February 7th, 2013
A woman who claimed that she suffered 25 bed bug bites after an ill-fated hotel visit is suing for over $7 million in damages. The Westchester Journal-News reports that Yvonne Rollins, a 56-year-old Spring Valley, New York woman, is suing InterContinental Hotels Group, claiming “negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract,” and saying that the company was obligated to have a “vermin-free” hotel room.
Rollins visited a North Carolina Holiday Inn in October 2012 because she was in the state for a family reunion. She claims that on October 19, she woke up in the room to answer her phone and witnessed “something run across her pillow.” She then noticed what appeared to be bed bug bites on her left arm and hand. The woman also claimed that she saw on her forehead what looked like a “huge hickey.”
She said that when she opened up the pillow case, “hundreds of bedbugs scurried out,” according to the lawsuit. Rollins said she screamed and ran to the hotel’s front desk. A hotel front desk employee then checked out the room, and told her, “Yeah they’re bugs all right.” Rollins was unable to get another room in the hotel – the place was fully booked – but the employee offered new sheets for the bed. She turned down the offer and stayed in another room with one of her relatives.
Lawyer talked about concerns Rollins had
Alice T. Crowe, a lawyer for the plaintiff, said that “this isn’t a case about whether the hotel exterminated.” Instead, she claimed, according to the Journal-News that “this is a case about a hotel’s failing housekeeping practices.”
Rollins said that she has suffered physical effects since the alleged bed bug incident, including a “persistent nervous cough.” She said she also received anti-anxiety medication. In addition, Rollins, a breast cancer survivor, said that a physician said that the alleged attack could affect her recovery; something Crowe said was a “concern.”
The lawyer said that her $7 million lawsuit had nothing to do with trying to negotiate a settlement. “What price would you put on someone’s dignity?” Crowe told the paper.