Hotel's history with bed bugs comes back to bite them with punitive damages. $546.5K San Bernardino County.

Summary

Family of three bitten by bed bugs during a one-night stay in hotel.  Hotel had prior and subsequent incidents of bed bug infestation.

The Case

  • Case Name: Martha McKindra, Alex McKindra, and Marcus McKindra v. Heritage Inn of Rancho Cucamonga
  • Court and Case Number: : San Bernardino Superior Court / CIVDS1502829
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, October 02, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, February 27, 2015
  • Type of Action: Premises Liability, Highlighted Verdicts
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Thomas S. Garza
  • Plaintiffs:
    Martha McKindra
    Alex McKindra
    Marcus McKindra
  • Defendants:
    Heritage Inn of Rancho Cucamonga, Inc.
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $546,500
  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $496,500

  • Punitive Damages:

    $50,000 (For intentional infliction of emotional distress.)

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 9 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 days.
  • Jury Polls: None.
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: TBD.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    My Bed Bug Lawyer, Inc. by Brian J. Virag, Encino.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Law Offices of George Muhar by James Sohn, Ontario.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Rafael Darvish M.D., dermatology.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Richard Kaae, entomology, Huntington Beach.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On March 16, 2013, plaintiff family checked in to defendant's Hilton Garden Inn property. They went to sleep around midnight. By 4 a.m., they were aware of bed bugs in both beds. Plaintiffs sustained numerous bites and severe emotional distress.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That the hotel had prior incidents of bed bugs as well as subsequent issues of bed bugs and the hotel failed to implement appropriate policies, procedures and protocol. Plaintiffs also claimed intentional infliction of emotional distress as a result of the conscious disregard for the safety of plaintiffs.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    The defendant admitted there were bed bugs in the room, but denied intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Demands and Offers

  • Defendant §998 Offer: 04/12/2016: Alex McKindra - $800 Marcus McKindra - $800 Martha McKindra - $2,600. 08/16/2016: Alex McKindra - $1,999 Marcus McKindra - $1,999 Martha McKindra - $4,999.
  • Defendant Offer during Trial: During trial defendant offered a $20K-$60K high low.

Additional Notes

Although there were prior and subsequent instances of bed bug activity in the hotel, it was unknown what remedies had been tried or considered.

Disclaimer

This is not an official court document. While the publisher believes the information to be accurate, the publisher does not guarantee it and the reader is advised not to rely upon it without consulting the official court documents or the attorneys of record in this matter who are listed above.

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