Jury awards $100K in Red Roof Inn bed bug lawsuit

by nobugsonme on September 23, 2015 · 4 comments

in bed bug lawsuits, bed bugs in hotels, maryland

A woman has been awarded $100,000 in a bed bug lawsuit she filed after allegedly encountering the bugs in a Maryland Red Roof Inn, according to the Washington Post:

Stacey Belle, of Winston Salem, N.C., said she stayed for one night in January 2014 at one of the chain’s hotels in the 6100 block of Oxon Hill Road. She woke up itching. When she turned on her lights, she saw welts covering her arms and hands, lifted her pillow and found bedbugs crawling.

“She was completely disgusted,” said her lawyer Daniel Whitney, of Towson.

In the lawsuit, Belle claimed that the Oxon Hill motel had previously found bedbugs in guest rooms and treated infestations. But the hotel did not check that Belle’s room was free of bedbugs before it rented it out to her, the lawsuit claimed.

The Post also notes that Belle’s lawyer — Towson, Maryland attorney Daniel Whitney, who has filed many cases related to bed bugs — has become known as the “bed bug attorney”.

We’ve mentioned some of his previous bed bug lawsuit wins — in 2013 for a Maryland tenant who lived with bed bugs for eight months while her landlord allegedly mishandled the situation, in 2011 for a tenant whose landlord allegedly waited 48 days before treating her apartment for bed bugs, and in 2012 for a mother who allegedly bought bed frames which gave her family bed bugs.

I’m not a big fan of the litigious culture we have in the US. However, bed bug lawsuits are useful if they can change the ways hotels (landlords, furniture sales and rental places, etc.) deal with bed bugs. And that could help everyone.

You can read about more bed bug lawsuits here.

1 soundsgood September 25, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Absolutely good news for bedbug awareness; nothing talks like money.

2 nobugsonme September 25, 2015 at 6:38 pm

I agree, soundgood– it’s very good for awareness!

3 Michael Muryn October 8, 2015 at 12:03 am

Ideally, I would be more for education than such punishment. For the business owner or landlord, that is already a problems. Then we add another problems to their basket. Of course, some might neglect voluntary or not care much, but there can be legitimate reason that people does not process stuff right away.

Like if you are a landlord and you have X tenants, but some of them need to do major work to get their house “treatable”, then it is not that useful to begin the whole process too soon, it won’t fix the problem. I did not read all the linked stories in details, but even if 48 days can look like a lot to some more reactive people, it can be way worst than this. 😉 We just have to look the forum posts here to see that a lot of people hire exterminators and they are not able to fix the problem and have to try multiple of them. Etc.

Now in the case of this hotel… I guess if they treat the problems and it is not a “one shot” treatment… should they close the whole shop for weeks, until the problem is “really fixed”? From what I remember, it is pretty hard and rare to eradicate the problem after one treatment, unless you have like just a couple of bed bugs, and even there, with eggs, etc. 2 treatments is usually what is the minimum you should aim to fix the issue. That mean at least a month from day 1 to potential “safe day”. Maybe that is the right thing to do if you care about not spreading the problem socially (only being disgusted when you are there… that is not the problem IMHO, it is mostly the risk and potential nightmare that can happen if you bring them back home! That is enough to get some people who lived a nightmare with them freaked out). However, if you are infested, know you are, and you are still renting those room knowing the problem is not fixed… then you are not caring much about others (or, less judgmental, you have not been educated correctly, and/or you did not get paranoid enough about these bedbugs). Not a trivial topics. But then exterminators might be required to educate and give clear instruction to a business that get infected. I think in most place, those infestations are reported. Now if an hotel is infected… what best practices (to not say rules) should they apply? Not rent room + adjacent one to ANY one where exterminator saw at least one bedbug (even dead!)? Or close the whole building? (might be overboard if you have hundreds of rooms…)

I faced a situation where it took a while (months) to take care of the issues, and when you are better armed, then you can take care of it very quickly (days)… and it is not a real nightmare (except for people complaining of any effort they may have to do or still remembering the past issue…). Of course, tenants have to be quick to tell their landlord too! Some have very good intentions and want to fix the problem themselves to not make their landlord waste money, sometime they also wish nobody around know about it beside having good intention like this (they want to protect themself), but they are often worsening the problem. Education is key there. It starts with good intention that does not yield good results. I saw this happen even with people who got the problem and got educated about it in the past. Suck, but being an ass with or punish them won’t always help much.

Now, if a “big” business need to close down a month (like a hotel)… that can have a very big impact on the business… Now if we think a bit more social, if they have to think of others, the whole have to think about everyone, including the business. So should they benefit from help socially when such a thing happen? Maybe it can be covered by insurance, hmmm… I have never thought to verify about this. But the percentage of infected people in some area is kind of scary. I heard things like 20%+ for some big town. I hope that is not “active infestation” number, because that is almost like saying everyone have them when the odd are 1 on 5 building let’s say, but even if 1 out of 5 building get infected over a year, that is “scary”. But if you gotta insure that, then if you go with the odds… insurance company then have to ask you to pay 20% of the cost per year (supposing they cover 100%). That is to break even… and it is really not cheap to treat! Not an easy business decision.

I really wonder if there is people working on a real solution to fix the issues or at least lower the “stats” in place like New York. That is just a too big of a problem from what I see.

I never would have heard of it before some years ago. And now I see lot of people complaining, not counting the silent ones! 😉

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