Rita evacuee trips over lumpy rug, sues hotel

David Yates Oct. 10, 2007, 6:18am

Harvey Suites Hotel near Dallas

Frances Chatman escaped the looming dangers of Hurricane Rita only to fall prey to "lumpy" floor mats.

Chatman fled the Golden Triangle and found refuge at an Irving Harvey Suites Hotel, where she was allegedly injured when she tripped over a floor mat. Chatman filed suit against Intercontinental Hotels Group Resources Inc., doing business as Harvey Suites, with the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 5.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Oct. 8, 2005, Chatman was lodging at the hotel during the state ordered Rita evacuation. At some stage in her stay, Chatman was "seriously injured" when she tripped over "loose, tangled, lumpy and not securely fastened…floor mats, rugs and/or carpet."

In her suit, Chatman accuses the defendants of negligence for permitting the hotel's floor mats and rugs "to be loose…and lumpy."

"This condition existed despite the fact defendants' agents knew or should have known of the existence of the aforementioned condition and that there was a likelihood of a person being injured," the suit said.

The suit alleges the defendants are guilty of the following acts of negligence:

Failing to properly inspect and maintain the flooring area;

Failing to warn the plaintiff;

And failing to provide adequate lighting

Chatman is suing for exemplary damages, plus past and future medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, impairment, loss of earning capacity and loss of consortium.

The suit does not state how exactly Chatman was injured.

She is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Michael Walzel.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. B180-480

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