on her maintenance of a flawless appearance, woke to a series of red welts and inflamed skin along her shoulders, arm, and back. According to her attorney, “she had to continue working during the hotel stay, but the bite marks all over her body made her feel embarrassed, ashamed, and humiliated.”
Hilton, the parent company of Embassy Suites, has denied even seeing the lawsuit and immediately punted the attention back to the local hotel. “We understand that the allegations relate to a 2016 stay at an independently owned and managed franchise property, so we will refer related questions to the property’s management,” the corporation said in a statement that effectively told the hotel that it was very much on its own in this matter.
That hasn’t stopped St. Pierre from including Hilton, as well as Embassy Suites Management in her lawsuit, however.
Bedbug lawsuits have recently seen a sharp increase in number. There are a number of causes, but the most significant is simply that the pests have evolved an immunity to the chemicals we’ve been using to keep them at bay for the past 50 years. As hotels, apartment buildings, and other dwellings find themselves responsible for keeping guests, patrons, and residents in clean and habitable living conditions, some are discovering that failing to act on the bedbug problem can carry significant financial consequences and impacts to public perceptions of a brand.