This case involves a man who was seriously injured after an accident in the bathtub in his hotel room in Washington. The man, who suffered from impaired mobility due to muscular dystrophy, was given a hotel room that was customized to ADA recommendations. Shortly after checking in to his room, the man attempted to use the shower. Immediately upon putting his weight onto the shower’s folding seat the seat collapsed, causing him to strike his head on the wall of the tub and suffer a debilitating brain injury. In addition, it was also noted that the shower lacked anti-slip strips on the tub’s surface. It was alleged that the hotel failed to maintain the room according to ADA standards, posing a direct danger to guests who were assigned the room.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you have knowledge of the industry standards for ADA bathrooms?
- 2. What steps do hotel/motels need to follow in order to keep ADA rooms up to date?
Expert Witness Response E-011651
I have worked a number of ADA bathroom cases. There are no ADA guidelines regarding slip-resistant bathtubs; however, all tubs should have a slip-resistant surface or, lacking that, some kind of applied treads. The primary duty of hotels is to (a) ensure that their ADA bathrooms meet specs, primarily for grab bars and spacing, and that (b) any ADA equipment be maintained in excellent condition. That the shower seat collapsed under the man’s weight would suggest that it was not maintained to this standard. Well before ADA and ADAA, I worked to make bathrooms at my motel handicapped accessible. As needs and requirements advanced over the years, I have been aware of all compliance recommendations. As a college instructor in Hospitality Law, I taught a segment on ADA compliance.
Expert Witness Response E-009427
I have fifteen years hotel experience, including nine years as the director of housekeeping for Marriott. I have taught housekeeping and rooms operations classes at Purdue, Oklahoma State University, and Michigan State University. Older lodging properties did have applied trips in the tub as a rule, but they often became sanitation and aesthetic problems. A hotel that removed the strips without replacing with some other form of slip resistant surface would be open to challenge, regardless of whether the guestroom was kept to ADA or regular standards. I can say that many lodging properties have etched into the tub floor a rough texture to help prevent such accidents. Further, ADA rooms are also required to have grip bars for people to hold onto getting in and out of the tub. In addition, for the shower seat to collapse unexpectedly is never up to standard.