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Mathias v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
347 F.3d 672 (2003)
Desiree Mathias, and her brother Burl, (collectively plaintiffs) checked into a Motel 6 owned and operated by Accor Economy Lodging, Inc. (Motel 6) (defendant). During their stay, Desiree complained of being bitten by bedbugs. Burl and Desiree filed suit in federal district court against Motel 6 alleging it knew of the bedbug problem and had ignored it, amounting to “willful and wanton conduct.” At trial, evidence showed that the motel’s exterminating service discovered the bedbugs in 1998 and offered to spray each room for a total of $500. The motel refused and, instead, transferred guests to a different room when they complained of the bedbugs. On other occasions, Motel 6 told guests that the insects were not bedbugs, but rather were ticks. The jury awarded Burl and Desiree $5,000 in compensatory damages and $186,000 in punitive damages. Motel 6 appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)
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