Hospitality Negligence ( A Hotel’s Duty Of Care To Its Guests/Customers) Part 3

Deborah Warrie

Deborah Warrie

In the last edition, we stopped at one of the elements, to prove a Hotel was negligent, to its guests. We shall proceed, from where we stopped.

Injury or Harm to Guest

The final necessary element is harm. To succeed in a case against the hotel, the guest must experience an injury or some other loss. So, in a slip and fall case involving an obvious safety hazard, the guest must have been injured by the fall. It’s not enough to show that there was a hazard, and that a fall occurred.

Cases wherein the Court has held a hotel liable for negligence.

AGURA HOTEL & ANOR v. DIAMBAYA (2015) LPELR-41696(CA) where the court held thus:

“Section 7 of the TORTS LAW REFORM ACT, CAP. 518, LFN 1990 defines duty of care of an occupier to his visitors in the following words: 1. “an occupier of premises owes the same duty, the “common duty of care”, to all his visitors, except in so far as he is free to and does extend, restrict, modify or exclude his duty to any visitor or visitors by agreement or otherwise. 2. The “common duty of care” is a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there.”

The respondent in this case is a licensed visitor of the appellant, within the meaning of the Act; by reason of him being a guest at the hotel, that much is not disputed. See pages 4,8,18 and 75 of the record of proceedings. It will therefore follow that the appellants owed the respondent a common duty of care, to ensure, at least that he will be reasonably safe in the premises he is licensed to enter. “Negligence is a tort. It is complete and actionable when three conditions are satisfied, these are:- (a) the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff; (b) the duty of care was breached; (c) the plaintiff suffered damages arising from the breach.

In the instant case, the respondent did not establish the conditions for actionable tort of negligence.” U.T.B. (NIG) v OZOEMENA (2007) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1022) 448 at 464. The lift provided by the appellants is clearly a faulty one, by the appellants’ own admission; as it can be “forced open”, if the appellants’ own claim that there was power outage is accepted, along with the warning, also as claimed, the appellants would as a result owe the respondent a duty of care, to sufficiently warn him of any dangers; and a mere warning cannot suffice in the circumstances. Section 74 of the TORTS ACT, CAP. 518 LFN 1990 appellants did not comply with law in the circumstances.” Per MOHAMMED MUSTAPHA.

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