Friday, September 09, 2011

Aria Resort & Casino i Las Vegas in a $ 373 million lawsuit

The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas is experiencing a legal nightmare. Five guests have filed a huge legal claim after supposedly having contracting legionnaire's disease from what they claim is contaminated hot water.
There is nothing wrong in seeking financial compensation but the size of this claim reflects what we all know about the greed upheld by the American legal profession. Aria Resort & Casino face a horrendous $337,5 million financial claim. With this lawsuit in mind, I wonder if I had run a hotel somewhere, whether I would have dared accommodating American tourists.
For those of us fascinated by series as LA law it is easy to forget that much of it is about money, much money, huge sums of money, enough to drive companies bankrupt. Any legal claim may be based on ridiculous incidents, partly caused by plaintiffs lack of awareness or responsibility.
Coffee here was too hot. Photo: Quibik
Photo: As an example of one of these ridiculous lawsuits, I may refer to the legal case Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants. 79 year old Stella Liebeck suffered severe burns while driving her car and drinking McDonalds coffee. She was awarded close to $3 million in compensation based on the claim that McDonald’s coffee was too hot. The court did not focus on the fact that Stella Liebeck kept a cup of hot liquid between your legs when driving - in my mind a highly irresponsible thing to do.
When it comes to the Aria Resort & Casino, I do agree that the hotel need to be prepared to compensate those seriously affected by something as serious as Legionnaire’s disease. The sum involved, however, is completely blown out of any proportion. That each of the plaintiffs could end up with 30-40 million USD each after their lawyers have got their share, seems completely unreasonable. If a smaller establishment had faced such a claim, they would have to fold down for good!
Norwegian hotels house thousands of American tourist every year. I wonder whether they are aware the financial liability they are if something should happen to them while staying in Norway. When I read stories on lawsuits as those facing Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, I seriously wonder whether I would have dared to accommodate them.
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