For the second time in less than a year, the Trump Hotel chain may have negligently allowed thieves to access its guests’ credit card information.
Multiple sources in the financial sector reportedly noticed a fraud pattern which indicated that hackers had accessed credit card information from hotel guests at some, or all, of the Trump luxury hotel properties. When confronted with this development, Trump employees said that “We are in the midst of a thorough investigation on this matter.” Although the hotels did not acknowledge the prior breach until last October, sources indicate that the hotels may have known about the malware breach as early as April 2015.
Several hotel chains – including Hyatt, Hilton, and Starwood properties – have been breached in recent months and years, typically by malware in gift shops and restaurants.
Hotel owners have a duty to protect their guests’ financial information. They also have an affirmative duty to make their property safe for invitees, or people who come to the property by the landowner’s direct or indirect invitation. In addition to paying guests, invitees include participants in a business center meeting, attendees at a conference, and other people who are on the premises for a business reason even if no money changes hands.
In most landowner-invitee situations, the landowner has a duty of care to ensure that the premises are free from hazardous defects like:
- Wet spots on floors,
- Dark or poorly maintained parking surfaces,
- Loose stair rails, and
- Dark or poorly maintained hallways.
Different duties often apply for trespassers, a pejorative term that simply means election workers and other individuals who do not technically have the owner’s permission to visit the property, and licensees, or certain social guests. Some courts have done away with the trespasser/licensee/invitee distinction in favor of a blanket duty of care, but most stick with the common law classification system.
Damages in a landowner liability case often include compensation for both economic losses, like medical bills, and noneconomic losses, like pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages are also available.
Owners have a duty to keep guests safe. For a free consultation with attorneys who protect injury victims, contact our office. Mr. Proner is AV-rated for his legal expertise and years of experience.