“A reasonable person could foresee that a group of intoxicated individuals evicted from a hotel might be involved in a drunk driving accident that causes injuries.” Opinion. The Court affirmed the court of appeals’ ruling that hotels owe guests a duty of care not to evict them into a foreseeably dangerous environment, taking into account the guest’s physical state and the conditions into which she is evicted, including the time, surroundings and weather. Liability is limited by challenging the causal connection to the injury or by blaming other contributing factors. Whether an act caused an injury is fact-specific making summary judgment for the hotel improper. The dissent agreed the duty existed. But here, the plaintiff walked past two taxis. If the availability of alternative transportation is not sufficient to grant summary judgment for the hotel, then all cases go to a jury.
Tag Archives: Hotel
Westin Operator, LLC v. Jillian Groh, through her guardians and conservators William and Janelle Groh, 2015CO25 (April 13, 2015)
Jillian Groh, individually and by and through her guardians and conservators, William and Janelle Groh v. Westin v. Westin Operator, LLC, 2013COA39 (March 28, 2013)
Fortunes change in the blink of an eye. A group of revelers, too large for their hotel room, were evicted. Although drunk, they drove and got into an accident. Plaintiff, who rented the room and was a passenger, sued the hotel for nonfeasance because it failed to prevent the accident. The trial court dismissed the claim. Reversing, the court of appeals held that because innkeepers have a special relationship with guests, if it evicts them, it must do so reasonably. It concluded: 1) injury to an evicted drunk guest into a cold night is foreseeable; 2) minimal effort could mitigate the risk; 3) the existence of countervailing duties was questionable; and 4) innkeepers are in a better position than drunk guests to avoid potential harm following eviction. Thus, judgment for the hotel was reversed. The dissent (formerly the majority) concluded the hotel owed no duty to the guest.
The Supreme Court affirmed HERE
This post describes the opinion that was withdrawn. See HERE for the summary of the new opinion in which the opposite conclusion was reached.
This story ends with a drunk driving accident that killed one and put another into a vegetative state. It started with a night on the town that ended at a hotel to avoid drunk driving. The hotel, not wanting 7 loud drunk people in a room rented for 3, evicted the group, who then got into a car with a drunk driver. Plaintiff, who rented the room and was a passenger, sued the hotel, claiming it unreasonably failed to prevent her accident (nonfeasance). The trial court dismissed and the court of appeals agreed. The majority held that because she was evicted, the hotel did not owe her a special duty of care, and it did not take affirmative action to assume a duty of care. The court also held that the hotel did not have sufficient control to prevent the accident. The dissent would not have dismissed the case on summary judgment because disputed facts could have established a duty of care.
Prior Opinion Announced November 1, 2012, WITHDRAWN Petition for Rehearing GRANTED Furman, J., would DENY