Hotel Bar Fight

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The Scenario: A Hotel bar fight…

A man is at a bar inside a hotel with his friend and his sister.  His friend encounters bar patron in the bar and they get into a fight.  The bar patron stabs the friend, and the man jumps in to help, but is also stabbed.  There was a security guard on site who did nothing during the 2-minute altercation.

The question becomes if the hotel is liable through the lack of action of his security guard to stop the fight and therefore prevent the stabbing of the man and his friend.

The Law:  Hotel has to use ordinary care…

A motel operator is under a continuing legal duty to its patrons to use ordinary care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition and protect them from harm due to reasonably foreseeable risks of injury.

Nevertheless, while a hotel operator has the duty to use reasonable care for the protection of patrons, the hotel is not the insurer of the safety of its patrons. Nor is the hotel liable for the conduct of a third party on the premises which causes injury, unless the injurious conduct is reasonably foreseeable to the hotel; that is, unless the hotel has knowledge of the danger involved and has had an opportunity to protect against it, the hotel may not be held liable.

The Question:  Is the bar fight foreseeable?

The question of foreseeability in a negligence action is generally a question for the trier of fact.

Is a 2-minute fight foreseeable?

The hotel claimed that the fight was “unprovoked and unanticipated” and was accomplished “within two minutes” and that it was not a sufficient basis for such a finding to be foreseeable.

The Supreme Court Ruled:

While knowledge of a particular person’s propensity for violence has been considered competent evidence of foreseeability, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that “proof of foreseeability should be limited by law to evidence of actual or constructive knowledge of a particular assailant’s propensity for violence.” The supreme court added, “[a] tavern owner’s actual or constructive knowledge, based upon past experience, that there is a likelihood of disorderly conduct by third persons in general which may endanger the safety of his patrons is also sufficient to establish foreseeability.”

In this case, the Court found that the hotel was NOT relieved of liability by this intervening act as a matter of law unless the patron’s criminal attack was unforeseeable.

The evidence:

911 records were pulled where the hotel had called 911 in many occasions, and that police reports confirmed the danger and foreseeability of another violent act even if the prior acts were not as violent as the current act.

If you have a similar problem, whether the hotel or the patron or the man, please give us a call for a free consultation. We can help you find the right law, and help you win your case.  Call (786) 454-2411 today.

The Miami Law Firm normally works on contingency, or a percentage of your claim.  In addition, we also offer unbundled legal services as well as layaway plans, payment plans and document preparation for those who want to go to court without a lawyer.

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Free Legal Lunch & Learn for Hotels

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Go Ahead Book Your FREE Lunch and Learn Legal Contracts Session – We’ll Come to You!

We will meet your team in a free 1.5 hour Lunch & Learn at your hotel or resort and cover the essentials of law that every general manager, DOSM, Catering, or Sales Associate should know before presenting a contract to clients.  We will teach your team while working from your current group, incentive, tour operator, or trade contract.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Contract Formation: While it might seem simple, this is key to understanding the reasons why your team entered into the contract and why the client entered into the contract as well.
  2. Standard Contract Clauses: We will review some of the most common clauses on a contract and what that means for your protection.
  3. Your Contract: We will review your current contract and leave behind some of the most common clauses that hotels use every day behind such as attrition, force majeure, reduction of group sizes, price changes, exclusivity, buyouts, and more.  For this you will just have to send us your contract in advance so we can touch upon the key elements that make it binding.
  4. Q&A: Here is you and your team’s chance to ask a lawyer your question.

To schedule your complimentary Lunch & Learn, call The Miami Law Firm at 786-454-2411 or email us at .  Just mention the Legal Lunch & Learn for Hotels and we will set you up right away.

We look forward to meeting you and your team, and hope this might help you reduce legal worries and protect you from unneeded litigation expenses.

Oh, did we mention that we won’t pitch you our services?  We will just leave you with a business card so you can call us if you have any further questions or needs.

Request For Free Legal Lunch & Learn

We are offering a free Lunch & Learn at your hotel for you and your staff. We will review contract essentials and your own teams contract and answer any questions you may have. Yup, its free with no future obligations.