Generally, one is not liable for the crimes or acts committed by another. However, liability may attach if the hotel’s response to crime or wrongful act is negligent. For example, often, elevators and escalators in hotels are maintained by third-party vendors who install them. In one such instance, Hyatt Corporation, who was leasing an esca lot from a company, was held liable for injuries sustained by a hotel guest when the escalator’s brakes failed. At the time of the accident, the escalator was turned off and was being used as a stationary stairway. Nevertheless, it began moving rapidly downward, hurling the hotel guest onto the lobby floor. The guest suffered significant bodily injury. While Hyatt Corporation argued that they were not liable since they did not have custody or control of the escalator, the court disagreed. The trial court found that due to the problem with its brakes, the escalator created an unreasonable risk of injury to others. The court also found that under the lease between the escalator installation company and Hyatt, Hyatt had assumed custody of the escalator. The trial court further found that Hyatt paid a separate company to maintain the escalator and it considered this evidence of Hyatt’s control over the maintenance of the escalator.
As a result of the above findings, the trial court awarded the injured party $67,500 for disability, pain and suffering, and mental anguish; $10,000 for loss of enjoyment of life; and $3,898.52 for past medical expenses.