Skip to content Partner Jill J. Ormond and Associate Steven D. Crocchi Prevail on Summary Judgment Motion on Behalf of National Hotelier


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March 2023

Partner Jill J. Ormond and Associate Steven D. Crocchi Prevail on Summary Judgment Motion on Behalf of National Hotelier

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani Partner Jill J. Ormond and Associate Steven D. Crocchi prevailed on a summary judgment motion on behalf of a national hotelier in a $1 million dollar negligence action.

The plaintiff, a 66-year-old man with a number of serious health conditions, was staying at the hotel for several months during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite his physician’s direction to immediately check into the hospital for extreme edemas in his legs, the plaintiff remained at the hotel. Shortly after his physician’s direction, at approximately 2:00 a.m., the plaintiff collapsed in the bathroom of his hotel room. He fell to the floor and was unable to lift himself. The plaintiff remained wedged between the toilet and the wall for several hours.

The plaintiff was discovered around 9:00 a.m. by a friend who alerted hotel staff. He was transported to the hospital for treatment of rhabdomyolysis and his general poor health. The plaintiff sued the hotel for negligence seeking $1 million dollars. He alleged the hotel had a duty to check on his health and wellness because he was a paying guest and requested the hotel to conduct these checks.

In its motion, the hotelier argued that it had no duty to perform health and wellness checks on its guests and directed the court to the plaintiff’s deposition testimony that he did not recall asking hotel staff to perform any health and wellness checks. It also argued that the plaintiff’s claims failed because he had no causation evidence that would link his injuries, treatment, or future care to any duty the hotel had to him.

In opposition, the plaintiff set forth in a declaration that he did ask hotel staff to perform wellness checks and that hotel staff agreed to do so. He also argued that he had medical documents showing that he would not have suffered his alleged injuries had he been discovered sooner and that expert testimony was not required. In the Reply, the hotelier argued that the plaintiff’s declaration was a sham affidavit that contradicted his deposition testimony and should not be considered. In the Reply, the hotelier also argued the plaintiff failed to meet his burden and identify any evidence to support his arguments—including the referenced medical records.

The trial court agreed. Quoting from the case law cited in the Motion and Reply, the Court found that a hotel owes no duty to a guest to conduct health and wellness checks and there was no evidence presented that it did assume such a duty. The Court also found that the plaintiff’s declaration constituted a sham affidavit and declined to consider it. The Court further determined that the plaintiff failed to meet his burden to demonstrate the hotel caused or contributed to his alleged injuries. As a result, the Court granted the hotel’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety.

Jill J. Ormond