Monthly Archives: June 2010

Hotel Pool Safety Legal Risks: Hotel Owners Must “Go Above And Beyond” Pool Safety Standards To Avoid “Negligence Per Se” Lawsuits

“…In a Negligence Per Se case, once the plaintiff demonstrates the defendant failed to comply with an applicable statute, it creates a presumption that the duty was breached.”

“…compliance with…statutory requirements alone may not be sufficient to ward off a lawsuit in the event of a swimming pool-related injury because the Swimming Pool Industry Standards recommend safety precautions that go above and beyond the statutory requirements of the building and/or health codes…”

 For example, depending on the size and configuration of the pool(s), the building and/or health codes of most jurisdictions typically require that, at a minimum, the water depth be indicated by signs that are mounted in the pool deck at specified intervals and on the vertical wall in the tile line. Additionally, if there is no lifeguard on duty, then most jurisdictions require a sign advising swimmers of that fact.

For more:   http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3072/is_15_224/ai_n48840673/

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Filed under Injuries, Insurance, Liability, Pool And Spa, Training

Hotel Pool Health Risks: Use Of Chlorine Kills Many Pathogens But Produces Chloramines That Can Cause Respiratory And Ocular Illnesses

“…although chlorine kills many potential pathogens, it can also react with human wastes such as perspiration, urine, skin particles, and lotion in pool water to form chloramines and trihalomethanes. Chloramines may remain in the pool water or volatilize into the air, where they create the pungent smell and acutely irritating properties of air above swimming pools..”

“…an outbreak associated with a swimming pool and attributed to chloramine exposure led to cough or ocular symptoms in > 70% of pool patrons interviewed.  Chloramine levels in pool water depend on chlorine and nitrogen concentrations, pool pH, temperature, and water circulation patterns.

However, chloramine levels in the air above swimming pools are also influenced by ventilation and the pool water chemistry. Indoor pools are likely to be less well ventilated than outdoor pools, so the risks associated with chloramine exposure are likely to differ between indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

For more:   http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info:doi/10.1289/ehp.9555

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Hospitality Industry Employment Risk Management: Costly Immigration-Related Legal Issues Can Be Covered With Employment Practices Liability Insurance Enhancements

With the average defense cost of a single plaintiff suit hovering around $100,000 and the average award at about $500,000 based on lawyers’ anecdotal reports, employment practices liability insurance has become a must-buy policy for most businesses for protection against claims of wrongful termination, sexual harassment, and age and race discrimination.

If the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement opened a costly investigation of your business and employment practices, would the legal costs be covered under your existing employment practices liability insurance policy?

For many companies, the answer is surprisingly no.

When underwritten with the right enhancement, an EPLI policy can also provide valuable protection against immigration-related issues and government inquiries, which have risen dramatically in recent years.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reports:

  • Onsite employment eligibility verification (known as I-9 inspections after the I-9 form required for each new employee) more than doubled in 2009 versus the previous year to 1,069 cases. 
  • Notice of Intent to Fine (NIF) cases have also risen substantially, from 32 cases totaling $2.3 million in fines in 2008 to 142 cases totaling $15.8 million in fines in 2009.

For more:   http://www.property-casualty.com/Issues/2010/June-1421-2010/Pages/Employment-Practice-Issues-Surface-As-Immigration-Policy-Debate-Rages-.aspx

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Filed under Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability

Hotel Internet And Cybercrime Risks: Texas Hotel Management Company Is Targeted By Thieves Who Steal Dozens Of Customer Credit Card Accounts From Accounting System

“…the thieves made off with the credit card information of dozens of customers who ate at various Destination Hotels & Resorts properties, which are located in a total of 15 states…”

The Austin Police Department said thieves hacked intoThe Driskill Hotel management company’s accounting system and stole customer credit card information.

Authorities said they do not yet know exactly how many victims may have been affected, however, locally, police have received about three dozen complaints of fraudulent transactions, averaging $2,000-$3,000 each.

Losses are expected to total hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The United States Secret Service is also investigating.

For more:   http://www.news8austin.com/content/headlines/272023/driskill-hotel-customers-affected-by-credit-card-theft

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Filed under Crime, Insurance, Liability, Theft

Hotel Security Risk Prevention: San Diego Police Initiate Pilot Program Linking Hotel Security And Surveillance Cameras To Police Squad Cars

“…If hotel staff call the police, an officer in a squad car can click the hotel location on a Google map, and immediately see live video from the hotel’s security cameras. Police say this will allow them to see crimes in progress, to see suspects and see which way they’re going when they flee…”

San Diego police have begun a pilot program that gives officers access to security camera video inside their squad cars. Officers see it as the way of the future.

The program is a partnership between San Diego Police Department and the Hotel Indigo, located downtown. If hotel staff call the police, an officer in a squad car can click the hotel location on a Google map, and immediately see live video from the hotel’s security cameras. Police say this will allow them to see crimes in progress, to see suspects and see which way they’re going when they flee. The privacy of hotel patrons was a concern. But Mayor Jerry Sanders said cameras are already a fact of life.

For more:   http://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/jun/02/police-create-web-link-security-cameras/

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Filed under Crime, Injuries, Liability, Risk Management, Theft

Hotel Pool And Spa Water Illness Risks: New Mexico Hotel Pool Is Shut Down After Two People Contract Legionnaire’s Disease (Video)

(Double Click Screen to go to YouTube to view)

The Best Western Inn in Socorro shut down its pool and spa after the state Health Department and the Environment Department said two people who stayed in the hotel contracted Legionnaire’s disease.

The state Health Department lab confirmed last month that water collected from the hotel contained Legionella , the bacteria that causes the Legionnaire’s Disease, spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer told The Independent.

“We did have a couple of people from South Carolina diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease and the likely exposure was the hotel,” Busemeyer said.

Asked to confirm that a third guest, from California, had also fallen ill, Busemeyer said: “I believe so, but I don’t have details on that.”

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Filed under Health, Insurance, Liability, Maintenance, Pool And Spa

Hotel Security And Surveillance Systems: New Jersey Hotel Employee Receives $2.5 Million Settlement From Security System Company After Panic Button Fails To Work During Attack

 “…Vanwell Electronics, the alarm company that installed and maintained the hotel’s security system, agreed to pay Grajales $2.5 million to settle her lawsuit…”

“Vanwell knew for 16 weeks the (security) line wasn’t properly connected and did nothing about it,” said her lawyer, David Mazie, who filed the claim in Essex County because Vanwell also conducts business there.”

Kimberly Grajales was working the overnight shift as a clerk at the Hampton Inn in Carlstadt when a mentally disturbed man climbed over the front desk and attacked her. Grajales managed to push the panic button on the wall, and thought police would soon arrive. No one came.

The silent alarm at the Bergen County hotel had been broken for months, and Grajales ended up struggling with her attacker for 30 minutes before escaping to another guest’s room, where she dialed 911. A hotel surveillance camera captured the 4 a.m. incident, which happened on July 4, 2008. The attacker nearly bit off Grajales’ finger, and the panic button was stained with her blood, local police said.

For more:  http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/06/alarm_company_settles_lawsuit.html

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