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Innkeepers may still lose liability suits



Innkeepers may still lose liability suits



Cornell hotel and restaurant administration quarterly 36(2): 18-19



When a hotel guest seeks to recover damages from an innkeeper based on negligence, that negligence may be established by proving an innkeeper's failure to comply with a statutory or regulatory standard of care. On the other hand, compliance with statutory standards has been assumed to compel a finding of no liability for the innkeeper by the court. But that's no longer true. In this example a trial judge instructed a jury that compliance with the fire code established as a matter of law that the innkeeper had met his duty of reasonable care and thus required a finding of nonliability. But the state Supreme Court, on appeal, rejected that proposition. The high court reasoned that compliance with a statutory regulation does not constitute conclusive evidence of due care: "If the defendants knew or should have known of some risk that would be prevented by reasonable measures not required by the regulation, they were negligent if they did not take such measures.." Now it's more important than ever that innkeepers keep abreast of technological advancements and industry standards, and that they exercise common sense and good judgment regarding mitigating potential injuries to guests, no matter what the local law prescribes.

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