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Hospitality Representative Cases

  • Secured summary judgment in favor of a major hotel chain in a premises liability case.  A 48-year-old plaintiff slipped and fell down a spiral staircase sustaining a trimalleolar fracture of the right ankle, left knee meniscus tear and subsequent osteoarthritis.  Plaintiff alleged defective design of staircase and failure to warn of the dangerous condition of the staircase.  Plaintiff’s demand prior to summary judgment was $1 million.
  • Successfully represented the franchisor of a major hotel chain in a case where a female guest was murdered in her room.  The plaintiff alleged the franchisor controlled the operations of the franchisee hotel through its standards manual and acted as the agent of the franchisee based on its advertising.  The franchisee settled the case without any monetary contribution from the franchisor.
  • Represented a major hotel chain in a case where the guest was a victim of an armed robbery while conducting business in a conference room.  The plaintiff alleged improper security, or alternatively, an "inside job" by members of the hotel’s security staff.  Plaintiff sought damages for the stolen money, jewelry and negligent infliction of emotional distress in excess of $350,000. Defense successfully argued that the Illinois Innkeeper’s statute applied and limited the plaintiff’s recovery to a nominal amount.
  • Successfully tendered the defense of a hotel to the hotel’s independent valet company in a case where an employee of the valet company struck and killed a pedestrian while retrieving a vehicle.
  • Secured a defense verdict on behalf of a national department store in a premises liability case in which the plaintiff alleged he had tripped over some red buckets in the aisle of a retail store, which he could not see because of the presence of another shopper.  He argued that a nearby employee should have seen the buckets and picked them up. Plaintiff claimed to have injured his shoulder, hip and elbow.  Plaintiff asserted that his superior labrum (shoulder joint) and subscapularis tendon (rotator cuff) were torn. Defendant disputed the nature and extent of the injuries. The jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant.
  • Received favorable result for a national restaurant chain in a premises liability case. Plaintiff claimed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) stemming from a fall inside a restaurant which occurred while plaintiff, a 39-year-old beer delivery man, was transporting 2 kegs of beer plus a cylinder of beer (300 + lbs.) up a ramp inside of the restaurant. Plaintiff’s attorneys asked the jury to award damages in excess of $2.8 million. Plaintiff argued that the slip-and-fall accident was caused due to water that the restaurant manager admitted that he tracked in from outside after shoveling snow and that he did not clean up prior to the time plaintiff attempted to enter the restaurant. The defense argued that plaintiff was contributorily negligent for transporting the 2+ kegs of beer up a ramp, backward, in inclement weather, in violation of his employer’s policy which prohibited the transport of more than one keg at a time for safety reasons. The restaurant also filed a third-party action against plaintiff’s employer for failing to properly train and supervise plaintiff. At the conclusion of trial, the jury awarded plaintiff $200,000. This was reduced to $100,000 based upon the jury’s finding that plaintiff was 50% contributorily negligent. As to the third-party claim, the jury found that plaintiff’s employer was 30% negligent, thus the employer will have to contribute $30,000 to plaintiff’s judgment.
  • Successfully defended client in an alleged assault and battery case involving a customer and a drugstore employee. The plaintiff claimed she was assaulted and battered by a store employee while she was waiting in line at the pharmacy counter.  The plaintiff’s complaint and testimony at trial indicated that the store’s employee "karate chopped" her neck causing neck, back and shoulder pain.  The plaintiff also claimed she had permanent injuries due to the karate chop.  The drugstore, through its employee, testified that the employee was merely tapping the plaintiff on the shoulder to get her attention and advise her that her grandson was stealing candy. The defense contended the employee had no intent, did not cause a harmful or offensive touch and that the plaintiff had no damages. The jury was out less than 40 minutes and returned a not guilty verdict in favor of the defense.
  • Represented national department store chain in litigation involving customers injured from escalator and elevator malfunctions.
  • Received a not guilty award in a Cook County mandatory arbitration on behalf of a national retailer where plaintiff alleged a chair on display was defective and the chair broke underneath a customer on the premises resulting in permanent injuries.

Johnson and Bell

Johnson and Bell