Travel, by its very nature, is stressful. Even in the face of the most wonderful vacation, the traveler is away from home, in an unfamiliar place, and carrying a large portion of their personal belongings with them. As the proverbial “home away from home,” the hotel represents comfort and respite from those stresses – or at least it should.
An increasing number of pest-based incidents are leading to bedbug infestations and even serious bodily harm to travelers unaware of the other “guests” lurking in their rooms. And, for many, the joy of setting down their belongings and settling into their new surroundings has been replaced by inspecting their lodging to ensure that the hotel has met its responsibility to keep them and their belongings safe.
Two recent failures to meet that responsibility have led to lawsuits.
A California lawsuit filed against Disneyland Resort resulted in a $100,000 verdict for a guest who alleged that she had been attacked by bedbugs during a stay at the property. Ivy Eldridge, the plaintiff in the case, brought the suit having claimed physical and emotional damage from the bedbug bites she received as she slept in her room. Disney maintains that they “have robust preventative measures in place so that [their] guests are comfortable and safe during their hotel stays,” including the employment of entomologists, or experts in the field of insects. Those measures failed to protect Eldridge, however, as photos provided during the case showed bite marks throughout her body including her shoulders, neck, back, and ears.
A South Carolina hotel is also being sued over an insect infestation issue. An Ohio resident was staying at the Sands Ocean Club hotel when he was woken up by “extreme pain and loss of hearing” after a cockroach allegedly crawled into his ear while he slept. The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff has suffered disruption to his life both at home and at work, including “painful and permanent injuries; has incurred and will continue to incur medical expenses; has suffered and will continue to suffer pain and discomfort; [and] has suffered and will continue to suffer loss of wages and earning capacity.”