Can a premise liability lawsuit be filed in U.S. court system against an American hotel chain operating in a foreign country?

Asked 9 months ago - Flowery Branch, GA

My mother and I were visiting Dubai in the UAE. We attended a party at a hotel and as we were leaving my mother fell on some broken cement on the plaza outside. The lighting in the area wasn't adequate and we pointed this out to the hotel staff. They blocked off the area and about a month later, the area was repaired. My mother suffered a serious shoulder injury that required surgery. She now has limited range of motion which the doctor said will be permanent. The hotel is a well-known US based chain and the insurer is an American company. Given such, would US courts have jurisdiction over something like this? We filed a claim against the insurance company and they have made a very minimal offer. Since the 2 year mark is quickly approaching, I was worried about statute of limitation

Attorney answers (6)

  1. Glen Edward Ashman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Maybe. Very few hotels are owned by the chain name you see. So that Hilton may be a franchisee, and not owned by the U.S. company. In that case there might be no jurisidiction in the U.S. (where the insurer is doesn't probably matter). Note that the statute of limitations also may not be the same as Georgia's. Frankly, you needed to have seen a lawyer a couple years ago.

    Additionally, you may have a viable claim in the courts of Dubai, which a lawyer there can advise you on.

    Slip and fall cases even here in Georgia are very hard to win. It is highly unlikely even in a good case that an insurer will make a pro se litigant any more than a nuisance offer. In waiting this long, you've made a big misstep, and in dealing direct with the insurer you have made a second one. Call a lawyer ASAP to discuss the issues.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to... more
  2. Jesse Cole Kent

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, thought it MIGHT have to be filed in Federal Court, and I imagine you'd pay through the nose to depose the hotel workers in Dubai. But I'd recommend you file anyway if the deadline is approaching.

  3. Theodor Kaplun

    Contributor Level 16

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Difficult matter, I suggest speaking with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, there will be a lot of digging needed to pursue this claim, best of luck.

    The above answer is for information only; and does NOT constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute,... more
  4. Robert G. Rothstein

    Contributor Level 14

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There are more issues here than u can imagine, for example, although the "main" office of the hotel might be in NY the Dubai location may be owned and/or operated by a local Dubai or other foreign franchisee, which could possibly require you to sue it in Dubai or other foreign location under their laws. That countries' negligence laws are likely to be VERY different than the US laws, if they even have any. If the hotel is, indeed, owned by the "Main" co. located in the US, and your damages exceed $75,000.00 you may be able to obtain jurisdiction over the US company here in the US. additionally, the owner, whether US or foreign, probably contracts with a separate maintenance co. who may also be liable for the incident, but again, under Dubai laws who knows. I suggest you find out the actual owner and operator (could be the same co. or not) and contact an experienced Federal civil litigator for more information. I have had similar cases where the Rules of The Hague Convention were invoked and required specialized knowledge. You will need an experienced atty., do not try to handle this on your own. Best of luck in your endeavor.

    Disclaimer: This response is provided to you by attorney Robert G. Rothstein (404) 216-1422 for educational and... more
  5. David Ian Schoen

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You should be worried. These hotels go out of their way to incorporate different entities, and to intermingle them so it is difficult to find out who the owner of a particular property actually is . Get an attorney before it is too late.

  6. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Perhaps, have one of the above lawyers in your state investigate

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

23,624 answers this week

2,717 attorneys answering

Legal Dictionary

Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.

Browse our legal dictionary