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Security Guard and Hotel Guest Altercation

Dillon Bracken went to a restaurant at a resort hotel on New Year’s Eve. Bracken did not know that the restaurant was reserved for a private party and closed to the public. Bracken alleged that a security guard in plain clothes grabbed him by the shoulder when he attempted to enter the restaurant and told him that he could not enter. Bracken claimed he thought that the guard was a drunken patron, and allegedly tried to avoid a fight. Several other security officers arrived. Bracken alleged that he was unlawfully restrained, photographed and injured by the security officers. Bracken was given a trespassing warning and told to leave the premises. Because his motorcycle was parked in the hotel’s parking lot, Bracken had to send his female companion to retrieve the motorcycle. The female companion attempted to bring the bike to Bracken, but in doing so, the motorcycle fell against a car and caused damage to it. Hotel security officers were again called to investigate.
Bracken ran to his motorcycle, jumped on and sped away. One of the security officers claimed that he was dragged several feet by Bracken’s motorcycle and was injured as a result.
Bracken sued the hotel for the alleged injuries he sustained during the altercation with the hotel security officers. The hotel filed a counterclaim against Bracken for reimbursement for workers’ compensation benefits paid to the guard who was allegedly injured when dragged by Bracken’s motorcycle.
Bracken filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the hotel’s counterclaim. The federal district court denied Bracken’s motion for summary judgment. The district court concluded that a jury must decide, based on witness testimony, whether Bracken recklessly caused injury to the hotel guard when he sped off from the hotel on his motorcycle. There were different accounts of the circumstances, and as a result the district court held that summary judgment was inappropriate.
In this case the court only considered the hotel’s counterclaim that the plaintiff breached his duty to operate his motorcycle safely and therefore whether he may be liable for injuries suffered by the hotel’s security guard. Although the court did not reach the issue of potential liability on the part of the hotel, businesses that employ security guards should properly train and supervise them on how to diffuse tense situations such as the one described here.
Security Law Newsletter, published monthly by Strafford Publications, Atlanta, GA.,, 800-926-7926, ext. 10, Bracken v. Kyo-Ya Hotels & Resorts, No. 11-0784, U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, Jan. 25, 2013.
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