ATLANTA (CN) – A woman claims she checked into a Starwood Hotel to see her daughter compete in a beauty pageant, and checked out with rat-bite fever. Teresa Garmon says a rat bit her while she slept at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, and that hotel employees acknowledged the place had been overrun with rats for 3 months, since a tornado.
Teresa Garmon says she checked into the Westin Peachtree Plaza on July 4, 2008 to see her daughter complete in a beauty pageant.
That night, she says, “plaintiff felt something in her bed, and recalled pushing it away from her. The next morning, and after plaintiff woke up, she saw the dust ruffle on her bed move. She then saw the nose and whiskers of a rodent, specifically a rat.”
Garmon says she complained immediately to the clerk, who told her that the hotel “had had a rat and pest problem since a tornado in March 2008.”
She says the clerk offered to put her into a different room, and she “reluctantly agreed” to retrieve her belongings from her original room, herself.
“Upon entering the room, she observed a large rat with a long tail in the middle of the room,” Garmon says.
Safely situated, she thought, in her new room, Garmon says the clerk told her “that maintenance personnel had ‘eradicated’ the problem.”
But it wasn’t so, Garmon says. “During the remainder of her stay, plaintiff observed and reported to hotel personnel that she saw rats in other parts of the hotel, as well as roaches in the ballroom and spiders in the conference room.
“After plaintiff returned home, she became feverish and achy, had stomach cramps, a sore throat and diarrhea. Plaintiff noticed a sore on her abdominal area which had reddened and was tender and warm to the touch.”
She went to her doctor, who found “two tiny puncture-like wound sites, which were encrusted.” She says the doctor found lesions on her had “and raised lesions across her central abdomen.”
She was diagnosed with rat-bite fever. She says the hotel knew it had a rat problem, and failed to warn her.
She seeks punitive damages from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, and Western Host Inc. She is represented in Fulton County Court by Jeffrey B. Grimm of Atlanta and Jon Brockman of Cumming, Ga.