Hotel Failed to Exterminate Bed Bugs, Lawsuit Filed

Two women filed a lawsuit Monday against Marriott International Inc. and a now closed hotel after claiming they and their two children received numerous bedbug bites while staying at the hotel last August.

The women claim the hotel failed to provide guests with clean rooms, failed to inspect the rooms and failed to recognize signs of bed bug attacks and exterminate the bugs, among other claims. They are seeking unspecified damages.

The two women and two children stayed at the hotel from August 6 through August 15, 2011, according to the lawsuit.

During her stay at the hotel, one woman noticed bumps and bites all over her child’s “arms, hands, back, legs and scalp” while helping him get dressed, according to the lawsuit. She brought this to the attention of the hotel manager, who asked if the woman had made a request for clean sheets, the lawsuit says.

The two women and both children were diagnosed as having “numerous bed bugs from a significant infestation,” according to the lawsuit.

Shortly after their stay at the hotel, the hotel’s claims adjuster contacted both women, confirming the presence of bed bugs in the room in which they stayed, the lawsuit states.

The ten-story, 363-room hotel closed in December 2011.

The cost associated with early detection of bed bugs far outweighs the potential losses due to late detection. Discovering a bed bug infestation greatly increases the cost. If there is litigation brought by the tenant or guest in a hotel, lost revenues due to not being able to rent the room or home, damaged reputation or negative press, the consumer can register the infestation on or similar websites, the high cost to eradicate the pesty bed bugs and it can take several repeated treatments as compared to one preventative treatment.

Hotels should be proactive and have all the rooms inspected on a schedule as part of the maintenance and upkeep. This can help catch a bed bug problem early. They should hire professionals trained to be on the lookout for signs that bed bugs are present.

The reason for the recent return of the bed bug is twofold. First, increase in international travel has brought the bed bugs to the U.S., often in suitcases or on clothing from countries where bed bugs remain common. Secondly, many of the pesticides that eliminated bed bugs from the U.S. in the last century no longer are used because they are considered carcinogenous to humans.

Bedbugs start out nearly invisible, less than a quarter inch long and such a light brown color that they almost seem transparent. After they bite a human and gorge on their blood night after night, they turn a deep red color and swell to almost the size of a ladybug. They drop blood-infused feces on the sheets, which is a telltale sign they were present. Perhaps worst of all, the bed bugs are so resilient. Although they usually make their home in the crevices of mattresses during the day, bed bugs can hibernate in floorboards or even in wooden picture frames for more than a year, re appearing long after the exterminator is gone or a new bed has been purchased, so one can finally resume a peaceful night’s sleep.

Although bed bugs are not known to carry disease, therefore, they are not a public health risk, they are disgusting, annoying and can cause stress, fear and insomnia. Some people develop nightmares or wake during the night thinking bloodsuckers are crawling on them, when in fact most people cannot feel such a thing, as stated by clinical psychologists at Northwestern University.

It is bad enough to bring the bed bugs home in your suitcase after traveling, but inexcusable for a hotel to have a bed bug infestation. Cleanliness should be their first priority.

One thing is for sure, the old bedtime rhyme, “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” surely has new meaning to those two families! For more information, contact a Gacovino & Lake attorney at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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