By:   Jason R. Margulies

econolodge-accident-lawyersThe proprietors and managers of hotels, motels, and resorts owe a duty of care to the safety of their guests. Whether you rent a hotel room for a night or for an extended stay, you have the expectation that your room and the rest of the hotel facility will be clean, free from hazards, and compliant with state and local laws governing lodging establishments. Walkways should be cleared from hazards, pools should be properly maintained and supervised, and the security measures should meet the needs of the hotel and its guests. However, this isn’t always the case.

Hotels throughout the world are frequently the sites of accidents with injuries as well as wrongful deaths. However, many of these accidents and deaths are preventable, and their causes can be traced to the negligence of the hotel staff, managers, or owners.

As one of the top maritime and hotel liability law firms in the country, the attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. are all too familiar with the types of accidents that can occur at hotels. With over 160 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. diligently survey news articles and other reports about accidents stemming from hotel liability. Choice Hotels International, Inc. has been making headlines for some very concerning incidents in recent months.  

About Choice Hotel and Resorts

If you aren’t familiar with the Choice brand of hotels and resorts, you will recognize some of their subsidiaries. Choice Hotels International, Inc. owns Comfort Suites, Quality Inn & Suites, Clarion Inns & Suites, EconoLodge, Rodeway Inn, Cambria Hotels, and several other international chains. Between its 40 combined brands, Choice maintains over 7,000 hotels around the world. According to their website, Choice Hotels International, Inc. has approximately 570,000 rooms in their hotel empire. Choice Hotels International, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as CHH, and in July 2021, Choice had a market cap of $6.3 billion.

Choice Hotels and their subsidiaries:

  • Ascend Hotel Collection
  • Cambria Hotels
  • Clarion Hotels
  • Comfort Inn & Suites
  • Econo Lodge
  • MainStay Suites
  • Quality Inn
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Sleep Inn
  • Suburban Extended Stay
  • Vacation Rentals by Choice Hotels
  • WoodSpring Suites


Recent Accidents at Choice Hotel and Resorts

The following incidents and accidents occurred at hotels owned by Choice Hotels. As part of our hotel accident law firm’s commitment to staying abreast of high-profile incidents, we have reviewed several news articles reporting hotel accidents and violent incidents. These are cursory assessments based on the limited information available. For a full evaluation of a hotel accident you were involved in, contact our office and speak with a Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. attorney. All consultations are free. 

Five Rushed to the Hospital After Gas Leak at Gulfport Comfort Inn

July 3, 2021 – Gulfport, MS: Harrison County Fire Rescue reportedly received multiple calls at the Comfort Inn and Suites after experiencing symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic gas that combines with hemoglobin much faster than oxygen. Any exposure to carbon monoxide can be life-threatening, and the health repercussions from exposure can be severe.

Carbon monoxide poisonings like this are surprisingly common in Choice Hotels. A few days before the Gulfport incident, four guests were transported to the hospital with similar injuries after a malfunctioning water heater at a Comfort Suites in Freeport, ME caused a carbon monoxide leak. In 2018, a carbon monoxide leak at a San Antonio Comfort Suites hotel reportedly sent 12 to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The fact that one hotel chain is reportedly responsible for this many accidents is disconcerting. It’s not clear whether Choice Hotels has done anything to address this alarming trend occurring at one of their major chains, but even a single incident can expose the chain to a personal injury suit. With each new incident, our attorneys’ opinion is that Choice Hotels is increasingly vulnerable to aggressive lawsuits.

Macon, MO Comfort Inn & Suites has Two Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease

April 16, 2021 – Macon, MO: Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacteria that most people can catch from water or soil. Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks often occur in hotels, office buildings, and cruise ships. Because of the seriousness of Legionnaires’ disease, the Department of Health and Human Services reportedly responded to the Macon Comfort Inn & Suites and found Legionella bacteria in the hot tub. This may mean that the hotel’s maintenance of the hot tub was substandard. Many diseases thrive in under-chlorinated hot tubs and swimming pools, which is why hotels must adhere to strict maintenance schedules. 

Brutal Hotel-room Attack at Northwest Miami-Dade Rodeway Inn

July 10, 2021 – A 22-year-old man is in jail facing charges for a reported attack on an elderly couple staying at the Rodeway Inn on 167th Street in Northwest Miami-Dade. The couple — a husband and wife — were staying at the hotel while they looked for houses in the area. The 68-year-old-husband claims that he responded to a knock on the door, and the suspect, Travon Smith, punched him in the face. Smith also allegedly bit the husband and choked him. Smith then reportedly attacked the 67-year-old wife, dragged her to an elevator, and forced her to perform oral sex on him. 

While Smith may be convicted for battery, kidnapping, sexual battery, and felony battery, the hotel may also bear some responsibility. It does not appear that Smith was a guest of the hotel. It also doesn’t appear that there was any intervention from the hotel staff despite the female victim being forcibly removed from the room and sexually assaulted on their elevator. From a liability perspective, it’s important to know what security measures the hotel had in place and enforced. Was there a security guard on the grounds? Were there monitored cameras on the elevators? Without the answers to these questions, it’s difficult to know the extent of the hotel’s liability in this reportedly vicious crime.

Parking Lot Shooting at Michigan Quality Inn & Suites Leaves One Dead and Two Injured 

June 5, 2021 – The Muskegon Heights Police Department reports that an overnight shooting occurred in the parking lot of the Quality Inn & Suites. In an incident that appears to have started in the 17-year-old suspect’s hotel room, the shooter allegedly fired on the murder victim, Aquae Keyes, then chased him down the hallway and continued to fire. Keyes reportedly had bullet wounds in the head and chest. The attack ended in the parking lot where reportedly two other people were shot. Muskegon Heights Police Chief Joseph Thomas states that the argument started over a woman.

Quality Inn & Suites could face personal injury lawsuits from the two surviving gunshot victims and a wrongful death suit from the Keyes family. Again, the question would be whether this particular Quality Inn & Suites hotel was guilty of negligent security. If so, the company should pay for the negligence that led to these fatal and life-threatening injuries. 

About Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. 

Lipcon Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is a world-renowned hotel accident law firm that has litigated hundreds of high-profile cases. Our team has taken on some of the biggest names in the cruise line, hotel, and resort industries. If you’ve been injured on a Choice Hotels property or the property of any other major hotel chain, contact us for immediate representation and free case evaluation. We were named 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” in the Admiralty and Maritime by US News and World Report, so you know we have the skill and experience that you need. We can be contacted at 877-233-1238.