Our lawyers have won wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits against the owners of hotels that failed to provide a safe environment for their guests.
A wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of a Hilton hotel and its operator has been settled.
On the evening of August 31, 2013, a 12-year-old boy was swimming in the deep end of the pool at the Hilton Houston Westchase Hotel. When the pool lights came on, the water became electrified, and the boy screamed in pain. His older brother jumped in to save him. The boy’s life was saved, but his brother died. The Houston Chronicle has a good article about this heroic act and its tragic ending.
The investigation found that the pool wiring lacked Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupters (GFCIs), which are required by code in wet areas.
The confidential lawsuit settlement is being paid by the owner of the Hilton Houston Westchase, Wheelock Street Capital of Boston, and the hotel’s operator, Interstate Hotels and Resorts Inc., of Virginia.
The electricians who wired the pool are no longer licensed, and both were charged with negligent criminal homicide. One plead no contest and is on probation. The other is awaiting trial. Our law firm was not involved in this case, but our lawyers successfully sue hotel and motel owners for injured people and families who lose loved ones are killed because of careless disregard for guest safety.
“Our job is to find out what happened and why,” said attorney Fred Pritzker.
Electrocution from Pool Water
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision has issued warnings about the risk of electric shock from pool water. It is most concerned about faulty underwater lighting (what happened at the Hilton Houston Westchase); aging electrical wiring that hasn’t been inspected in years; the use of sump pumps (what happened in Miami), power washers, and vacuums that are not grounded; and electrical appliances.
“CPSC strongly encourages residential and commercial pool owners and operators to upgrade protection of the lights, receptacles, and switches with GFCIs. Older pools are the biggest concern, as underwater lighting fixtures may have degraded with age and may not be protected by GFCIs,” says CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton.