Diabetic man dies in hotel room, housekeeper blamed. Defense. Orange County.


Housekeeper saw man lying on floor in his hotel room before his death, but does not report it.

The Case

  • Case Name: Bush v. OHI Resort Hotels, LLC et al.
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Superior Court / 30-2017-00901994-CU-PO-CJC
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, September 06, 2018
  • Type of Case: Negligence
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Ronald L. Bauer
  • Plaintiffs:
    Ellen Bush (widow of decedent)
  • Defendants:
    OHI Resort Hotels, LLC

The Result

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 2 weeks.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 (per defense counsel); 10-2 (per plaintiff's counsel).
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defendants have filed a cost bill of $41,861.76.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Law Office of Eugene D. Locken by Eugene D. Locken and Denise A. Platt Maginn, Lompoc.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Demler, Armstrong & Rowland, LLP by Terry A. Rowland, Long Beach.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Steven V. Edelman, M.D., endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, San Diego.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):

    Peter A. Singer, M.D.,endocrinology, Los Angeles.

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Dennis P. Gemberling, hospitality, San Francisco.

    Darryl R. Zengler, M.A. CEA, forensic economics, Pasadena.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    Gary K. Vallen, Ed.D., hospitality, Flagstaff, AZ.

    Henry Kahrs, C.P.A., forensic economics, Orange.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Christopher Bush, 56, died in defendant’s Anaheim hotel room on February 10, 2015 from diabetic ketoacidosis, six hours after he was seen by a housekeeper lying on the floor.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff contended negligent training by the hotel; that the hotel’s housekeeper should have reported an “unusual” situation when she saw decedent in the morning acting “out of it” and intoxicated and then later saw him in the afternoon lying on the floor making noises.

    Plaintiff’s expert Dr. Edelman testified that ketoacidosis onsets slowly and that decedent was having symptoms for two days. The doctor admitted that sleeping or intoxication and ketoacidosis essentially look the same.

    Plaintiff’s hotel expert testified that the housekeeper was not properly trained to report the guest’s condition and that lying on the floor in the afternoon was very unusual and should have alerted the housekeeper to summon help, particularly after he had appeared “out of it” in the morning.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendants argued that plaintiff’s experts had admitted there was nothing truly “unusual” for the housekeeper to report and that Mr. Bush died because he failed to take insulin, call for help or ask the hotel for a Welfare Check.

    Decedent’s wife knew he was symptomatic but was unable to contact the hotel before he died because he had not left her his itinerary or any contact information.

    Plaintiff’s expert agreed that the standard in the hotel industry is that housekeepers encountering an occupied room are to leave immediately to ensure the guest’s privacy and to protect the housekeeper. Defendants argued that the housekeeper saw the guest for less than one minute, saw nothing unusual to report and left the room per industry standards.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Loss of husband of 30 years, for which plaintiff requested $2,231.909 ($1,231,909 economic and $1,000,000 in general damages). Decedent was an alcoholic and had two prior diabetic incidents where he had been found in time by his wife. She testified that there were no issues in the marriage and that he was her best friend and daily companion.

Demands and Offers

  • Defendant §998 Offer: $250,000

Additional Notes

Decedent’s two adult children accepted 998 offers of $50,000 each prior to trial.