Jim Boyle Aug. 25, 2014, 6:42am


A New Jersey man says that the owners, licensors and operators of a Cumberland

County hotel are liable for the conditions that led to his slip in one of the hotel's showers and subsequent head injury, according to a personal injury lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Frank Ristagno, of West Deptford, N.J., seeks more than $150,000 for each of the four counts of negligence filed against Hilton Worldwide, Inc., which granted the franchising rights for a Hampton Inn in Carlisle, Pa., to co-defendant Hersha Hospitality Trust in 2000. Hersha sold the franchise to Starwood Capital Group in 2011, but both entities have been held responsible for the 2012 incident.

According to the complaint, on Aug. 26, 2012, Ristagno was staying as a guest at the Hampton Inn on Harrisburg Pike in Carlisle, Pa. While taking a shower, he slipped on the floor, banging his head against the wall and briefly losing consciousness, the claim says.

Court documents say that Ristagno went to the nearby hospital with internal bleeding and a concussion, resulting in memory loss, headaches and negative effects to his vision and motor functions. The injury has also forced Ristagno to take on increasing medical expenses while experiencing a loss in potential earned income due to his diminished capacities.

The plaintiff says that the hotel franchisers are to blame for the injury because there were no bath mats or slip-preventing pads placed on the shower floor. All parties are deemed negligent by the complaint because that regular inspections of the facilities would have shown the lack of slip-prevention, meaning that the management company approved of the shower's hazardous condition.

The complaint says that Ristagno sent correspondence to the management companies announcing his intention to file suit. According to the claim, some time after the fall, the bathroom had been updated and repaired to prevent another accident. This action by the hotel, the complaint says, was a willful attempt to cover up evidence of the hazardous condition that caused Ristagno's injury.

Ristagno's wife, Mary Ann, has also sued all parties for loss of consortium, saying she has been denied her husband's companionship. She also seeks damages in excess of $150,000.

The plaintiffs are represented by Michael DiGenova of Badey, Sloan & DiGenova.

The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-04894-JHS.

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