The last thing the Walt Disney Company needs right now is more bad publicity… yet here it is.
The Mouse House has agreed to pay a woman $100,000 after she claimed she was bitten by bedbugs while staying at the Disneyland Hotel.
Ivy Eldridge said she was staying at the hotel in April 2018 while visiting the theme park with family when she was bitten numerous times by bedbugs she believed came from the hotel property. According to the lawsuit, she suffered physical and emotional damage from the bites, which caused severe rashes over her body. Eldridge also said she had to discard pieces of clothing and other personal items due to the bedbugs, KTLA reports.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accused Disney of failing to maintain its rooms in a “decent, safe and habitable condition,” according to KTLA.
Disney representatives told the Los Angeles Times that the lawsuit was settled to avoid costly litigation and that the resort’s three hotels employ experts, including entomologists, to ensure its hotel rooms are safe and free of bug infestations.
“We have robust preventative measures in place so that our guests are comfortable and safe during their hotel stays,” a Disney spokesperson told the Times.
The settlement was reached in March, but the $100,000 payout wasn’t completed until a few days ago, the Times reports.
Eldridges’ attorney, Brian Virag, said bedbugs “don’t discriminate” and can be found in any hotel of any quality around the world.
“Bedbug infestations are perhaps the most serious issue facing the hotel industry because of the harm they can do to a hotel’s reputation and brand,” Virag, who specializes in bedbug lawsuits, said in a news release, according to the Times.
The lawsuit alleged that Disneyland Hotel knew it had a bedbug issue and the failure to act “was so extreme and outrageous as to go beyond all bounds of decency.”
Virag said Disney was also sued in 2016 over bedbug issues at another resort hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. That lawsuit was dismissed before it got to a jury.
Eldridge’s settlement comes less than two weeks after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that will dissolve Disney Co.’s independent tax district on the land just outside Orlando where Disney World sits. The new law would revoke a rule that allows Disney World—one of Florida’s biggest employers—to govern itself, if DeSantis’ Republican legislature thinks they can afford to pay for it.
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