SW Legal studies in Business

Hotel Owed No Special Duty to Protect Worker from Person Jumping from Building
Description

A worker walking into a hotel to do some work was injured when a person committing suicide fell on him. An appeals court held that the hotel was not liable to the injured worker as it met safety codes and had no knowledge of the suicide.

Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words

Premises Liability; Injury; Hotel; Suicide

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Keller worked as a cable technician for Cox Communications. He was sent to do some work at a hotel. While entering the hotel. he was struck by the falling body of Lewis who committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the hotel. Keller sustained numerous injuries and sued the hotel for premises liability. The trial court dismissed the claims. Keller appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. The hotel did not owe the cable technician, who was on the job for his employer, a duty to prevent injuries from the body of a suicide victim who fell on him. Unless there is evidence that the hotel had knowledge of a particular location being used for suicides, or the safety railing used at the hotel did not meet code, the hotel violated no duty of care. Here, the hotel used 56 inch high guardrails, higher than the 43 inch rails required by code, so there was no safety violation, and the hotel was not on notice that Lewis was going to kill herself.

Citation Keller v. Menteleon Hotel, ---So.3d--- (2010 WL 2522725, Ct. App., La., 2010)

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