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Legal Principles in a Lawsuit Involving a Hotel Guest and a Cleaning Service

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Added on  2019-09-26

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The article narrates a scenario where a hotel guest sues a cleaning service, a hotel, and a cleaning staff member for negligence. It discusses the legal principles of agency, independent contractor, vicarious liability, respondent superior, scope of employment or agency, negligent hiring, and comparative negligence that are being raised in the lawsuit. The article is relevant to law students, legal professionals, and individuals interested in understanding the legal implications of hiring third-party service providers.

Legal Principles in a Lawsuit Involving a Hotel Guest and a Cleaning Service

   Added on 2019-09-26

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Alex is a guest in the Bethlehem Lodge, a small family-owned hotel in the Adirondacks. The summer season is so busy that the Glenmont family, the owners of the hotel, can no longer keep up with all the necessary housekeeping. For the first time, they feel the need to hire help. They contact Becky's Cleaning Service, a local franchise of a nationwide chain that supplies domestic help, and enter into a contract for Becky's to supply a maid every day for the month of August. Bethlehem Lodge will pay Becky's directly, and Becky's will pay the maid. Knowing how picky the Glenmont family is, Becky's chooses one of their best and most experienced workers, Monica, to go to the Bethlehem Lodge. Monica has worked for Becky's for 10 years and has undergone extensive "Beckyification"--she took a course in how to clean a bathroom that included instructions that on a nice day, the most efficient and time effective way (since on most Becky's projects the workers get paid by the hour) to dry a floor was to open a window and let the floor air dry.The first day Monica shows up at the Bethlehem Lodge, Mrs. Glenmont gives her the tour--she gives Monica specific instructions regarding what rooms to clean, when to clean them and how to clean them. Mrs. Glenmont is particularly fussy about the bathrooms--she tells Monica that she wants the bathroom floor scrubbed and then driedwith a towel. Lastly, she gives Monica a "Bethlehem Lodge" shirt to wear over her Becky's shirt--the shirt is a regular T-shirt that has the words "Bethlehem Lodge--Staff" on the front.Monica then goes on her appointed rounds, and her first room is that of Alex. She knocks on the door, Alex greets her, and then he leaves. Monica cleans the room according to Mrs. Glenmont's instructions, except for the bathroom. Instead of getting down to dry the floor, Monica mops it semi-dry, opens a window, turns out the light and leaves the room. Alex returns from breakfast, and, you guessed it, slips on the damp bathroom floor and breaks his leg.As is the norm in the year 2006, Alex sues everyone--Monica individually, Becky's, and the Bethlehem Lodge under a theory of negligence. The trial is proceeding, and everyone is claiming and cross-claiming and counterclaiming. You are assigned to represent THE PLAINTIFF, ALEX. In the lawsuit, the following legal principles are being raised by either the plaintiff or defendant, or both:
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