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I need a PI attorney for injuries suffered at an international hotel in Europe. Can I sue the hotel in the US?

San Francisco, CA |

The international hotel had a faulty lock on my hotel guest-room door. Unbeknownst to me, this meant that my guest-room door, while completely closed and securely shut, nonetheless permitted access from the hallway. As a result, an intruder entered my room in the middle of the night. In defending myself from the intruder, I suffered considerable physical and emotional injuries. I was transported by ambulance from the hotel to a hospital in the European country for treatment and have received numerous medical bills at my US address. The hotel is not being proactive in helping me. If I sue the hotel, which does have many operations in the US, can I file a tort action against the parent corporation in Federal Court in the US (preferably no. dist. of Calif.)? Kindly advise. Thank you.

Attorney Answers 4


I'm sorry that you had to go through this experience, but unfortunately there are no simple answers to your questions. As I think you know, in most cases with international hotel chains, we find that the corporate entity that operates in a foreign country is not going to be the same as the one that operates here. If we sue the U.S. corporation they will argue that they are not liable for the negligence of a related company, and whether they succeed will depend on the specifics of how those companies operate, so unfortunately no lawyer will be able to give you a categorical answer here. Another possibility is to explore whether U.S. defendants are also responsible for your harm. For example, if you booked through a travel agency that knew or had reason to know about previous incidents like yours, there may be an avenue for relief there. Last but not least, depending on the country you were in, it may be possible to obtain reasonable relief by finding counsel there.

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Perhaps, but the structure would need to be investigated

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Jurisdiction challenges unfortunately never have a simple solution. Even if the international hotel chain operates in the USA and Europe, the American entity may or may not be a proper target. Sometimes the local travel agency can be held liable depending on the depth of their involvement in trip planning and any affirmations made in advertising. My office successfully litigated against a local agency for an injury in Turkey under the unique facts of that case. Retain an experienced attorney. This is not the answer to your issue, but here's an article showing how jurisdictional issues even across state lines can be challenging: BLUE LINK BELOW

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.

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If the hotel is a true subsidiary of the chain here in the U.S., I believe that you could file a case in the Northern District of California. I suggest you check Dun and Bradstreet and also look into the quarterly SEC report filed by the chain to see if they identify your hotel as one of their subsidiaries. If so, then you could sue the hotel here. As most of my colleagues have already noted, the defendant will raise many jurisdictional defenses and might make the case difficult to prosecute here and also so expensive, that it would be better to retain local counsel and fight the case in Europe. Further, the civil system in Europe is unlike the US, where we can sue for pain and suffering and emotional distress. In Europe, the emphasis is in rehabilitation of the criminal and in restitution for your out of pocket losses. Almost similar to our system here when you do not have car insurance. Best of luck.

This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.

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