Given the recent attention paid by clients to local security issues (including the recent and well received Hotel Industry Security Forum sponsored with the Washington Lodging Association – see Ruth Walter’s recent post on this event), I thought it a good time to review the obligations imposed by law on hoteliers and restaurateurs in Washington and Oregon to protect their guests and customers from crimes committed by third parties. In other words, what responsibility does a hotel or restaurant owner have for guests or customers who are injured (or whose property is damaged or stolen) by criminals. As I explain below, the more a hotel or restaurant owners knows about potential criminal conduct at her establishment, the more likely it is that she may be held responsible for not warning and/or protecting her guests or clients against it.
Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.