A Tort Causation Puzzler for You

LTB logo

Here's a report of a case filed in New Orleans last month:

Baptiste v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc.; Avenue Plaza Hotel, No. 2011-01688 H (New Orleans 2/17/2011).

Lawsuit for personal injury and negligence. While staying at the defendants' hotel, the plaintiff awoke to a giant roach biting his hand. In an effort to get the roach off, he hit his hand against the adjacent nightstand, sustaining serious injury.

These few tantalizing facts suggest a number of interesting legal issues. For example:

  • Has Plaintiff stated a claim against the hotel?
  • Is his reaction to the giant roach a superseding cause that relieves Defendants of liability?
  • Is the hotel liable for placing the nightstand within arm's reach of the bed?
  • Was it foreseeable that a guest might whack the nightstand due to being accosted by a giant roach?
  • Is the nightstand manufacturer responsible for not designing a safer product that would break apart on impact, preventing serious injury?
  • Should the nightstand have been equipped with an airbag?
  • If the giant roach was Gregor Samsa, can he cross-claim against Plaintiff, the hotel, or the nightstand manufacturer?

Please limit your answer to no more than one blue book in length, although you may use both sides of the page. If you see a giant roach trying to copy your answer, please notify your professor.