Intercontinental Hotels Group, or IHG, may be best known for its Holiday Inns, but the company also own 18 other hotel chains, including the upscale InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

As the name suggests, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts exist all over the world, and the brand is primarily marketed to frequent travelers looking for reliable luxury accommodations. Unlike most large hospitality brands, IHG manages the day-to-day operations of many of its own hotels, although many others are operated by local franchisees.

Below, we’ll go over common reasons you might need to sue an InterContinental Hotel. If you would prefer to speak directly with a lawyer about your case, feel free to reach out by phone or chat at any time.

InterContinental Hotels Have Allegedly Covered for the Crimes of Powerful Guests

No overview of InterContinental’s potentially negligent decisions would be complete without reference to recent events.

A now-infamous piece of surveillance footage recently obtained by CNN, and acknowledged as authentic in a public apology by rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, shows him kicking, dragging, and throwing a glass object at a woman in the halls of the InterContinental in Century City, California. The timestamp on the footage places it in March of 2016, corresponding with an assault accusation from Combs’s then-girlfriend, Cassie Ventura.

Ventura’s lawsuit against Combs for the incident ended with an out-of-court settlement long before the footage surfaced. The terms of the settlement are private, but the complaints contained in the lawsuit are not. In Ventura’s account of events, she claimed that Combs purchased the security footage with a $50,000 bribe, and that the hotel staff urged her to run away, indicating that they’d seen what happened, but still participated in the alleged cover-up.

This was not the first time an InterContinental Hotel has been accused of conspiring to protect a rich and powerful guest at the expense of alleged victims. Former employees of the InterContinental Hotel in Montreal, Quebec have reported that billionaire Robert G. Miller used to have a room permanently reserved for himself back in the 1990s. The hotel’s former director of security claims that Miller would regularly bring underage girls to his room during his stays. Multiple women would later come forward to report being paid or given gifts to have sex with Miller while underage, and being incentivized to recruit more girls.

IHG’s name also came up in multiple consolidated lawsuits against the hospitality industry for enabling sex trafficking back in 2019 and 2020, when such lawsuits first began gaining traction.

Historically, hotel companies have often claimed that what happens on their property is not their business or responsibility, but when it comes to criminal victimization of their guests, this is simply not true. If a hotel’s staff knows, or should know, that someone on the property is in danger or being actively abused, the hotel has a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to help them, including involving the police. Hotels that choose to feign ignorance in order to profit off of predatory guests are liable for the harm caused to victims.

InterContinental’s Upscale Appearance Hasn’t Saved Guests from Preventable Accidents

For guests who have no connection to the famous and powerful, paying for luxury accommodations usually comes with an illusion of extra safety. There’s an assumption that a hotel that charges high rates must be able to afford the best maintenance, the best food, the best experts on managing safe recreation and daily operations.

The truth is, hotels at all price points are legally responsible for anticipating and addressing threats to guest safety, and hotels at all price points can fail in this responsibility.

Back in April of 2002, an 11-year-old boy from Westlake, Ohio died in the pool of an InterContinental Hotel in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, while on vacation with his family. He had gone into convulsions while underwater, and an investigation pointed to an electric shock from a malfunctioning underwater light. There were reports of multiple guests having been shocked in that pool before, and informing the staff, yet the pool remained open and unrepaired.

Ten years later, a 23-year-old man fell down a smokestack on the roof of the InterContinental in Chicago, Illinois. He fell 20 feet and would have fallen over 40 stories had he not gotten stuck. Regardless, he died of his injuries shortly after rescue crews extracted him. The roof was theoretically a restricted area, but the man had reportedly accessed it simply by taking the elevator to the top landing and walking through an unlocked door.

Another four years later, in August of 2016, over 70 people contracted salmonella from the breakfast buffet at the InterContinental in Adelaide, South Australia. The victims included an 8-year-old, a pregnant woman, and a recent organ transplant recipient. More than 20 of them required hospital care. An investigation found raw or undercooked eggs as the source.

If you’ve been harmed by an accident at an InterContinental Hotel, don’t assume that the problem is your own. Speak with a lawyer about what happened and what InterContinental might have been able to do better to protect you.

Victims’ Family Members Have Reported a Lack of Cooperation from IHG

There was another guest accident associated with an InterContinental Hotel back in 2011, one that’s particularly notable in spite of the fact that it didn’t take place on hotel premises.

In July of that year, Donald Nicholas from Charlotte, North Carolina disappeared while on a business trip in Fiji. He was staying at an InterContinental Hotel, and had gone on a guided surfing excursion, organized by the hotel’s in-house water recreation company, Reef Safari. He never made it back to shore, and no remains were ever recovered.

According to Nicholas’s sister, Lisa Ross, the waves that day were much larger than her brother was qualified to handle, and no effort was made to rescue him once it became clear he was in distress.

Most disturbing of all is Ross’s report of how the InterContinental Hotel responded to the accident after the fact. According to her account, the staff were instructed not to cooperate in any way with her attempts to find her brother, the manager greeted her by prompting her to say that her brother had health problems, and she was charged high rates for the use of phone and internet services in her search.

Nicholas’s disappearance never led to legal action, so unfortunately, there’s no official, confirmed sequence of events for what happened to him. Now, nearly 13 years later, it’s likely that no more answers will ever be found.

After any accident or crime on a business’s property, it’s important for survivors not to fall into the trap of expecting that business to be on their side. If you’ve been harmed at an InterContinental Hotel, it’s in your best interests to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible, rather than hope for InterContinental to cooperate with you voluntarily.

Atlanta’s Own InterContinental Hotel Has Failed to Protect Guests from Gun Violence

As we mentioned in the section on InterContinental’s most powerful guests, part of running a safe hotel is protecting guests from foreseeable criminal violence.

It might not be a surprise to hear about upscale brands being accused of protecting their richest patrons at the expense of justice and safety for others. Even so, most guests checking into a luxury hotel like InterContinental assume that the high price tag comes with a high level of general security.

The InterContinental brand has not always met this expectation, however, particularly here in Atlanta.

Recently, the InterContinental in Buckhead saw three seemingly unrelated shootings in the course of less than a year, only one of them connected with a celebrity.

  • First, in December of 2020, emergency crews responded to a room at the InterContinental to find a man who had been shot in the head but was still alive and able to answer questions. Police discovered two shell casings in different parts of the room, and arrested singer songwriter Joann Marie “Ann Marie” Slater, who was staying with the victim. Slater had previously claimed that the gun had discharged accidentally upon falling off a table.
  • Less than two weeks later, a fight broke out at a holiday party hosted at the hotel. It escalated, and one attendee reportedly shot two others.
  • Six months after that, a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed at the hotel. His 29-year-old brother was arrested in connection with the shooting.

Just one shooting at a hotel is horrifying enough, but after that first shooting, the hotel owner can no longer claim ignorance of the danger of gun violence on and around that property. That first incident should be a wake-up call, a signal to hire guards or make other security upgrades that perhaps should have been in place all along.

If you have also been injured by criminal violence at an InterContinental, including the one in Buckhead, your lawyer can help you claim compensation by analyzing the location’s history of violence, and the owner’s response, or lack thereof.

What to Do If You’ve Been Harmed at an InterContinental Hotel

If you’ve been injured, sickened, or lost a loved one at an InterContinental Hotel, you can maximize your chances for the best possible recovery by following these steps as closely as you can:

  1. Protect yourself from further harm — In situations where there’s an ongoing threat, such as an active shooter or an arcing electrical short, getting yourself and your loved ones to safety should be your first priority.
  2. Seek prompt medical care — As well as setting you up for an optimal physical recovery, seeing a doctor soon and often creates a timestamped record of your physical condition, which can be a huge asset in a lawsuit. If your incident doesn’t warrant a response from paramedics, schedule your own medical exam right away.
  3. Safeguard your evidence — In addition to establishing accurate medical records and keeping tabs on your healthcare expenses, you can strengthen your case by preserving any other documentation, such as your reservation confirmation or related texts and emails. If it’s safe to do so at the time, you can also take pictures of the incident site and ask any witnesses for their contact information.
  4. Carefully notify the hotel, if you wish — It’s illegal for a business to destroy anything that it knows might soon become evidence in court, so it can be helpful to notify the hotel of the time and place of the incident. That way, the hotel can’t claim ignorance as a defense for erasing a surveillance video or a reservation record. However, once you begin speaking to a representative of the hotel, it’s dangerously easy to get drawn into an argument, or pressured into making a formal statement that the hotel could use against you. Don’t communicate any more than necessary with the hotel before you have a lawyer, and if you feel uncomfortable, don’t say anything at all.
  5. Reach out to a lawyer with the right qualifications for your case — Ideally, you’ll want to work with someone who’s both conveniently located for you and familiar with the hotel’s area. Most importantly, your lawyer should have experience with incidents similar to yours.

The Stoddard Firm’s particular areas of expertise make us ideally suited to handle personal injury and wrongful death cases against InterContinental Hotels. In addition to Georgia’s laws concerning premises liability, negligent security, and human trafficking, we have experience with franchise law and international litigation. We can help you determine which company owes you compensation, whether it’s IHG itself or a franchise owner. And, even if the incident that harmed you took place overseas, we can navigate the jurisdictional issues and regional differences in procedure to get you the settlement you deserve.

To get started talking to an Atlanta hotel lawyer today, just reach out through our online chat function, or at 678-RESULTS, for a free consultation.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Matt StoddardMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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