Microtel, one of the many brands owned by Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, is marketed as an affordable yet modern no-frills travel option. Individual Microtels are built from scratch for this purpose and owned and operated by local franchisees.

Below, we’ll talk about some common types of negligence you might experience at a Microtel, and how to tell if you have a potential case against Microtel or Wyndham. If at any point you would rather speak directly with a lawyer, feel free to reach out by phone or chat.

Every Microtel Injury or Illness Is Cause to Examine the Location’s Safety Standards

Most hotel chains try to present an image of unified professionalism. When a guest gets hurt, they’ll often encourage the guest to blame either themselves or bad luck. After all, if a hotel is part of a famous brand, it must know what it’s doing, right?

Not necessarily. Franchised brands rarely live up to their promises of consistent quality. Some locations will almost always be better managed than others.

In 2023, the city of Brandon Mississippi closed down its local Microtel, calling it unfit for human occupancy. Guest reviews from the period shortly before the shutdown consistently describe rooms full of mold, dirt, pests, and bodily fluids, along with nonfunctional air-conditioning in heatwave conditions.

Anyone who got sick from staying there before the closure would be a victim of serious ongoing negligence, not bad luck. Likewise, if you’ve been injured at a Microtel in any other way, it’s worth questioning whether your experience really was isolated, or whether it was just the latest symptom of an underlying problem.

Sometimes, the possible role of unsafe conditions can be much more subtle and ambiguous.

In July of 2022, a man drowned in the pool of a Microtel in Starkville, Mississippi, and had to be resuscitated by a police officer. The last thing the victim reported remembering before the resuscitation was feeling stunned by a slight splash of water across his face, and turning to swim to the ladder.

It’s possible that the man simply misjudged his own swimming capabilities. However, if there was an issue with the chemical mix in the water that contributed to his loss of consciousness, that would be the Microtel’s responsibility. Either way, Microtel could likely have reduced the severity of his accident by employing a lifeguard.

Further back, in 2018, another man slipped and fell on a patch of ice while walking out of a Microtel in Beckley, West Virginia. This is a classic type of accident for victims to write off as “unlucky” or “clumsy.” However, making a reasonable effort to keep walkways free of slipping and tripping hazards is one of the most basic aspects of maintaining safe premises for guests.

Determining whether your particular injury is Microtel’s fault comes down to answering two questions:

  1. Could the Microtel have foreseen a threat to you, based on past events, common sense, or established safety standards?
  2. Were there reasonable steps the Microtel could have taken to keep you safer on its premises?

A good hotel lawyer can help you find the answers to these questions.

Fire Prevention and Preparation Are Core Aspects of Hotel Safety

Fire safety is important everywhere, but the function and design of hotels makes them particularly susceptible to fire-related casualties.

High occupancy buildings with multiple floors are always a challenge to evacuate, and because people sleep in hotels, they’re less likely to notice early signs of a fire without help. Many hotels also have cooking facilities, either in the guestrooms or in on-site restaurants, which are common starting points for accidental structure fires.

Hotel owners should combat these risks with standard fire safety precautions, including:

  • Well-lit and marked evacuation routes
  • Smoke detectors and audible alarms in every guest room
  • Regularly placed fire extinguishers
  • Automatic sprinkler systems
  • Up-to-code construction, including self-closing doors to limit the spread of fire
  • Regular maintenance of any appliances that could cause accidental ignition

Microtel-branded hotels have been involved in several serious fires.

In August of 2019, a Microtel in Maugansville, Maryland caught fire when a spark spread from a third-floor kitchen fan system into the attic insulation.

Just two months earlier, here in Georgia, a cigarette discarded in some garden mulch started a fire at the Brunswick Microtel. That fire also spread to the attic and across the full length of the hotel.

The Brunswick fire was also almost identical to another Microtel fire that happened seven years earlier in Jackson Township, Ohio. In that case too, the fire started in garden mulch outside, and then spread up an exterior wall to the attic.

As with any kind of repeating accident, Microtel has a duty to learn from these patterns to better prevent, contain, and protect against future fires.

A Microtel May Also Be Liable for Criminal Violence on Its Premises

A business’s responsibility for safety doesn’t end with accident prevention. When violence poses a foreseeable threat to a hotel’s guests, just like a patch of mold or a puddle on the floor, the hotel has a duty to take any reasonable steps to keep them safe.

For example, those reasonable steps might include:

  • Hiring security guards.
  • Requiring guests to show ID upon check-in.
  • Using keycards to restrict access to all guest areas, rather than just guestrooms.
  • Keeping common areas well-lit and under video surveillance.

Violence becomes foreseeable when it’s part of a recurring pattern, or when a potential perpetrator has already exhibited threatening behavior toward someone on the property.

So, for example, if an intruder suddenly enters a usually safe hotel and opens fire, the hotel might not be liable. But if the hotel was operating without basic security in a crime-prone neighborhood, or if the shooter first spent a while getting belligerently drunk in the hotel bar without being cut off, then the hotel would share responsibility for the outcome.

Microtels have had some extremely serious violent incidents in the past couple years alone, particularly against women.

On Christmas Eve of 2022, at the Microtel in Brookhaven, Georgia, police responded to reports of a shooting and arrived to find a woman dead, and a man with a nonfatal gunshot wound to his head from an apparent murder-suicide.

A month later, another man was arrested for fatally shooting his girlfriend at a Microtel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There was also another Microtel shooting in North Carolina just three months after that, over in Charlotte, but no information about the victim or suspected motive was released.

In January of 2024, police responded to a domestic violence call from a Microtel in Dickson City, Pennsylvania. The suspect barricaded himself in a room, threatening to stab police if they tried to arrest him. It turned out that he was already wanted in Texas for more domestic violence.

Most recently, in April of 2024, a man started a fire in his third-floor Microtel room in Bowling Green, Kentucky, jumped out of the window, and ran back in through the lobby. Once there, he broke a glass panel shielding the front desk and chased the clerk outside. He only stopped when she pulled a gun on him. First responders found two bags of meth on his person.

If you have also been affected by crime at a Microtel, your lawyer can help you identify opportunities the hotel might have had to predict and prevent the incident before it happened.

Microtels That Allow Sex Trafficking Are Liable for the Harm They Cause

Sex trafficking is a form of criminal violence that’s arguably foreseeable in any hotel. This illegal industry is so widespread, and so intertwined with the hospitality industry, that there’s really no excuse for any hotel owner to ignore the possibility that it could happen under their roof.

As with any major hotel brand, sex trafficking has happened at Microtels, many times.

Back in the summer of 2017, a man was caught trafficking a 16-year-old runaway girl out of a Microtel room in Raleigh, North Carolina. The officers who arrested him were actually following up on a previous sex trafficking charge against him, involving another minor.

Back then, it was unusual for hotels to be held legally accountable for their role in sex trafficking, but thankfully, that changed with a wave of cases against almost every major hospitality company, starting in 2019.

Plenty of Wyndham-branded properties have come up in sex trafficking lawsuits so far, including at least one Microtel, right here in Atlanta. According to the plaintiffs, a sex trafficker was granted control of the entire third floor for years, along with use of the banquet room to photograph victims, and the lobby computer to update sex ads. He allegedly paid the staff with cash or drugs to act as lookouts.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately dismissed that case in 2021, but only because it was filed against the Wyndham company itself, which the court ruled was not responsible for the behavior of its franchisee in this instance. The judges noted that the individual Microtel franchise owners would not have been covered by the same protection from the plaintiff’s claims.

This was not the last sign of sex trafficking on Microtel properties.

In December of 2022, a police sting led to the arrest of 17 men and the rescue of four sex trafficking victims at a Microtel in Canton, Ohio.

Then, in July of 2023, two people were caught on camera, and seen by witnesses, dragging a woman by her hair out of a Microtel lobby in Henrietta, New York. Reports vary on whether it was an employee or a guest who called 911, but police were eventually able to find the victim and two suspects, both of whom were charged with sex trafficking.

If you have ever engaged in commercial sex acts while underage or under any form of coercion, you have the right to collect compensation from anyone and everyone who knowingly enabled or profited from your exploitation. A Microtel whose staff cooperated with your trafficker for money would definitely qualify.

What to Do If You’ve Been Harmed at a Microtel

When you’ve been hurt or lost a loved one, and you believe someone else’s negligence may be to blame, having a talk with a lawyer should be high on your priority list. Depending on the details, the time limit to file your suit may be as soon as two years after the incident, and every day that passes increases the difficulty of proving exactly what happened.

As soon as you’ve removed yourself from immediate danger, gotten medical care, filed a police report if necessary, and put any evidence you have in a safe place, it’s time to start looking for a lawyer who handles hotel lawsuits in your area.

Don’t allow Microtel or Wyndham representatives to pressure you into making a statement or entering into a dialogue without a lawyer to protect your interests.

The Stoddard Firm has experts in hotel premises liability, including negligent security, sex trafficking, personal injury, and wrongful death.

We’re passionate about holding rich companies like Wyndham accountable when they prioritize profits over human health and safety, but even more passionate about making sure our clients get the compensation they need to rebuild their lives as completely as possible.

We’ll go over your case with you and discuss your chances of successfully suing Wyndham. Franchised business structures do insulate big brand owners against most liability for what actually happens on the premises bearing their names, but not all of it. We’ll also talk about other possible defendants for your case, including the owners of the franchise where you were hurt. Though they may not be international megacorporation like Wyndham, most hotel franchise operations are still significantly sized businesses in their own right, and carry liability insurance that may be able to cover some or all of your expenses.

To get started discussing your case with a lawyer, reach out any time at 678-RESULTS, or through our online chat function, 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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