Ricky Bass v. White Lodging Services Corp.

Case No. : 2012 CV 30024

Judge: Scott Crabtree

Trial Dates: January 5-12, 2015

Plaintiff Attorneys: Eric Driskell and Patrick Fitz-Gerald (Driskell Fitz-Gerald & Ray, LLC)

Defendant’s Attorneys: Richard Rediger and Lindsay Jay (Overturf McGath & Hull, PC)

Type of Claim: Premises liability. Defendant White Lodging Service Corporation was the property management company for Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel and the landowner as defined by Colorado’s Premises Liability Act. Plaintiff Ricky Bass was on invitee and registered guest at the Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel on December 16th, 2011. He alleged he suffered permanent loss of vision in his right eye and a torn rotator cuff to his right shoulder when Creighton Spies, a third-party, physically assaulted him outside his hotel room and struck him in the face with a beer bottle. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant knew or should have known that Spies was a danger on the premises and the defendant failed to use reasonable care to protect plaintiff. The plaintiff had made three noise complaints about two “party” rooms across from his room on the eighth floor of the hotel. The defendant denied liability and said it acted reasonably and said it had properly trained and educated its staff which acted in compliance with procedures that were in place. The hotel said it could have not foreseen the danger of the third-party Spies and the hotel staff did not have knowledge that Spies was dangerous. Defendant asserted affirmative defenses of comparative fault, assumption of risk and comparative negligence. Defendant said that the plaintiff should not have opened his hotel room door after he was told that police had been called. The defendant denied causation of the plaintiff’s shoulder injuries. The defendant designated Spies and Kristin Berryhill as non-parties at fault. Spies plead guilty to criminal charges in connection with the assault.

Injuries Alleged: Permanent loss of vision in the right dominant eye, macular pucker in the left eye and full thickness tear of right rotator cuff. Past medical expenses were $76,000 and past and future wage losses were $440,000.

Final Demand Before Trial: $950,000 two weeks before trial.

Final Offer Before Trial: $100,000 statutory offer of settlement two weeks before trial. According to the plaintiff’s attorneys, the defendant also made a $200,000 offer during trial.

Plaintiff’s Expert Witnesses:

James Pruitt, MD (primary care physician, regarding rotator cuff tear, by telephone), Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Moss Fenburg, MD (retina specialist and general ophthalmologist), Durango Colorado

Jeffrey Opp (economist, regarding lost wages)

Defendant’s Expert Witnesses:

Rachel Basse, MD (physiatrist)

Kyle Jacobson, CPA

Margot Burns, (vocational rehabilitation)

Robert Keyser, MD (ophthalmologist)

Chadwick Callaghan (hospitality industry standards and hotel safety), Atlanta Georgia

Verdict: For the Plaintiff:

$440,000 economic losses (lost wages)

$76,000 for economic losses (medical bills)

$760,000 for non-economic losses

$400,000 for permanent impairment and disfigurement

Total: $1,676,000 (gross)

60% negligence charged to the defendant

7% negligence charged to the plaintiff

28% negligence charged to the designated non-party Creighton Spies

5% negligence charged to the designated non-party Kristin Berryhill