A lawsuit was recently filed against the franchisee of a Quality Inn & Suites hotel in Niles, Mich., as well as Choice Hotels International, the hotel brand’s owner. The suit was filed on behalf of Paula Watts, the mother of 13-year old Bryan Watts, who recently died of carbon monoxide poisoning while swimming in an indoor pool at the hotel. Niles fire officials determined that the death was caused by an improperly ventilated pool heater.
Michigan State Senator Steve Bieda introduced the state’s first carbon monoxide law in 2007, which initially included language requiring detectors in existing hotels. However, representatives from the hotel industry contended that retrofitting existing builders with the detectors would impose too much of a financial burden. As a result, the law only applies to hotels built after 2009.
The Quality Inn in Niles was built before that date, so management did not have a legal obligation to install carbon monoxide detectors.
Michigan representatives have recently introduced bills that require carbon monoxide detectors in all hotels, motels and resorts. “It’s an issue that speaks to the safety of our visitors [to Michigan],” said Senator Bieda. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to move this [bill].”