Days Inn O'Fallon Sued Following Alleged Bed Bug Infestation

BND.com
Thursday, May 10, 2012

A couple from Nashville, Tennessee is suing an O'Fallon hotel for more than $250,000 following an alleged infestation of bed bugs during their stay. The hotel's attorneys are fighting to dismiss the case and the hotel manager says bed bugs are not a problem.

Antwaine and Woodrow Ross allege the Days Inn O'Fallon hotel knew the critters Cinex lectularius, commonly known as bed bugs due to their tendency to be found in bedding, infested their rooms. The suit claims hotel employees did not warn guests of the bugs before they stayed in the hotel from March 19, 2010 through May 21, 2010, according to court documents.

The Rosses seek more than $50,000 from each of five counts, which include claims the hotel violated the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act by concealing the infestation. Days Inn attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss four of the five counts claiming in part that the Rosses "misapprehend what constitutes a nuisance and a concurrent suit to stop an alleged nuisance" and they fail to show the Days Inn acted with "deliberate intention to harm."

Current hotel manager David Boan said the company has a different owner since the Rosses' stayed at the hotel, located at 1320 Park Plaza Drive. He said bed bugs have not been an issue since he began employment with the company in November 2011, but noted the nuisance can be commonly treated.

Bed bugs feed off the blood of sleeping humans, causing itching and bumps to their victims. The lawsuit was filed against the hotel's owner group, Caseyville Hotel Investors LLC, on March 21 in St. Clair County court. The manager of the owner group is Sanjay T. Patel, according to a database hosted on the website of the Illinos Secretary of State. Patel did not respond to a request to be interviewed.

The Rosses allege the bed bugs hitched a ride in their luggage from the hotel to their home in Tennessee. The couple claims the infestation forced them to destroy clothing, furniture, bedding, a mattress, and to fumigate the home. Along with reimbursement for those alleged losses, the couple also claims the infestation caused "extensive emotional distress and loss of sleep" and seek compensation for medical treatment and residual scarring from the bugs.

When the couple complained to the hotel, they claim the property manager at the time and other employees confirmed some rooms in the hotel had bed bugs, according to court documents.

The Better Business Burea has rated the hotel a C+, mostly due to three allegations of bed bug-related issues since 2010. The complaints stem from stays in October 2011, November 2011, and March 2012.

In the October 2011-related complaint, representatives with Days Inn O'Fallon say the company takes complaints of bed bugs "very seriously since it could destroy us in a very short period" and point to a national epidemic of the pests in 2010.

To prevent bed bug issues, the hotel states a program was instituted in 2010 that included:

  • Purchasing special box spring covers designed for bed bugs at a cost of $2,600 a piece
  • Treating each with room approved anti-bed bug powder every three days
  • Any room suspected of having bed bugs is locked down for three days and professionally treated
  • Increasing the frequency of routine monthly extermination services
  • Inspecting 5 to 10 rooms at random during each extermination service and providing a report to management
  • Cleaning each headboard with bleach