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Tort/Negligence – Wrongful Death – Innkeeper’s Duty – Complaint Calls – First Impression

Tort/Negligence – Wrongful Death – Innkeeper’s Duty – Complaint Calls – First Impression

In a case of first impression, we consider the duty of a defendant-hotel to respond to a guest’s room upon receiving noise complaints indicating that the guest was potentially in need of aid or protection. The guest staying immediately below the decedent’s hotel room, Irvin, called the front desk to report repetitive thuds, stomping and muffled cries for help. Half an hour later, Irvin called the front desk again regarding “sounds and cries for help.” Irvin then called 911, and responding officers found decedent, who was soon pronounced dead at the hospital from blunt force trauma; his mother pled guilty to second-degree murder. Assuming, without deciding, the hotel had a duty to take affirmative action to provide the decedent aid after the front desk received Irvin’s call, plaintiff has not alleged or forecasted evidence as to how the hotel responded to the incident. Thus, plaintiff did not offer substantial evidence of any breach of the hotel’s duty.

We affirm summary judgment for defendants.

Estate of Chance v. Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-573-22, 19 pp.) (Jeffery Carpenter, J.) Appealed from Cumberland County Superior Court (Stephan Futrell, J.) Kelly Renee Brown for plaintiff; Rodney Pettey and Samuel Thompson for defendants. 2022-NCCOA-919


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