Five new lawsuits were recently filed against hotels under the recently-effective pool lift regulation. Four of the lawsuits were filed on June 14 in federal court in Minneapolis and a fifth in federal court in Houston against national hotel chains. All five of the lawsuits were brought by the same plaintiff, Dana Bowman, a disabled Army veteran. The lawsuits are based on allegations that the hotels failed to make its pools and spas accessible. In particular, they allege that each hotel failed to install pool lifts under the new federal regulations that became effective on January 31, 2013.
The lawsuits are notable because each was brought by the same lawyer (Eric Calhoun of Dallas’ Travis & Calhoun) who is acting as co-counsel in the more than two dozen pool lift lawsuits filed in federal court in Indianapolis, as well as a prior case on behalf of Bowman in Houston.
As I predicted in the March 21, 2013 issue of the Hospitality eAuthority and warned again in a May 23, 2013 blog post, these cases are only going to grow more common. Even though the new regulation became effective a few months ago, it is not too late to take action to minimize your risk and liability if sued. If you own a hotel, school, health spa, or other facility with a pool or spa, you should act quickly and before you get sued.
David Raizman is a shareholder in the Los Angeles office of Ogletree Deakins.
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