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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Back issues
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Bizarre Accident at|Rotating Restaurant

HOUSTON (CN) - A rotating rooftop Hyatt hotel restaurant trapped and lacerated a 4-year-old girl's foot between the floor and wall, and her parents managed to pull her free just before her foot was crushed by a pole, the parents claim in court.

Dehong Shen and Min Zhang sued Hyatt Corp. and VII/SCH Houston Hotel in Harris County Court, on behalf of their daughter Erin.

The parents say they took their daughter to the Spindletop Restaurant on the top floor of the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Houston for dinner.

"The top floor consisted, in part, of a rotating circular floor with tables on such floor," the plaintiffs say.

The hostess seated them at a table next to a window, with their daughter at an end of the table closest to the window.

"After plaintiffs finished eating the main course, a waiter walked past them carrying a piece of cake for another customer's birthday," the complaint states. "Erin left her seat in order to observe the cake. Shortly thereafter, Erin cried out that her foot was stuck. Plaintiffs discovered that her right foot was caught in a gap between the rotating floor and the window.

"Erin stood with the right side of her body against a handrail, facing the opposite direction as the restaurant rotated forward. She became pale and panicked as she attempted to free herself, crying out that her foot hurt.

"Plaintiffs arose from their seats and rushed to Erin and attempted to free her foot. As the floor continued to rotate forward, Erin's foot was pulled further away from her body.

"Plaintiffs asked a restaurant employee to immediately stop the rotation of the floor, but the rotation never stopped. As plaintiffs continued to try to free her foot from the gap in the floor, a pole, which was part of the handrail, came closer and closer toward Erin.

"After approximately a minute, Erin's parents were able to pull her foot out of her shoe and squeeze it out of the gap in the floor just seconds before the pole contacted her body.

"As a result of the incident, Erin's right foot had several deep lacerations, and the skin on her foot bent inwards towards the lacerations, while the area around the wounds swelled up considerably. Erin was crying in fear and pain."

The mom and dad say the restaurant manager and assistant manager came over to see what happened, and one of them brought ice for Erin's foot.

"The manager immediately called a security guard. Shortly thereafter, a man with a large pistol in open display stood right next to Erin, who was sitting in her father's lap. The armed security guard watched plaintiffs closely without offering any assistance, thereby adding additional emotional distress to the situation," according to the complaint.

"Plaintiffs removed Erin from the restaurant, escorted by the hotel manager and the armed security guard, and into their vehicle. Plaintiffs took Erin immediately to the emergency room of the Texas Children's Hospital in Katy, where she was treated for her injuries and provided medication for pain management.

"The gap between the rotating restaurant floor and the glass window was approximately three inches wide. The gap had no cover; there were no warning signs; and no verbal warnings were given to plaintiffs about the gap in the floor," according to the complaint.

The family seeks damages for medical bills and Erin's emotional distress, which they say is amplified because Erin is "very active in dance, and the presence of the scarring on her right foot has caused and continues to cause emotional distress especially during her dance performances during which her right foot is oftentimes exposed."

They are represented by John Schmude.

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