Couple sues Marriott after woman's fall in bathtub

Kelly Holleran Nov. 13, 2008, 10:25am

A Jefferson County couple has filed suit against Courtyard Marriott Hotel, its president and its partner, alleging the woman had to undergo back surgery after she slipped and fell in a bathtub at the hotel.

Robin and James Schaaf were staying at the Courtyard in Beaumont on Jan. 17 in room 317 when the incident occurred due to "an unreasonably dangerous condition that existed in the Defendants' bathtub," the suit filed Nov. 6 in Jefferson County District Court states.

When the incident occurred, Robin was 42 and in good health, according to the complaint.

The bathtub was not maintained, and Courtyard and the other defendants should have known about the hazardous condition, according to the complaint.

In addition to her June 25 back surgery, Robin claims she incurred medical costs, experienced physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment and physical disfigurement.

James has suffered the loss of spousal consortium for the affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, assistance, sexual relations, emotional support, love and felicity "necessary to a successful marriage" and lost Robin's household services, according to the complaint.

The Schaafs claim Courtyard; CBM One, its partner; and C. Al Galpern, its president, were negligent because they failed to maintain the Schaafs' tub, failed to provide a safe tub, failed to properly maintain the coating in the tub, improperly placed the bar handle in the tub, created and allowed an unreasonably dangerous condition in the Schaafs' hotel room and failed to properly inspect the hotel room.

In addition the three defendants negligently failed to warn the Schaafs that an unreasonably dangerous condition existed, failed to correct the dangerous condition, failed to instruct the Schaafs on how to avoid the condition, failed to reduce the risk of slipping in the tub, failed to exercise ordinary care to keep the Schaafs' room safe, failed to implement rules that would eliminate the unsafe condition and failed to warn the Schaafs of the dangerous condition, the suit states.

The hotel, its partner and its president also failed to take proper precautions to avoid exposing the Schaafs to the hazardous condition, failed to adequately budget for safety and accident prevention, failed to adequately investigate Robin's fall, failed to obtain consultation from appropriate safety personnel and failed implement rules to prevent the dangerous condition, according to the complaint.

The Schaafs are seeking unspecified compensatory and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, costs, prejudgment and post-judgment interest at the legal rate and other relief the court deems just.

They are represented by Gilbert T. Adams of the Law Offices of Gilbert T. Adams in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Case No. A182-675

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