Did Neglect Cause a Hotel Worker to Lose Her Life?

Photo of a Window Covered in Water From a Bad Storm

It was 5:15 am on August 27, 2017 as Hurricane Harvey raged through Houston, Texas. A 48-year-old woman—the director of spa services at a hotel on Buffalo Bayou—received a call on her cellphone. She was told to come downstairs from her third-floor room at the hotel. It would be one of the last things the hotel worker did, and a lawsuit wants accountability for her death.

Was Negligence the Reason a Hotel Worker Lost Her Life?

It took 11 days for authorities to find the body of the 48-year-old spa director. Her body was in the ceiling panels of the hotel’s basement, and the woman’s family said she should never have been there. After receiving a call, the woman rushed down to the building’s service elevator and went to the basement. Minutes later, she called for help because she was stuck in the elevator.

Flooding in the basement and elevator shaft had caused the machine to malfunction. The woman managed to get out of the elevator and into the basement. Her situation steadily worsened after this.

Security camera footage shows the woman wading in waist high flood water and debris before it too malfunctions. It was the last time she was seen alive. Water continued to fill the basement, eventually forcing the woman to go into the basement’s ceiling panels to get air. That air slowly ran out, and the woman lost her life.

The lawsuit filed by this woman’s family says this tragedy should have never happened, and it blames the hotel. Being on the Buffalo Bayou, and having experienced flooding before, the lawsuit claims the hotel should have been prepared for the flood. However, there were no flood plans for the building. The spa director wasn’t even warned of the flooding when she was called downstairs. OSHA has also fined the hotel for not shutting down the elevator during the flood.

Businesses have a responsibility to their employees and customers to be prepared in case of an emergency. If they neglect these safety measures, then these businesses could be held liable. Will this hotel face such consequences? The fate of this lawsuit is now in the hands of district court officials, but others can learn from its filing. The premises liability attorneys at Tilton & Tilton LLP will continue to monitor this case and others to improve the service our clients receive. To find out how our dedication can help your case, don’t be afraid to contact us.

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