NY1 news reported Thursday that Fordham senior Michelle Hopkins has filed a suit for negligence and unspecified damages over bites incurred in her “dorm” room (click “dial-up” or “broadband” next to the photo at the NY1 site to see the clip).
The interesting twist is that she is not suing Fordham; it’s not their space. Instead, she’s suing four parties: the lessor, owner, management, and booking franchisee of the New Yorker Hotel, where the ad hoc dorm rooms are located. She suffered an allergic reaction (including an asthma attack) that sent her to the hospital. Severe allergic reactions are rare but not unheard of around here: a few readers have gone to the ER under similar circumstances, with a life-threatening reaction.
Students from several NYC colleges are housed at the New Yorker, due to housing shortages. According to 1010WINS,
Hopkins, a Fordham University senior, was living in a room on one of four floors leased by Educational Housing Services Inc., a firm that leases and adapts living space for student use. (They have nine residences in Brooklyn and Manhattan.)
Educational Housing, the New Yorker Hotel Management Co. Inc.; Ramada Worldwide Inc., which has a booking franchise relationship with the hotel; and the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (the Unification Church), owners of the hotel, are named as defendants in Hopkins’ lawsuit.
CBS TV news also has a video segment on this. Luckily, Hopkins was only in the room for one week; 1010WINS reports EHS promptly moved her to another location, and she has since been rehoused by Fordham (extreme caution was exercised in these moves, since bed bugs are easily transported).
I also hope something is being done for others in the vicinity of the infested room. Other students need to be educated about the signs of bed bugs, and a good PCO should inspect all the adjoining rooms and those above and below the infested one.
This isn’t a great time to live in a hotel room. I’d guess that the high turnover in nearby units means hotel rooms are more vulnerable to infestation than apartments or student dorm rooms. Perhaps colleges need to find alternative solutions for housing shortages.
An interesting note: Hopkins’s lawyer is Alan Schnurman, also the lawyer for a number of other recent bed bug lawsuits: Eunice Juarez (who sued Disneyland), Alison Trainer (the opera singer who sued the Phoenix Hilton), Leslie Fox, who sued the Nevele Hotel in Ellenville, NY (in the Catskills), and Ellyn Gliksman-Sullivan, who sued her Park Slope, Brooklyn landlord.