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

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. 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 communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


  2. 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.


  3. 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, nor does it create, an attorney-client relationship between KaplunMarx, PLLC, Theodor Kapun and any receiver. The information provided on these pages is general only, and you should not act upon this information without consulting with a qualified attorney.


  4. 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.


  5. 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 informational purposes only.No attorney-client relationship has been created hereby. Other attorneys may have different opinions or responses. If you found this response helpful, please indicate Best Answer to Avvo. Thank you.


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

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