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Lecture 6 – Negligence, Product Liability and Hospitality Practices Claims against hospitality facilities. Duty of reasonable care to inspect facilities, discover and correct dangerous conditions. Train personnel to operate facilities’ equipment safely and to recognize and fix or report all problems. Duties to protect safety of employees will be considered within the later section on employment. Duties to paying guests, invitees of guests, business invitees, casual visitors and trespassers. Areas of concern: lobbies, guest rooms, meeting rooms, restaurants, bars, restrooms, exercise rooms, hallways, elevators, stairways, pool & recreational areas, outside spaces. Particular care is required for special situations such as security, medical services, fires, storms, failure of electrical service and other emergencies. Guest rooms Defective furniture, appliances, electrical, plumbing. Injuries from collapse, flooding, electrical shorts. Heavy guests are entitled to furniture sufficient to support their weight. Res ipsa loquitur. If control of item is in hands of facility operator, which is in best position to properly maintain and ensure that it is in proper operation, then failure of that item is presumed to be due to negligence of operator. Examples: chair collapse, pool drain cover off, shock from coffee machine, elevator falls. Guest is not expected to do product testing of facilities. Facility operator has duty to continuously inspect for safety of its facilities, furnishings and equipment. Animals and insects. Facility operator has nondelegable duty to make reasonable efforts to keep premises free of rodents, insects, including regular exterminator service, cleaning, etc. Special duty for bedbugs. Copeland v. The Lodge Enterprise, Inc. (Ok. 2000) Motel operator had regular extermination service for insects. Guest claims she was bitten by brown recluse spider while staying in her room, causing sever, permanent and disabling injuries. Motel manager says pest spraying was done regularly (showed invoices for relevant time); she was trained in motel management; she sometimes watched pest control spraying; fired previous pest control service for poor performance, but no 1
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problems with present service; no spiders had been seen by her or reported to her. She inspected room with spiders with exterminator in subject room and other rooms after reported incident, but found none. Inspections two or three times per year by State Dept. of Health - no deficiencies. Plaintiff’s expert said brown recluse spiders were known to be common in this area, but could be eradicated by proper pest control. Ct. said motel had duty of reasonable care to maintain premises in reasonably safe and suitable condition, but was not an insurer against all harm, Duty is fulfilled when reasonable care is taken to prevent guest’s exposure to dangers which are hidden, not obvious.
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