Hotel Fails To Configure Event Space To Accommodate Disabled Guests


Hotel Safety ExpertThis case involves a blind man who attended a conference at the defendant hotel. The man was scheduled to give a speech on stage during the conference and required that the stage be adjusted to accommodate him. The hotel had been informed of the man’s disability beforehand and was instructed to set up the stage directly against the wall. However, the hotel personnel did not follow those instructions and instead put the stage on the wrong wall with a gap between the wall and stage. As the blind man was walking to his seat on the stage, he fell through the gap between the stage and the wall. The man was so significantly injured by the fall that he passed away several months later from complications secondary to his injuries. An expert in hotel safety was sought to speak to the proper protocols when setting up these types of conference and safety measures that should be taken to ensure this type of accident does not occur.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • "1. Please discuss your background in hotel event management and managing patron safety at events such as the one in this case.
  • 2. Have you served as an expert on a similar case? If so, please explain.
  • 3. Please explain why you're qualified to serve as an expert on this engagement.
  • 4. Have you ever been sued or arrested?"

Expert Witness Response E-009291

I was the Food & Beverage Manager at a hotel for three years, overseeing set-up of events and meetings. I later served as General Manager at several hotels with active function operations. I have not yet served as an expert in a similar case, but I have extensive operational experience and previously taught an Event Management course at a community college. There appears to have been a breakdown of communication between the sales office and the banqueting department, as details such as which wall the stage was to be set against should have been covered. Furthermore, there appears to be a breakdown in the overall management of the event, as one or more managers should have checked that the room was properly set up. Some additional information about hotel banquet department meetings and the schedule of the conference would be beneficial. Given the passage of the ADA and the affiliation of this hotel, there should have been a compliance plan in place and there should have been extra attention to the safety of the guests knowing that a large number might have a visual impairment.

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