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Appeals court clears hotel in guest's death outside

July 31, 2012

The family of a hotel guest who died after falling and hitting his head outside on a cold night may not proceed with a wrongful death suit against the hotel, the Court of Appeals held in a ruling Tuesday.

The court affirmed a Marion Superior Court ruling that granted summary judgment to the defendants in The Estate of K. David Short by Judith Y. Short, Personal Representative v. Brookville Crossing 4060 LLC d/b/a Baymont Inns & Suites and MPH Hotels, Inc. d/b/a Baymont Inns & Suites, 49A02-1112-CT-1128.

The estate of David Short sued the hospital after Short, a guest at Baymont Inn & Suites in Indianapolis, left through a side door at some point after 11:15 p.m. when only a night auditor was working at the hotel.

At about 3:20 a.m., Short returned to the side door. Security video showed Short appeared to fumble with his key card before collapsing and hitting his head on a wall. He went undiscovered until a maintenance worker arrived at about 7 a.m., and he was pronounced dead at 7:38 a.m.

Short’s cause of death was determined to be complications of acute alcohol intoxication and atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.

The estate argued that an innkeeper has a duty to aid and protect guests after it knows or has reason to know they are ill or injured.

“We conclude that Baymont did not have reason to know of Short’s peril and thus the court did not err in granting its motion for summary judgment,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote in the unanimous opinion.

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