In this week’s article, we examine the case of Henry Mu v. Omni Hotels Management Corporation, Nos. 16-2293, 16-2442 (1st Cir. (2/7/2018) in which the Court noted that “During the early hours of August 24, 2014, an unidentified group of individuals assaulted…Henry Mu (Mu) in the lobby of the Omni Providence Hotel (Hotel) which…Omni Hotels Management Corporation (Omni) operates. Mu sued Omni for negligence. The district court granted summary judgment to Omni, finding Mu’s claims deficient with respect to three elements of negligence: duty, breach and causation. We, however, conclude otherwise (and) we reverse the district court’s order granting summary judgment to Omni”.
Terror Targets Update
In Man ‘mutilated & scalped’ in Paris restaurant by assailants armed with machete and saber, travelwirenews (3/7/2018) it was noted that “A 35-year-old man of Sri Lankan origin has suffered horrific injuries to his head and arm after two assailants, armed with a machete and a saber, stormed an Indian restaurant in Paris’ 10th arrondissement…The victim suffered severe cuts to the elbow and head in what amounted to a scalping”.
England: ‘Punish A Muslim Day’
In Joseph ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ Letters Rattle U.K. Communities, nytimes (3/11/2018) it was noted that “The anonymous letters arrived this weekend in plain white envelopes …and were sent to people in at least six communities in England. Inside was a message so hateful that it sent out ripples of alarm and prompted a national counterterrorism investigation. The message said that April 3 would a ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ and that points would be awarded for acts of violence: 25 points for pulling a women’s head scarf, 500 points for murdering a Muslim and 1,000 for bombing a mosque”.
Justin Bieber Concert
In Teen jailed for life after police thwart terrorist attack on Justin Bieber concert, travelwirenews (3/4/2018) it was noted that “A Welsh teen has been jailed for life for planning a terrorist attack on a Justin Bieber concert. The boy was caught by police with a hammer and ‘martyrdom’ letter, that declared him a soldier of the Islamic State. 17-year-old Lloyd Gunton from Rhodda Cynon Taff was arrested on June 17. He was captured by police on the same day as a Bieber concert and will serve a minimum of 11 years of his life sentence”.
Helicopter Crash Into East River
In Haag & Baker, 5 People Killed in East River Helicopter Crash in New York, nytimes (3/11/2018) it was noted that “The red helicopter carrying six people zoomed over the East River, flying along a popular route for sightseers who want to view he Manhattan skyline…Emergency responders dived into the water to rescue the passengers who were tightly harnessed in and had to be cut out…The helicopter…was flying as a private charter to take photos…A brochure for Liberty Helicopters… says it is the only company licensed to fly within 1,000 feet of the Statue of Liberty on tours”.
Turkish Plane Crashes In Iran
In Erdbrink, Turkish Plane Crashes in Iran, Killing Heiress and 7 Friends, nytimes (3/11/2018) it was noted that “A Turkish business jet carrying eight passengers and three crew members crashed into a mountain in central Iran on Sunday, killing all of board…The plane was carrying the daughter of a Turkish tycoon and seven of her friends on their way back to Turkey…just days after the jet took them to her bachelorette party in Dubai”.
World’s Most Dangerous City
In Los Cabos, Mexican Tourism Paradise Morphs into World’s Most Dangerous City, travelwirenews (3/8/2018) it was noted that “After a dizzying rise in its homicide rate, the Mexican city of Loa Cabos has been ranked as the world’s most violent city…The report states that the northwestern Mexican city at the southern tip of Baja California topped the 50 most violent cities list with a murder rate of 111.33 per 100,000 inhabitants. Caracas, Venezuela, ranked second, with a slightly lower rate…followed by Acapulco, Mexico…another of twelve Mexican cities included in the annual ranking”.
Guaranteed Cure For Cell Phone Addiction
In Indian butcher chops off son’s hand over ‘porn & cellphone addiction’, travelwirenews (3/7/2018) it was noted that “A butcher in India, angered by his son’s addiction to online pornography, has chopped off his right hand as a brutal punishment for the teenager’s refusal to surrender his smartphone. The barbaric incident unfolded near the city of Hyderabad”.
Frye Festival Fraud
In Moynihan, Organizer of Failed Frye Festival Pleads Guilty to Fraud, nytimes (3/6/2018) it was noted that “The Frye music festival planned for last spring, was to be an experience of unparalleled opulence. Held on a private island in the Bahamas, the festival would feature luxury suites, gourmet meals and a series of musical performances headlined by Blink 182. But instead of the extravagant odyssey that had been promised, hundreds of concert goers were greeted by a disorganized mess. Soggy tents. Cheese sandwiches in foam containers. And not only did BLINK 182 never perform; the band’s equipment ended up in customs…the festival’s main organizer, William McFarland, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud related to the festival…that prosecutors said had cost investors $26 million in losses”.
Open Table: Fake Restaurant Reservations?
In Victor, Open Table Says Employee Used Rival Service to Book Hundreds of Fake Restaurant Reservations, nytimes (3/6/2018) it was noted that “Danny Beck, owner of the Pearl’s Southern Comfort restaurant in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood began noticing…no-shows, often at crucial moneymaking times, at an unusual frequency in recent months. Such failed reservations leave tables open for hours, depriving severs of tips and forcing walk-in diners to be turned away. It turned out dozens of other restaurants using Reserve, an online reservation system, were having similar problems with no-shows. And this week, as detailed in a story at Eater, the company said it had discovered the cause: An employee at OpenTable, a rival reservation system that is considered the giant of the industry, had used Reserve to place more than 300 reservations at 45 Chicago restaurants, with the intent of leaving the tables empty. Open Table confirmed that the employee had been fired, insisting that he or she had gone rogue and no one else in the company knew of or directed the plan”. Stay tuned.
More Elephant Tusks & Lion Hides, Please
In Nuwer, U.S. Lifts Ban on Some Elephant and Lion Trophies, nytimes (3/7/2018) it was noted that “The United States has moved to allow hunters to import big-game trophies including elephant tusks and lion hides, acquired in certain African countries with approvals granted on an individual basis. The decision, reported in a memorandum published last week by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, overturns an Obama-era ban on some trophies and contradicts public statements by President Trump, who had endorsed the restrictions. In November, agency officials moved to lift the ban on elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. The new policy supersedes and broadens that decision”.
High Death Rate At Sea Center
In ‘Shocking’: One-in-three animals at Sea Life center died in one year, travelwirenews (3/9/2018) it was noted that “Biologists have branded animal welfare at a Sea Life center ‘unacceptable’ after it emerged that a third of its aquatic species died in a year. It has prompted calls for an investigation into the popular attraction. Some 812 of the 2,293 specimens died at the Sea Life center in Great Yarmouth between 2015 and 2016″.
Fix NYC Buses Too, Please
In Nir, As Subway Crises Take Up ‘So Much Oxygen’ the Buses Drag Along, nytimes (3/8/2018) it was noted that “While the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is undertaking a widely promoted $836 million emergency plan to reverse the New York subway’s precipitous slide, as equally consequential crisis has been brewing aboard the city’s public buses, which provide more than 750 million rides a year and reach places that are not close to a subway line. Despite the city’s growing population, bus ridership has been slipping, declining about 14 percent between 2016 and 2017…with commuters shifting to the faltering subway, bicycles or ride-hailing apps like Uber”.
Los Angeles: Bread Paradise?
In Marx, Los Angeles, Once Gluten’s Heart of Darkness, Emerges as Bread Paradise, nytimes (3/7/2018) it was noted that “The Los Angeles area, for all of its culinary diversity, has not historically been thought of as a haven for bread lovers…’I can remember a time when L.A. was the heart of darkness, the no-carb central’ said Zack Hall, the owner of Clark Street Bread (which) Mr. Hall founded in 2014…is one of several bakeries that have helped greater Los Angeles emerge over the past few years an unlikely bread paradise. In kitchens from Venice to Pasadena, bakers are milling their own flour, experimenting with wild yeasts, fermentation, and ancient grains, and turning out loaves that rival those in New York or San Francisco”.
Danish Submarine Man Goes On Trial
In Anderson, Danish Inventor Accused of Murdering Kim Wall Goes on Trial, nytimes (3/8/2018) it was noted that “It took three detection dogs trained to search on water, an oceanographer and a team of military divers to find the body of the Swedish journalist Kim Wall in the bay off Copenhagen after she went missing on Aug. 10. On Thursday, the man accused of killing and dismembering her in his self-built submarine went on trial…prosecutors have charged him with premeditated murder, sexual assault, indecent handling of a body and other crimes”. Stay tuned.
Airbnb In New York City
In Boone, What Airbnb did to New York City, msn (3/10/2018) it was noted that “There are two kinds of horror stories about Airbnb. When the home-sharing platform first appeared, the initial cautionary tales tended to emphasize extreme guest (and occasionally host) misbehavior. But as the now-decade old service matured and the number of rental properties proliferated dramatically, a second genre emerged, one that focused on what the service was doing to the larger community: Airbnb was raising rents and taking housing off the rental market. It was supercharging gentrification while discriminating against guests and hosts of color. And as commercial operators took over, it was transforming from a way to help homeowners occasionally rent out an extra room to a purveyor of creepy, makeshift hotels…a recent report by David Wachsmuth, a professor of Urban Planning at McGill University, zeroes in on New York City…Their conclusion:…Wachsmuth found reason to believe that Airbnb has indeed raised rents, removed housing from the rental market and fueled gentrification-at least in New York City”.
Panama: Trumps Won’t Leave
In Semple, Protess & Eder, Thugs, Leeches, Shouting and Shoving at Trump Hotel in Panama, nytimes (3/3/2018) it was noted that “The Trump International Hotel and Tower here is Presidents Trump’s only hotel property in Latin America. At 70 stories, it is the tallest building in Panama, offers sweeping views of Panama Bay and features five indoor swimming pools. The rooms come with Trump branded bathrobes, stationary ad mouthwash. But in recent days, guests have witnesses a decidedly less glamorous side of the operation: Yelling and shoving matches involving security personnel and others, the presence of police in Kevlar helmets and various interventions by Panamanian labor regulators, forensic specialist and a just of the peace. The course of the drama. The businessman who recently purchased a majority stake in the hotel wants the Trumps out. And the Trumps, who have a long-term contract to manage the property are refusing to go. In a letter marked ‘Private & Confidential’ to the hotel’s other owners, the businessman, Orestes Fintikis, likened the Trumps to leeches who had attached to the property ‘draining our last drop of blood’.”
The Tipping Equation
In Einhorn & Abrams, The Tipping Equation, nytimes (3/12/2018) it was noted that “The balancing act plays out every day in restaurants across America: Servers who rely on tips decide where to draw the line when a customer goes too far. They ignore comments about their bodies. Laugh off proposals for dates and deflect behavior that makes them uncomfortable or angry-all in pursuit of the $2 or $20 tip that will help buy groceries or pay the rent…Their workplaces are casual environments where alcohol lightens the mood and erodes boundaries. A ‘customer is always rights’ ethos often tilts the equation-creating the kind of power imbalance that has become front and center in a broader conversation about sex and gender in the workplace. In interviews, more than 60 servers and bartenders…shared stories of crude comments, propositions, groping and even stalking from customers. They work in diners, chain restaurants and high-end dining establishments, and they reported hourly take home pay ranging from $8 to more than $40”.
Uber & Lyft Minimum Wage: $3.37
In Tesema, Uber CEO slams MIT after study on ride-hailing minimum wages, travelwirenews (3/3/2018) it was noted that $3.37. That’s the meager median wage Uber and Lyft drivers make per hour, according to a paper published by MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research that surveyed over 1,000 drivers in the United States. The study made headlines last week, revealing that the cost of insurance, fuel and car maintenance all played a major impact on why those who drive for ride-share companies do not meet the minimum wage. Despite the compelling findings, Uber’s CEO Dana Khosrowshahi is refuting the study’s results himself, on Twitter of all places”. The MIT Paper is Zoepf, Chen, Adu & Pozo, The Economic of Ride-Hailing: Drive Revenue, Expenses and Taxes (online at ceepr.mit.edu/files/papers/2018-005-Brief.pdf) (“Results show that per hour worked, median profit from driving is $3.37/hour before taxes, and 74% of drivers earn less than the minimum wage in their state. 30% of drivers are actually losing money once vehicle expenses are included. On a per-mile basis, median gross driver revenue is $0.59/mile but vehicle operating expenses reduce real driver profit to a median of $0.29/mile. For tax purposes the $0.54/mile standard mileage deduction in 2016 means that nearly half of drivers can declare a loss on their taxes. If drivers are fully able to capitalize on these losses for tax purposes, 73.5% of an estimated U.S. market $4.8B in annual ride-hailing profit is untaxed”). ceepr.mit.edu/files/papers/2018-005-Brief.pdf
Keep Digging In Rome, Please
In Povoledo, Rome’s Subway Project Keeps Digging Up Archaeological Marvels, nytimes (3/7/2018) it was noted that “For archaeologists, the excavation of Rome’s newest subway line has been the gift that keeps on giving. Two years after a second-century military barracks was found during the excavation of the Amba Anadam station, archaeologists last week presented the remains of a richly decorated domus, or house, that they believe belonged to the commander of the military post…’we didn’t imagine that we’d find a house with a central courtyard’, a fountain and at least 14 rooms”.
Movie-Themed Vacation, Anyone?
In Vora, How to Plan a Movie-Themed Vacation, nytimes (3/8/2018) it was noted that “Whether it’s the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy in New Zealand or ‘Roman Holiday’ in Rome, many noteworthy movies are filmed in appealing locales all over the world that travelers want may want to visit and enjoy…If there’s a movie you love, you can find out where it was filmed by looking at the credits at the end of the film and by going online to The internet Movie Database, also known as IMDB which often lists filming locations. Once you know the locale you can start planning your trip…There are even some books available on movies shot in certain destinations such as The Hawaii Movie and Television Book and New York: The Movie Lover’s Guide”.
Ban Plastic Straws, Please
In Victor, Bans on Plastic Straws in Restaurants Expend to More Cities, nytimes (3/3/2018) it was noted that “The latest is Malibu, Calif. Before that came Seattle; Davis and San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and Miami Beach and Fort Myers, Fla. They’re all cities that have banned or limited the use of plastic straws in restaurants. Straws, routinely placed on glasses of water or soda, represent a small percentage of the plastic that’s produced and consumed but often end up on beaches and in oceans. Advocates said laws aimed at cutting back on the use of plastic straws can help sour more significant behavioral changes”.
In Corinthia Palace Hotel Malta goes straw-free, travelwirenews (3/8/2018) it was noted that “Continuing its planet-friendly policies, Corinthia Palace Hotel in Malta is straw-free as of today. The move follows the planned EU legislation being introduced before the summer to ban single-use plastics”.
No Dancing, No Swaying, Please
In Youssef, No Dancing, No Swaying: Saudi Pop Concert Comes With Warning, nytimes (3/8/2018) it was noted that “The concert seemed like it would be another adventurous step for ultraconservative Saudi Arabia: a pop star famous for lively love songs performing in a kingdom where, until recently, public concerts were prohibited. But that was before the tickets went on sale, and buyers saw the terms and conditions. ‘Dancing is strictly prohibited during the concert’, the tickets stated in fine print. Also banned: ‘Swaying’”. Enjoy.
Bag Of Severed Hands Found In Khabarovsk
In Horror in Khabarovsk: Dozens of cut-off limbs found dumped in the snow, travelwirenews (3/8/2018) it was noted that “A bag with 52 severed hands was found on a river island outside the city of Khabarovsk, in Russia’s Far East. Investigators say the gruesome find was not the work of a rampant serial killer, but the result of unlawful negligence…Some of the more gruesome versions included, in particular, ritual killings, cannibalism and human organ trafficking”.
Uber $50 Surcharge In New York City?
In Hu, If Your Uber Ride Cost an Extra $50, Would You Still Take It?, nytimes (3/7/2018) it was noted that “With Uber and Lyft cars taking over Manhattan streets, a state task force has proposed a surcharge of $2 to $5 on rides in for-hire vehicles as part of a broader congestion pricing plan to keep traffic moving and raise money to shore up public transit…In a new report on Wednesday, Mr. Schaller calls instead for charging all for-hire vehicles-including yellow taxis and Uber and Lyft cars-$50 per hour to drive in Midtown Manhattan during weekday business hours and $20 per hour in Lower Manhattan, the Upper West Side and Upper East Side…’It takes high parking fees to really discourage people from driving into Manhattan’…’Uber and Lyft and taxi passengers need the same price signals’”. Stay tuned.
Big Trouble At Dinokeng Game Reserve
In After the death of a woman and a female elephant, Dinokeng Reserve has a lot to answer for, travelwirenews (3/5/2018) it was noted that “All is not well at the Dinokeng Game Reserve in Gauteng. As the reserve weathers the furious storm of criticism after a lion belonging to local owner Kevin Richardson killed a young woman, accusations have been leveled at the reserve over its handling of elephants. The Elephant Specialist Advisory Group (has) criticized Dinokeng management for administering a controversial vaccine, typically used to suppress musth, to one of its young elephant bulls…The recent death of an elephant cow, misidentified as a bull elephant during a collaring operation, had further baffled specialists working with the reserve”.
Travel Law Case Of The Week
In the Mu case the Court noted that “Mu lived in ‘The Residences’, a luxury condominium complex adjoined to the Hotel. As the owner of a condo at The Residences, My enjoyed access to a number of the Hotel’s services and amenities, including the fitness center and valet parking service. As a result, Mu visited the Hotel on a near-daily basis”.
Rowdy Teenagers On 25th Floor
After receiving reports of loud teenagers “smoking pot in the next room”, “two Hotel security guards knocked on the door of room 407 where they encountered approximately individuals inside. The room’s registered guest was not among these individuals” and were evicted and escorted off the premises. “During this time, the Hotel’s valet, Danny Lebron (Lebron)…watched the group leave (and return to the Hotel’s driveway with a case of beer and) ‘were being rowdy’…Lebron watched a fight break out between members of the group ‘with punches thrown and much shouting’. After the fight had concluded, Mu came down from his condominium to the Hotel’s driveway to wait for his girlfriend…Mu chatted with Lebron (and) observed a ‘bunch of kids’ coming in and out of the front door to the Hotel’s lobby…The target of the group’s harassment ultimately walked away…out of Mu and Lebron’s sight but the group pursued him. Mu told Lebron to go get help, but Lebron responded ‘[T]hat’s not my problem’…Lebron then left to park a car and Mu, fearing for his own safety, made towards the Hotel’s lobby. Mu entered the lobby (and) informed the concierge that the group was fighting outside and told her that she needed to eject them…and call the police. The group then confronted Mu and began to punch, shove and kick him. Mu estimates that between five and seven members of the group participated in attacking him. Ultimately, two members of the group held him down and a third threw a table at him…a doctor later diagnosed Mu with a broken arm”.
Omni’s Duty Towards Mu
“In Rhode Island, the existence of a legal duty is a pure question of law (consisting of) five relevant factors (1) the foreseeability of harm to the plaintiff, (2) the degree of certainty that the plaintiff suffered an injury, (3) the closeness of connection between the defendant’s conduct and the injury suffered, (4) the policy of preventing future harm and (5) the extent of the burden to the defendant and the consequences to the community for imposing a duty to exercise care with resulting liability for breach”.
“Among the factors to this analysis, foreseeability is the ‘linchpin in determining the existence of any duty’…and to be clear ‘the specific kind of harm need not be foreseeable as long as it was foreseeable that there would be harm from the act which constituted the negligence, provided it was foreseeable that there would be violence toward others’…Hotel security evicted from the premises a group pf youth whose partying had caused a disturbance. This group then obtained a case of beer and returned to the Hotel’s driveway, where valet Lebron could see them. A fight then broke out among the members of the group….During this time, members of the group-despite their previous eviction – circulated in and out of the Hotel’s lobby. The group’s unruly behavior ultimately reached its crescendo when two of its members held Mu down while a third threw a table at him…While Mu’s ultimate injury may have been unforeseeable at the time of his attackers’ eviction, this certainly changed after a fight broke out within the group…An observer of this sequence of events would not be shocked to discover that the group ended up getting in an altercation with someone in the Omni’s lobby…the harm (Mu) suffered was reasonably foreseeable to Omni”.
Standard Of Care, Breach & Causation
“Mu also challenged the district court’s conclusion that he provided insufficient evidence to establish the applicable standard of care and Omni’s breach of that standard. ‘In a negligence case, a plaintiff must ‘establish a standard of care as well as a deviation from that standard’…In the premise liability context, an owner or possessor must ‘exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons reasonably expected to be on the premises’…This includes ‘protect[ing] against the risks pf a dangerous condition existing on the premises, provided the landowner knows of, or by the exercise of reasonable care could have discovered, the dangerous condition’. Finally, under Rhode Island law, expert testimony is not necessary to establish the relevant standard of care when the standard would be obvious to a layperson”.
Sufficient Issues Raised
“First, Mu maintains that after the initial call complaining of a loud party involving teenagers smoking marijuana, the employees who took that call should have called the; police, rather than merely dispatching hotel security. Second, after evicting those teenagers, Mu contends that the security should have ‘(stayed) around to ensure no further issues arose’ rather than returning to the Omni. Third, Mu argues that Lebron should have called either hotel security or the police-as Mu urged him to do-after witnessing both the fight that broke out among the recent evictees and that group’s aggressions towards a pass-by. Mu also contended before the district court that the Omni should have had a security guard stationed in the lobby. These arguments certainly have the effect of creating a dispute of material fact as to whether Omni adhered to the proper standard of care. Contrary to what the district court held, a jury would have plenty to consider in deciding what Omni ‘should have done’ and whether it did enough”.
“In light of his arguments as to the standard of care and the steps Omni should have taken to adhere to that statement, Mu has brought forth enough to create a dispute of material fact as to causation. Reasonable minds could be satisfied that were it not for Omni’s alleged negligence, the events of the early morning in question would not have culminated in the Omni’s recent evictees throwing a table upon Mu inside the Hotel’s lobby”.
The author, Thomas A. Dickerson, is a retired Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department of the New York State Supreme Court and has been writing about Travel Law for 42 years including his annually updated law books, Travel Law, Law Journal Press (2018), Litigating International Torts in U.S. Courts, Thomson Reuters WestLaw (2018), Class Actions: The Law of 50 States, Law Journal Press (2018) and over 500 legal articles. For additional travel law news and developments, especially, in the member states of the EU see IFTTA.org.
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