Waldorf-Astoria Sued Over Bedbug Invasion

A Michigan woman has filed a suit against New York's Waldorf-Astoria, claiming she and her husband picked up bed bugs at the luxury hotel that later infested their home.

According to reports by Reuters and the New York Daily News, Christine Drabicki and her husband, David, transported the bedbugs to their home in Plymouth, Michigan. According to the lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court, their two daughters also fell victim to the outbreak, and one of the girls suffered an allergic reaction.

"I think it's not fair that somebody can go on a nice vacation and leave there thinking they were violated. I felt like I was taken advantage of," said Drabicki at a press conference.

The Drabickis, who stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria from May 24-27th, claim they noticed bedbug bites after their first night at hotel. At a news conference on Thursday, Mrs. Drabicki said the couple was moved to another room but were not warned their luggage might be infested as well.

Reuters is reporting that as a result of the infestation, the family was forced to vacate their home for six weeks, running up extermination costs of around $4,500. In addition, about 1,000 pounds of clothing had to be discarded or disinfected, running up a dry-cleaning bill of $500. The family is claiming they also spend $3,000 on other cleanup costs.

The family, who said the bedbug infestation "wreaked havoc on us," is seeking an unspecified among as "reasonable compensation." Reuters reported that Alan Schnurman, Drabicki's attorney, said they are seeking money for their emotional distress in addition to reimbursement of fees.

Schnurman said the Waldorf-Astoria has a serious infestation, as well as an obligation to keep bedbugs out of rooms.

"When I check into a hotel ... I want to know that hotel room is safe," he said, according to the New York Daily News. "That's what I'm paying for."

A statement released by the Hilton Worldwide chain, of which the Waldorf is part of, said the room had tested negative for bedbugs.

"The initial room, and the room the family relocated to, both tested negative," read the statement. "Official inspection reports indicated no evidence or indication of bedbugs."

"The Waldorf-Astoria takes allegations of bedbugs very seriously as the safety and well-being of our guests is of paramount importance," it continued.

The lawsuit is the second filed against the hotel concerning bedbugs in less than a month. Another guest from Florida also claimed she was bitten during her stay in September, but has not yet filed a suit.

New York has been hit particularly hard by an outbreak of bedbugs. According to the New York Daily News, there were 404,000 bedbug cases reported in 2009. Outbreaks have been reported at the Empire State Building, the United Nations, Niketown and at Bloomingdale's, among other places.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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