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Hotel to Take Lawsuit to Federal Level

When you consider all the things that could go wrong, it’s not hard to understand that hotels often find themselves on the receiving end of lawsuits. That being said, it is rare for a hotel to petition the suit to be moved to the federal level. However, that’s exactly what a hotel in Charleston is trying to do.

The Original Complaint

Before the petition was filed, our story begins with a lawsuit filed by Anthony and Tiffany Lewis on January 15th. The couple, who are from Pittsburgh, say that Silver Creek Charleston LLC is responsible for injuries Mr. Lewis sustained to his head, spine, shoulder, hip and other areas. An unnamed defendant was also cited in the suit.

According to Lewis, these injuries have cost him in ongoing medical care bills as well as emotional distress. Mrs. Lewis also alleges that she has been the victim of financial damage and loss of consortium.

As part of their suit, the Lewises were looking for a jury trial to determine the damages they are owed. The suit was filed on their behalf by attorney Vincent S. Gurrera of Gurrera Law Office PLLC out of Weirton.

On the other side, Silver Creek Charleston LLC is being represented by attorney Benjamin T. Hughes of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown and Poe PLLC out of Charleston.

The Petition

In response, Silver Creek Charleston LLC issued a notice of removal on February 19th. They filed it in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of West Virginia.  For their part, the company is citing diversity of citizenship as their reason for taking the suit to the federal level. The suit also mentions damages in excess of $75,000 as grounds for their plea.

What Is Diversity of Citizenship?

If you’re curious about that particular phrase and how it affects that case, it’s actually fairly simple. It refers to jurisdiction of the federal courts which extends to cases between citizens of different states. In this particular case, the plea is because the Lewises are from Pennsylvania, while the hotel is obviously located in West Virginia.

Whether or not this will actually give the defendant’s any extra help in this case is yet to be seen, though it will most likely stall things until the plea can be responded too.

Other Factors to Consider

From what we know from the filing, it sounds like Mr. Lewis was hurt while on the premises of the hotel. Therefore, the filing to move things to the federal level probably won’t help or hurt their case one way or another. As we touched on at the beginning, these types of lawsuits are fairly common.

In response, Silver Creek Charleston LLC’s attorneys will most likely look to blame the plaintiff’s own negligence for the accident. Otherwise, they may enter into a plea bargain that sees them paying out less for the Lewises dropping some of their complaints.

How You Need to Respond

Should you ever get hurt while staying at a hotel, motel or some other type of commercial property, it’s important that you contact a lawyer as soon as you can. Obviously, your immediate focus has to be on seeking medical attention, but after that, speak with an attorney.

While insurance companies will most likely get involved, even your own aren’t a substitute for getting proper representation on your side. Trying to proceed on your own could also end up doing more harm than good.

It will be some time before we find out if Silver Creek Charleston’s plea will be successful and even longer before we see the outcome of the case, but look for more relevant details to come out soon.