Ouch! Look Out For Bedbugs!

Hoteliers (and their insurers) beware! Bedbugs, long believed to be eradicated, are on the comeback — http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/science/31bedbug.html?_r=1&ref=science! No one is quite certain why the resurgence has resulted, but, regardless of cause, care need to be paid as the cases and suits are hard to defend.

The first difficulty with bedbug cases is that a bedbug bite brings to mind a dirty hotel or establishment. Yet cleanliness (or the lack thereof) does not automatically prevent or cause a bedbug infestation. The second problem is that an accusation of a bedbug infestation always brings bad publicity with it. So a vigorous legal defense might not always be the most prudent business strategy. The third major problem is that most medical doctors are not trained entomologists – skilled in identifying bed bug bites. So, good diagnoses – especially since evidence of the bite is usually long gone before the claim or suit arises – can be hard to come by. Finally, bed bugs can be found in many places including prosecutor’s offices —http://abovethelaw.com/2010/08/bed-bugs-v-brooklyn-d-a-s-office-round-2/ — and second hand stores — http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/weird/Bedbugs-Living-In-Bed-Set-Eat-Woman-for-a-Year-101129784.html. So proving or eliminating causation can be a difficult and expensive undertaking.

But, the bottom line is that, regardless of difficulty, bedbugs are seemingly here to stay — http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-us-bedbug-conundrum,0,6868045.story. Ouch, indeed.

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.