This case involves a man who died as a result of a fall at a luxury resort. The resort was conducting maintenance on their pool and had left an uncovered ditch near the jacuzzi area. The man was walking by the pool, tripped on the lifted tile, and fell into the ditch, which was 2 feet deep. He fell back, hit his head on the tile, and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was rushed to the hospital but died several days later from his injuries. The pool area did not have warnings indicating that patrons should exercise caution in the area. Furthermore, the ditch was not blocked off with caution tape or barricades despite its location in a high-traffic area. It was alleged that the hotel created an unreasonably dangerous condition by placing chairs in the area, by not putting up warning signs, and by not filling the ditch. An expert in hotel management with specific expertise in high-end hospitality was sought to opine on this case.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in hotel management, particularly for high-end hospitality.
- 2. What warnings or other factors should be given to guests in a situation like this?
Expert Witness Response E-097024
I have broad and deep knowledge and experience of high-end hotel operations and pool safety. For 25+ years, I have been the corporate officer responsible for the risk and safety issues pertinent to this case at a chain hotel corporation, a realty group, and various resorts. All of these companies owned and/or operated first class and luxury hotels and resorts during my tenure as a corporate officer. I have many years of experience directing and overseeing the planning and design professionals during new construction, redevelopments, and renovations. I was responsible for pool operation and safety while at the chain hotel corporation at resorts in Hawaii, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Florida, and throughout the Caribbean. At one resort, my responsibilities included managing 15 properties, 5 beaches, and a few other higher-end properties in Jamaica, St. Lucia, and the Bahamas. I have a deep understanding of code and regulatory compliance against the overarching duty of the property owner and operator to provide a safe and secure environment. When conducting pool maintenance, one must consider safe access and path of travel for guests and staff as well as guest convenience, suitability, and aesthetics. The case description identifies an unsafe condition that the hotel operator/owner should not have allowed to exist. I have reviewed a similar case regarding hotel staff’s duty to provide a safe and secure premise for guests of the hotel.