Almost lost my eye in Mykonos

Tomas' eye after the incident.
Tomas’ eye after the incident.
Watch where you’re going.

Maybe that’s all Orlan Boston and his fiancee, Tomas, needed to do in order to prevent the accident from happening. They were visiting a friend who was a guest of the Starwood Luxury Collection Santa Marina Hotel last August. After lunch, they headed upstairs to freshen up and order a taxi to the airport.

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While Tomas looked down to see where he was stepping, he walked right into an Aloe-like plant with razor-sharp thorns that, Boston alleges, had been improperly pruned.

“This particular plant had not been appropriately trimmed and was hanging dangerously low and far over these highly trafficked pedestrian stairs,” he says.

“I immediately saw that skin above his left eye and below his left eyebrow had been sliced about an inch,” he added. “There were two cuts, one that was one inch long and another a quarter of an inch, that began to bleed profusely.”

Although Boston technically wasn’t a guest of the resort, he was an elite-level Starwood Hotels & Resorts customer. And he did not like what happened next.

Boston contends that the resort was dismissive of Tomas’ injury, even after he received 12 stitches to his eye (see photo, above). The injury was particularly problematic because Tomas works as a model, the incident could have cut short his career.

Boston adds,

When we got back to the Santa Marina Hotel lobby, a manager approached us and told us that the injury didn’t look so bad.

As you can imagine, after having just had his eye sewn together with 12 stitches we found that comment to be very inappropriate as he was clearly trying to minimize the extent of Tomas’ injury.

As a result of this unfortunate incident, Tomas and I missed our flight to Athens that evening. We realized that given the seriousness of the injury that we would likely need to cancel our trip to Croatia.

The couple decided to stay at the hotel to recover. The way he figures it, here’s the pricetag for the hotel’s dangerous Aloe plant:

Reimbursement of $5,787.68 for our entire 5 day stay at the Santa Marina Hotel

Reimbursement of $3,304.37 for expenses incurred for cancelled airfare hotel bookings in Athens and Croatia

Compensation of $15,000.00 for pain and suffering, medical treatment and loss of modeling wages

Starwood did not agree. In a reply to his written request for compensation, it said that while Starwood was “disappointed” to read about Tomas’ injury, it couldn’t meet his request.

Please be aware that the Santa Marina Resort and Villas in Mykonos is a franchised property, which is independently owned and operated. This Hotel utilizes Luxury Collection trademarks and logos pursuant to a License Agreement and neither Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (“Starwood”) nor its subsidiaries or affiliates, including the licensor, has any ownership interest or day-to-day control over the operations of this Hotel.

Our company does work with the hotel from a brand perspective, but with respect to operational decisions, these are handled by the property management and ownership directly.

They do confirm that the injury did happen, though do have a differing opinion on the level of service and attention they have extended throughout this challenging time. They also disagree with your opinion that any safety or security hazard is present on property, and feel that all aspects of their facility meet with necessary safety standards.

It is their belief that while this accident was unfortunate, anything which has been extended to you was done out of goodwill for your experience as a guest, and that the hotel does not accept any liability or responsibility for this regrettable experience.

As such, they do respectfully decline your requests for reimbursement or compensation as requested.

Boston is unhappy with that response, and wants me to take up his case.

As I look at the problem and the response to the accident, I see a few problems.

First, technically Boston and his fiancee weren’t guests of the property at the time of the incident. I’m not familiar with Greek lodging statutes or liability laws, but I do know a few things about the Greeks. After all, my surname used to be Eliopolous before some bureaucrat at Ellis Island anglicized it in 1920. Half of my relatives are Greeks, and I know how they’d handle this. Let’s just say Boston was correct to appeal this to Starwood back in the States.

The whole “it’s-just-a-franchisee” excuse is a little ridiculous. If it’s your name on the hotel, you take responsibility or your take your name off the hotel. At least that’s how your guests see it.

But to the question of whether I can do better — I’m not sure. I know this case went to a very high level at Starwood and was turned down. It may be necessary to take the matter to court, which might not be worth Boston’s time. And some of the numbers, notably the $15,000 figure for pain and suffering, might not fly.

Should I mediate Orlan Boston's case?

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132 thoughts on “Almost lost my eye in Mykonos

  1. Wait – what proof is there that the tree was pruned improperly? Does the Tomas have photos of the tree? Does he have any independent advice as to the standard of tree pruning that’s acceptable?

    I’m sorry that he’s suffered and lost some vacation time – but hasn’t he ever heard of travel insurance? Did he cancel the flights etc on doctors’ orders, or just because he didn’t like the idea of being on vacation not looking his best? (The article says he’s a model, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of the thought process.)

    What were the real medical costs? Why is that lumped in with the “pain and suffering” business?

    Not a real fan of this one… sounds like a bit over-entitled. I wonder what would happen if the hotel cut down all their trees to avoid the liability.. I bet Tomas here would have sued the hotel for sunburn and insisted that hotels of such a calibre ought to provide trees for shade…

    1. Yes people should look where they’re going. But, as a hotel, you shouldn’t have razor sharp thorns hanging over your walkways at head level. That’s just irresponsible. You’re a resort! You should realize that razors at eye level on a walking path are a bad idea. And there’s no dispute of the facts of the matter. 12 stitches in your eye pretty much covers the facts about whether the OP was actually injured or not.

      Yes, Starwood should pony up for actual out-of-pocket expenses plus comp a significant amount of points. If you put your name on the property, you know people are relying on your brand reputation when visiting there. So take some responsibility. Pain and suffering — let’s just say the OP bears some responsibility too so that’s on him.

        1. Glad you found those photos. Looks like a great hotel. But, even those pictures don’t totally absolve the hotel. It only would take one plant hanging over someplace where the photo doesn’t show. Mistakes can happen anywhere… though this may well be just a money grab.

      1. I am stepping out on an aloe stem here, but they were at lunch and it makes me wonder if they had been drinking and the ‘walk up to the room’ wasn’t a straight line by the partner.

  2. I’m usually all for tilting at windmills, but this case is a loser. So many problems I don’t know where to begin, but I will try:

    I am applying American law as I don’t know my butt from a hole in the ground about Greek law.

    The Tree

    The tree was stationary, Tomas was moving. Unless it was pitch black, It’s very hard to blame the tree for the injury.

    The Damages

    Tomas and his fiance weren’t guests of the hotel. They checked into a $1000 a night hotel to recover. That seems excessive. If they were already guests then staying put would be a mnore defensible position

    The cancelled airfare are consequential damages and unlikely to be recoverable.

    If it were the hotel’s fault and he could substantiate the actual out of pocket, e.g. medical bills and loss of wages, he would be able to recover those.

    Starwood

    Here Chris is flatly wrong from a legal sense. Starwood would only be liable if it either owned/operated the hotel or led a reasonable guest to believe that Starwood Corporation owned/operated the hotel. Consequently, management companies like Starwood requires ( I believe) the owner of the physical hotel to prominently display its name, e.g. This hotel owned and Operated by Chris Eliopolous Enterprises.

    That way, it becomes substantially more difficult to pin legal liability on Starwood, Hilton, Marriott, etc.

    1. Carver,

      I’m no lawyer, but I know one fact of the case to be true:

      It’s NO ONE’S FAULT except the Op’s that he’s a klutz and didn’t watch where he’s walking!

      Do I get to sue NewBalance if my shoes are untied, I trip, and break a bone? They made my shoes and those pesky laces.

    2. Carver, could you clarify something? Growing up, my parents (and I) took great care to keep our sidewalk and front steps safely passable and unobstructed. Among other things, we regularly trimmed or tied a rose bush as well as another bush with small thorns growing next to our steps to keep them from infringing on the side rails or the space above the rails. We did this first and foremost because it was a prudent thing to do, but my parents were also under the distinct impression that if something like this happened — say to the mailman while he was ascending the steps and looking down to watch his footing — that we would be 100% liable. Were they wrong about that? Or does it vary by state and local laws?

      1. Homeowner’s insurance should definitely respond to that kind of situation. I ran into those kinds of claims all the time when I worked in the insurance industry, but most of those claims dealt with uneven or broken sidewalks. Both the roses and the sidewalk are fixed and visible, but the homeowner is required to keep public areas safe for the public. Some insurance companies may quibble on what is “public”, but the vast majority would simply pay this out of medical expenses coverage (usually $5000 or $10,000) to avoid being asked to decide a liability issue. Liability coverage – most companies avoid paying out under that coverage if at all possible.

      2. Got out my own homeowners insurance policy. I’m going to paraphrase a lot here, but these are standard provisions on both residential and commercial policies.

        Personal Liability coverage pays out if the law holds you responsible. So local, state and federal laws govern responsibility. That’s a Carver and Joe Farrell question. Klutzes may or may not be covered, depending on the circumstances and the law.

        Medical Payments to others covers bodily injury as the result of an accident while someone is on the insured premises with permission OR “arises out of a condition on the insured premises or immediately adjoining ways”. Like sidewalks or nasty sharp thorny branches. In other words, klutzes are covered.

  3. Agree with Carver and jpp42.

    “While Tomas looked down to see where he was stepping, he walked right
    into an Aloe-like plant with razor-sharp thorns that, Boston alleges,
    had been improperly pruned.”

    This line has huge gaps in logic and carries tremendous burden of proof. Does the OP have dual training in both modeling and botany? How do you look down for an instant and cause yourself to walk right into a fixed object?

    Money grubbing behavior. Another for the trash heap.

    1. Living as I do in a place where plants like these are common, I can see the OP’s point on the hazard itself. Aloe, agave and a number of related species have extremely sharp spines that are hard to see and so easy to blunder into that in this tourist-heavy location we keep them trimmed back on wilderness hiking trails. On one occasion I saw an agave spine go right through a woman’s calf after a casual misstep.

      All of our hotels, which include many properties like the one on Mykonos (which I have seen) take special care when using these plants in landscaping. Having twelve stitches in your eye is not “money grubbing.”

      1. It is when you lump in your pain and suffering and “lost wages” with the actual costs, if any. He carefully breaks down his recovery expenses down to the penny…except when it comes to the actual costs of the treatment…. Hmm.

        1. If he actually is truly, professionally a model (not a waiter who has done a few photo shoots here and there), I don’t think a documented lost wages claim is exactly “money grubbing.” I think it’s fair to say that the injury shown in the photos is enough to prevent working as a model until it’s recovered to the point where it can be covered with makeup. But as you say it needs to be very specifically documented, as with the true medical costs.

          Documenting the true costs is a separate step to identifying who is liable for them.

      2. Correct me if the facts are misconstrued, but your post leads me to believe you own or manage several hotel properties?

        “All of our hotels, which include many properties like the one on Mykonos (which I have seen) take special care when using these plants in landscaping”

        Am I to infer that you’d pay the OP for his clumsiness? The phrase, “Watch where you’re going” comes into play.

        I doubt hotels need to post a sign. Walk into lobby at your own risk.

        1. “Our hotels” refers to the properties, many of them high-end resorts like the one described here, in my touristy town.

      3. Would you say that this hotel kept such plants out of your way?
        Here I made the picture clearer so you can give us a better opinion.

        1. Yes, but did this happen “inside” the resort? If so, a picture of any plants “inside” would be helpful. However, I think he should of been more cognizant of where he was walking.

    2. The OP is Tomas’ partner and is the one doing the talking. Linkedln says he is an investment banker not a landscaper or botanist 🙂

      I really would like to read a faithful recreation of events. I don’t think it will be as simple as it is described here.

  4. I’m confused. He thinks the resort is dangerous and nearly ended his career, but apparently not so bad since he decided to stay there (at over $1k/night) while he recovered? Were there no other less-perilous hotels he could stay in? And I’m a little confused as to why he felt a five-day stay was necessary. It’s a laceration, which was then stitched. (And the pic shows what to me looks like a really good job! If there’s any scar at all, a swipe with makeup would make it disappear entirely.) That’s the sort of injury that usually results in a trip to the local doc-in-a-box for a couple of hours and you then go about your merry way. What about that makes travel to Croatia inadvisable?; it’s hardly a cesspool where further medical care, if needed, could not be obtained.

    And something’s fishy about the claim for medical expenses… why lump it in with “pain and suffering” and lost wages instead of breaking it out like the other items? I have a funny feeling those stitches were really cheap and/or free. (And maybe there was a single followup visit to his doctor once he got home to remove the stitches.)

    (And, as a side-note, for something like this, was it really necessary for him to mention he was an “elite-level” Starwood customer? As if a “normal” customer would be entitled to less in a situation like this? That might be appropriate for a complaint about the view from the room or size of the Jacuzzi or something…)

    In any case, mediation would be futile. As soon as you put a legal-sounding claim for “pain and suffering, medical treatment, and loss of wages” your claim is going directly to the legal department, where you will receive exactly nothing. They know that anything they hand out will be used as an admission of liability. They will put your letter in a file, and wait for an actual letter from a lawyer to roll in.

    And Chris, I know you think franchise agreements are a bunch of bunk, but legally they aren’t the least bit ambiguous in a case like this, nor are they some kind of strange new innovation in the business world. A franchisor is not legally responsible for the day-to-day operations of the franchisee outside of the guidance they have provided the franchisee. I could understand this point of view if this situation was about some kind of foulup in the interaction between the hotel and Starwood corporate, like a lost reservation, some issue with Starwood points, etc.

    The only situation I can think of where we could be blaming Starwood would be if Starwood had published some sort of landscaping manual suggesting that these plants be placed improperly. I expect the guidebook doesn’t mention anything other than stating there will be a certain amount of greenery, and that the greenery be kept in good shape.

    But hey, if we want to assign blame vicariously, I’m holding you, Chris Elliott, personally responsible for the Pain and Suffering I’ve had to go through because of an instantly-play-on-rollover-video (with audio!) AARP ad your ad broker keeps putting on your webpage. 🙂

      1. FYI, you should probably put a “never block ads on this site” rule in place for your own website(s) so it’s easier for you to spot these issues. I know ad-brokers are a necessary evil for a website like this… and it could be worse; it could be those awful ads for cheap mortgages.

  5. I don’t like the company’s response and I understand why it would make someone upset, but I also don’t think the OP is being reasonable. Checking into the hotel because they assume they’ll be reimbursed over 1K a night? The hotel cost alone is nearly double the cost of airfare and lodging of their cancelled trip.

    I do think he should get medical expenses. If I walk into a doorknob (ouch!), that’s on me. If the doorknob is sharp enough that it lacerates my arm so I require stitches? The hotel should carry some responsibility.

    I didn’t see it mentioned, but did they have travel insurance? Would that cover some of the cost if they did? I was curious.

  6. I’m clumsy. If I made a fuss every time I ran into something in a public place, Chris wouldn’t have time to go to the bathroom because I’d be sending so many emails to him. I’m saying a big fat no to this case. I’d only change my mind if Greece has a laws and regulations on trimming and placement of plants in hotels. I’m guessing this probably doesn’t exist.

    1. Time to hit the lottery today, John. 😉

      I’ll echo this comment. REALLY????

      This guy needs to consult a slip-and-fall type lawyer, not a consumer advocate.

      Christopher…back AWAY from the aloe tree…FAST.

  7. Go ahead and mediate, but I suspect that Starwood’s position is rooted in Greece not having liability protection. Foreign companies have to abide by American law when they do business here, and Starwood operates under Greek law in Greece. As Starwood’s flippant response indicates, American standards of liability do not apply in this case.

    1. Starwood likely wouldn’t even be liable under American standards. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be sued, or that a jury might find for them, but any award would likely be overturned on appeal. If any liability exists, it’ll almost certainly be on the hotel operator.

  8. Erm, sometimes accidents are just – well accidents. Not everything is a lawsuit & frankly the amount they are asking for sounds like a real stretch.

  9. To Carver: Please edit accordingly.

    Warning:

    Sentient beings walking, standing, moving, or engaged in a forward motion assume all reasonable risks associated with life on Planet Earth.

  10. This should be handled by a lawyer since the request includes “pain & suffering”. At this point, it has gone way beyond mediation. Even if the cost of the hotel stay could be comped by the hotel, which I feel would be the best to hope for through mediation, I doubt it would make the OP happy at this point.

    1. What’s there to mediate?

      1) American Law doesn’t Apply. Injury happened in Greece.
      2) Op stayed at a 1100 dollar per night hotel “recuperating”.
      3) The Op’s injury weren’t perilous. He needed stitches, not a life saving procedure.

      Op is trying to “Milk” his clumsiness and no one’s biting. I doubt any sane lawyer touches the case. Period.

      1. Mmmm…
        #1. Doesn’t matter where it happened, if there is an American presence for the hotel, they can sue in the U.S.
        #2. Irrelevant
        #3. Says who? I believe the OP would disa gree with you.
        TOTALLY agree with your final analysis, they are looking to make a buck, clear and simple.

        1. #1. Incredibly complex if they do have an American presence. It is unlikely that an American court would want to touch this as they would have to begin interpretting Greek law

          #2. It matters as it does to the OPs intention. The hotel’s attorney would use that to show impeach the OPs credibility in terms of how badly he was hurt and whether this is merely playing the lottery.

          1. American courts are CONSTANTLY taking on lawsuits for injuries that happen in other county’s, trust me, been to plenty of them. The rules in that foreign country have as much meaning as the fortune in your last piece of Bazooka. American courts are not given an option whether they want to touch them or not. If I decide to sue a US based entity, in the US, and they don’t settle before hand, well then we are going to court.

          2. The devil is in the details. But I’d be curious what type of foreign injury cases are you litigating.

  11. I agree with the get a lawyer on this one. There are injuries and its out of the country. Foreign liability laws vary.

  12. Chris, I’m sure that no matter what approach you take, the hotel will dismiss it with “Tomas should have been paying attention to his surroundings and being careful, and the accident is the result of his not doing so. Therefore we owe him nothing.” And they won’t budge.

  13. With all due respect to Chris, this guy needs a lawyer, especially given the international aspect. I’m assuming this guy is inflating his demands in order to settle for less.
    That being said, if a business chooses to landscape with plants that can cause a person to require 12 stitches, assuming they weren’t traipsing about in the bushes, then that business needs to assume some liability, period.

      1. The modern trend is to ignore the person’s status (guest, worker, etc.) on the property but merely whether the person was on the premises legally or not

  14. I am very clumsy. It runs in my family 🙂 I have fallen, run into things, and had stitches many times. I have never once thought about requesting compensation for it. In fact, I got hurt in a hotel gym once, and the hotel kept insisting they take care of my expenses, and I refused. I also no longer use those balance ball things. Don’t ask, its embarrassing.

    If I were the OP, and truly believed the hotel was negligent in their pruning which they very well may have been I would ask for the medical costs to be reimbursed. I think that is reasonable. However, if the plant was obvious, and the OP was just being careless, then I don’t even think he is due medical expenses, but its worth Chris asking for just the medical expenses anyway.

    As far as staying in a super expensive hotel and canceling trips, I think the OP caused those expenses themselves. Its possible to fly and go on vacation with stitches. Now, if there is evidence the hotel was negligent, then I also think the OP has the right to get lost wages, so long as he has proof that the wages were lost due to the injury and proof that the hotel was negligent. But, by the OPs own admission, he wasn’t looking where he was going, so I don’t think he has much of a case.

    1. “I also no longer use those balance ball things. Don’t ask, its embarrassing.”

      O Come on. You can’t lead into a story and then trail off. Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. Alright. I was trying to do sit-ups on one of those balancing balls, rolled over backwards, hit my head, and sprained my neck. It was bad enough I couldn’t turn my head or move one of my arms for a while. I called my Dr. who told me to get to the ER for x-rays and a nerve damage test. Fortunately I didn’t break anything or damage nerves, but it took about 4 months to recover.

        1. Well Tomas A. Mikuzis, the model, is also a SoulCycle instructor and certified personal trainer. Supposedly he can do 127 pushups in perfect form before exhaustion. Look him up @FitnessByTomas in twitter.
          No way will you call him clumsy.
          Maybe it is hard to keep a steady footing in Mykonos 🙂

        2. Although I am really sorry to hear that (having a bad back injury I can relate) that brought a very vivid funny picture to mind – now I’m scared to try it on mine again!

          1. I can look back at it and laugh now. But if you try it, and do fall, just fall, don’t try and catch yourself. That’s what made my injury worse.

    1. Sorry about the -1, I was wearing gloves and tried to hit reply. *blushes*

      I, too, want to know what the hotel already did for him.

      Frankly, I think the OP was unreasonable in changing his travel plans to put himself in a $1,000+ night room: were his lodgings in Athens and Croatia that he cancelled that expensive? That would be the only justification I could see for the hotel costs (swapping like for like), but I don’t think that’s the case here since his cancelled trip to two different destinations only totaled about $3300 — and that included airfare!

      And once again, where was the trip insurance? You don’t lay out thousands of dollars for an international trip and then not get insurance. That would cover hotels, cancelations, missed flights, medical… All he would have left is his pain and suffering and lost wages, right?

      Pain and suffering I think he deserves for the simple fact that the hotel was negligent putting a sharp, thorny plant anywhere near a pedestrian walkway, but if he does sue, he’s going to need to be able to prove those lost wages (or lost earning potential).

    2. Who took him to the hospital to get those stitches? I hope the hotel administered first aid and took him to the doctor. Or else, shame on them.

    1. Really? Once they do that, even if as a “gesture of good will”, aren’t they then taking responsibility? Responsibility for non-guests? That is how it will get turned around on them.

          1. Or opposing counsel prevails on the argument that the goodwill gesture and its acceptance was the settlement of the claim.

  15. This is what travel insurance is for. Not sure why they couldn’t continue on their trip anyway. I tripped on steps at a hotel and broke my ankle but that didn’t stop me from completing the rest of my trip. I had travel insurance that reimbursed me for the medical expense and since I tripped over my own two feet I never thought to sue the hotel, who were wonderful about helping me get to and from the hospital. They weren’t even guests at the hotel when he was injured.

    I was on a tour and come hell or high water I was getting on the bus and finishing the tour. If I could travel on crutches and pain meds they could have gone on the rest of their trip if they really wanted to.

    If the hotel was that dangerous, why check in after ? It sounds to me as they thought they had reimbursement in the bag. There are plenty of less expensive hotels they could have chosen.

    Sorry, not biting on this one.

  16. Ok if you are just visiting a guest of this hotel, then I guess you are limited to the property’s entrance, lobby and restaurants. So I downloaded some photos of this gorgeous hotel. I can’t figure out how one can get close to thorny things. The rest of the place is a beach. Take a look and see for yourself how high those plants are in relation to the road. Keep blowing up the picture of the lobby entrance. Chris did you see this photo?

  17. I read this article last night and couldn’t wait until this morning to see what others thought. Can’t wait to read what Raven thinks 🙂 Oh the horror of these poor men’s plight of having to endure staying in a room that costs over $1000 a night at a hotel that cares so little about the horrific situation that that nasty plant put them through. Tsk, tsk.

      1. I forgot to add that before I looked up the OP’s name online, I took a guess at where he was from/lived. I guess correctly.

  18. “This particular plant had not been appropriately trimmed and was
    hanging dangerously low and far over these highly trafficked pedestrian
    stairs,” he says.

    I hope he’s not referring to the stairs leading to the beach (and bar). See attached picture. Because maybe someone who is drunk might have a tough time getting up these stairs.

    1. In all fairness to these folks, those are open steps between the beach and upstairs and those can be a little disorienting to anyone with any kind of depth perceptions issues (such as those due to bifocals or alcohol). You can also see how close the greenery is to the railing on the leftmost set of stairs. Taking the OP’s statement purely at face value, without applying any judgments on my part, I can see how something could have happened. I do a lot of walks throughout the country set in residential neighborhoods and can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been smacked in the face by a low hanging branch that I missed because I was looking at the uneven sidewalk. @emanon256:disqus and I are fellow klutzes I guess (although I seem to get along pretty well with balance balls *grin*).

      I did Google the OP and his partner. Tomas does seem to be a stunning young man and I can see where both would be upset at the potential loss to a livelihood of modeling.

      But once “pain and suffering” got brought into the equation, that just eliminated Chris Elliott as any kind of advocate for this situation. I’ve got my own opinion about the breakdown of the restitution requested, but others have already expressed variants of that opinion, so I will not comment. (Hey, look! Apophasis!)

      1. Jeanne, he said he called a taxi. I hope he meant an automobile and not a water taxi. I would think one would be at the lobby waiting for a cab, right? So where are these low hanging aloe plants???
        From these photos of the site, I have to tell y’all that I don’t buy his version of the facts. I would like him to produce his own photos. Maybe he and his companion had a smartphone and took pictures.

        1. He said that he was going up to the lobby to order a taxi to the airport. So I guess an automobile.

          I can’t tell what kind of plant that is on the left of the steps in your picture. I can’t tell how much was hanging across the sidewalk at the time of the accident. If it were me, when I went back to the lobby to “chat” with the folks at the hotel, I would have run down to the steps and gotten a picture to show to the manager and to bolster my claim against the hotel. I wouldn’t have done it at the time – I would have been worried about my loved one and thinking maybe the worst had happened and that the eye was bleeding. But I sure would have done it afterwards! Hopefully the OP was smart enough to do that.

          But regardless of the merits of this case, the OP eliminated Chris Elliott from participation by invoking “pain and suffering”.

          1. It does not appear as if there is any dangerous plant hanging on or intruding in the space of the wooden steps from the beach.

            I can see what appears to be cacti on the left of the stairs.
            But that is not accessible from the stairs.

            I am not sure what he meant by:

            While Tomas looked down to see where he was stepping, he walked right into an Aloe-like plant with razor-sharp thorns that, Boston alleges, had been improperly pruned.

            I don’t normally look down when going up the stairs unless I want to see what I’m stepping on. I usually will look up to see the next steps.

            The most likely scenario is he was looking down and did not see the plant overhead. But that will be more likely if one is going DOWN the stairs, IMO.

          2. I went to TripAdvisor and the aloe type plants I see are in the landscaping. Every photo shown, seem to not have landscaping near sidewalks or steps. I would think the couple would have taken photos of the attacking plant to prove their claim. Did they share it with Chris in their letter?

          3. Please remember they had 5 days (their “recovering” period at the hotel) to take pictures of the offending plant 😉

      2. I agree on the pain and suffering. I think it can be justified in certain cases, but not all cases. I am still upset I had to ask for it once. I hit a car that made a left turn from the right turn lane right in front of me while I was in one of the two forward moving lanes. There was nothing I could do to avoid it, though I did hit my breaks. My car got damaged and my keys ended up inside my knee. The lady got a ticket, and her insurance agreed to pay for my car, but refused to pay my medical bills. Her insurance company kept insisting that I need to use my health insurance to pay for my medical bills. My health insurance wouldn’t cover it since the woman was declared at fault and had insurance, and my insurance wouldn’t cover it for the same reason. After missing 2 months of work, and having major knee surgery, I was out a lot of money. I finally had to hire an attorney and sue. I was not looking for pain and suffering, but had to ask for it for the sole purpose of covering the legal fees. Once all was said and done, her insurance settled for exactly my medical bills, ~75% of my lost wages (they amount I would have gotten after tax), and an additional 33% plus $2,000 for pain and suffering, which equated to 100% my legal fees. So I had to ask for pain and suffering, but didn’t actually get 1 cent of that money. But had I not, I would have still been out because of the legal fees. However, if someone is permanently injured, or spends months in a hospital in pain, etc. I think they are deserving of something for pain and suffering. Just not in my case, or the OPs case.

        1. That sounds like a terrible recovery. A personal injury recovery is generally 3x the medical bills, the logic being a 3way split between the doctor, attorney, and victim

          1. Perhaps its because I said I wasn’t looking to make money, I only wanted to be made whole? Not sure, the attorney worked it all out.

          2. How can your medical insurer refuse to cover you? There is something odd with that. If you pay your premiums, and are in good standing, it really shouldn’t matter who or what caused the accident. I think you sued the wrong people, I would have gone after my insurance company.

          3. Actually, the laws in my state require that in an auto accident, the auto insurance must pay for the medical treatment, and as a tort state, the “at fault” party’s insurance must pay for the treatment. The only case in which Health Insurance can pay for an injury from an auto accident, is if the at fault party is being covered by their own personally injury protection, and the personal injury protection has been exhausted, then that party’s health insurance can be used as secondary coverage.

          4. Much like vacaygirl, that is the weirdest thing that I’ve heard today. I guess your health insurance lobby is stronger than your auto insurance lobby?

          5. Perhaps a regional thing. This was the first I’d ever heard of such a law and apparently, neither had vacaygirl.

            I am curious for my own legal information. Can you direct me to this.

          6. What happens if the offending party is uninsured, has inadequate coverage, your policy doesn’t cover uninsured drivers, or your policy has inadequate coverage? I can’t see medical insurance refusing to pay if sufficient resources are lacking.

            P.S. You’re one hell of a trooper if you didn’t want pain and suffering to the tune of 3x.

          7. In that case, when all other options are exhausted, Health Insurance can kick in. But you must have proof. I called my buddy who is an attorney last night just to get a second opinion after my old case, and what I found on Google. He seemed to think this was totally normal and questioned why Health Insurance would ever pay when there was other insurance that is specifically designed to pay for the injury. Like Carver said, it must be a regional thing, but its the norm here.

            I am very anti litigious unless its to be made whole. I am against most pain and suffering claims unless they is real pain and suffering. There are people in this world who are near death and starving and living on a dirt floor in extreme weather. That’s why I find it hard to equate using crutches for a few months, or getting stitches, with pain and suffering.

          8. Might I inquire where you live (State)? I live in an at fault state, and while the offending party pays, there’s nothing stopping a person from utilizing their own resources. I.E.

            Uninsured Driver / Hit and Run – I sue or file a claim with my insurance

            Underinsured Driver – I can file a claim on my insurance if policy rider exists
            – My insurance proceeds to sue the person to recoup losses.

            Health insurance – Same as above. My mother was involved in a terrible hit and run. She used her own medical, then had to submit to her insurance, for reimbursement after the fact.

            I know Michigan has No Fault. Terrible system since rates are very high and the offending party has no responsibility.

          9. I live in Colorado. We used to have no fault, and it was horrible I tell you. Horrible! I am so glad we changed. I have even noticed forms at Dr.s offices here ask if the patient is begin treated due to an auto accident, and state that if so, health insurance may not covert his claim. It will only kick in once auto insurance is exhausted.

          10. Yep – here in MI they ARE high – but had a HORRENDOUS accident a few years back – and not a MOMENT of grief with the insurer covering all expenses – and a new car to boot.

          11. And that’s why I don’t give legal advice to out of state friends. The legal framework can be 180 degrees different.

          12. I don’t blame you one bit. When I did consulting, I was shocked how drastically the collections laws differed in each state. I always required my clients to have an attorney we could work with.

  19. Medical expenses, an apology, and cut back the damn plant. That’s it. And I am glad he did not suffer any more damage to his eye. Close call.

  20. Now he wants money for not watching where he was walking properly? Nonsense! For all we know, he was texting on his phone and ran into it……

  21. I normally vote mediate just so we can get both sides of the story. Not in this case though. This is a clear cut version of needing to take personal responsibility. I slipped getting off the TrenItalia train in Venice a few months ago and wedged myself in “the gap” up to my knees. Paramedics fixed me up (for free). I still have a blackened toenail that hasn’t grown out, and what I’m assuming will be permanent scars on both shins as a souvenir of my trip. Wouldn’t even think of asking TrenItalia, or Asics (new sneakers for the trip) for compensation.

  22. SPG is a good program, i’m a lifetime Gold – but also love Hyatt’s program (Diamond on that one) – I don’t see why SPG needs to pay this guy anything at all – goes with the territory of traveling – S H @$ happens, that’s why you have travel insurance.

    Like others have stated, this guy wasn’t staying there and probably is not an SPG member to begin with.

    1. Me. All the time. I walk designated walking routes across the country set in historic or pretty or architectural settings. Uneven dirt trails with roots across them, uneven sidewalks, curbs – all of those cause me to look down, even momentarily, as I walk.

      1. I have to do this at work and often get smacked in the head by pine tree branches. The pine tree roots messed up the sidewalk. I learned to always look before I step, anywhere else as well.

        1. I do my own gardening and cleaning here in my wooded place in Connecticut. Getting smacked in the face by low branches, thorny vines and poison ivy is par for the course. So I wear safety glasses and a wire mesh mask before I go into the woods.
          Of course that won’t look cool in Mykonos 🙂 Only dark shades are needed.

  23. Klutzes are born every minute. This needs to go to an attorney not a mediator. Look on the back page of the phone directory for ambulance chasers Inc. Loved the article, it gave me a belly laugh!

      1. There’s nothing better to do in Mykonos except eat and drink, IMO.
        Unfortunately, it’s very hilly. Fortunately, I don’t mind staying 4 more days in heaven.

  24. NO, please do not mediate Chris. Unless the steps he was walking on crumbled beneath him, the hotel cannot be at fault! This madness has to stop somewhere! The mentality that someone must be at fault for everything, that no one need take responsibility for themselves any longer is absurd.

  25. I say no. At some point, personal responsibility has to come into play. If you can’t walk straight and not walk into a plant, stay home.

    I also theorize there is alcohol involved.

    And the $15K for “pain and suffering” just made me chuckle. Isn’t it amazing when a klutz hurts himself he wants someone to “pay” for his pain?

  26. Sounds like the model knew they had no chance in a Greek court where common sense might be applied so he tries to create an American nexus by blaming Starwood. A classic case of go after deep pockets.

  27. A quick Google search of the OP turned up that he’s been a principal or partner for two of the Big 4 accounting firms, yet he decided to lump together unsubstantiated lost wages, unsubstantiated medical treatment expenses, and “pain & suffering”. Does anyone seriously believe that he would allow such lack of detail from one of his employees?

      1. Excuse me, Orlan Boston is who I’m referring to. I did find the fiance….and, well….we’ll just leave it at that.

  28. I think there’s an appropriate quote from the movie Zoolander:
    “If there is anything that this horrible tragedy can teach us, it’s that a male model’s life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn’t mean that we too can’t not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.”

    If you don’t know what I’m talking about you should really Youtube it 😉

    If the OP thinks he has a case, let him sue in Greek courts, otherwise I hope his eye feels better and he can move on.

  29. did this remind anyone else about the video which circulated a couple of years back where a young woman was walking through a crowded shopping mall, texting on her cell phone, and tripped and fell into very visible fountain in the middle of the mall?

    1. Yes, it sure did.

      That woman tried to sue the mall until the press dug into her background and started publishing the fact that she was a convicted felon, so she dropped the lawsuit and went away.

  30. A lot of this really depends on the plant. If it’s hanging over the stairs in a way that it’s possible for someone to walk into it, he has a case for compensation as that’s a dangerous situation. It’s no different than if the tile is loose or there is some other maintenance related problem. I don’t necessarily agree with all his claims, but if he was injured by a lack of maintenance then that is a valid claim.

  31. I’m with the majority here. I’m a stone-cold clutz so I tried to sort of “recreate” this sort of scenario as I was walking up my path to the front door (perhaps I watch too many cop shows). In order to “look down for a second to see where he was stepping” and walk right into the plant, he basically had to be on top of it already. Or else, he was looking down a lot longer than a quick looksee. I’m with those who think some alcohol was involved at lunch which left him feeling a tad unsteady on his feet and hence the need to check his footing.

    Side story: Few years ago, I was walking into a store and stepped on the edge of their welcome mat so my foot was half on/half off. My ankle rolled, sounding like a ratchet as I fell, breaking it (and causing many many unladylike words to be shouted). I got up, hobbled in embarassment back to the car with husband’s help and went to the ER to take care of it. Alas, I realize now, I should have sued the store for improperly centering the welcome mat, because obviously the edge was not where I expected it to be!

    1. Does it matter how long he was looking away for or why? The stairs were not properly maintained if a person can walk into something while climbing them (other than the walls, of course). What if a blind person with a walking stick were climbing the stairs? Since they sweep and tap down, they’d run right into the plant too. They sweep and tap down with the cane since they don’t expect an obstruction on a walking surface inside at head height. Sighted people don’t either, which is why I think his claim is valid.

      1. If the OP were blind or had other visual impairments then you might be correct. However, that would be a fact specific scenario, not a generalized standard of care., which is predicated upon the general public.

        1. I disagree. The only difference is a sighted person has a chance to avoid the object. That still doesn’t excuse the poor maintenance that caused the hazard or the hazard itself. It’s still dangerous, as the injury proves. If you trip on properly maintained stairs that’s clumsiness. If you trip on a loose board or tile that’s negligence on behalf of whomever owns and maintains the staircase. This is no different.

          1. It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, but what the law states. A sighted person cannot use the standard of a blind person when determining liability. The legal term is contributory or comparative negligence depending on the facts and the jurisdiction.

            A blind person cannot see to avoid the potentially dangerous item, a sighted person can. As such. the sighted person is held to an appropriately higher standard of care.

          2. The blind person was an example to illustrate the basic assumption we all make that if the path our feet take is clear then the rest of us can follow. Of course, this doesn’t apply on forest walks, but it does on maintained walkways.

            Again, if you have the possibility to see the hazard that still does not negate the responsibility of the owners of the stairway to keep them in good repair and free of obstructions. Using your logic, construction zones shouldn’t be fenced off since people can plainly see the hazardous activities and can therefore avoid them, nor should anyone put a wet floor sign up or repair broken walking surfaces because people should pay full attention to their surroundings at all times. No chatting with friends, no digging keys out of your pocket, or looking at the scenery.

          3. My comment about the blind man relates to your question:

            What if a blind person with a walking stick were climbing the stairs?

            In that it has no legal relevance to this matter.

            Again, if you have the possibility to see the hazard that still does not negate the responsibility of the owners of the stairway to keep them in good repair and free of obstructions.

            True, but depending on the jurisdiction, your negligence in not looking where you are going will either negate your claim (contributory negligence ) or reduce your recovery by the percentage that you are negligent (comparative negligence) or some combination between the two.

            Using your logic, construction zones shouldn’t be fenced off since people can plainly see the hazardous activities and can therefore avoid them

            Its not logic, it’s law. I merely give a dispassionate and hopefully accurate statement of the law as if a client came to retain me. We can discuss seperately if the law is good or bad.

            Also, there are reasons why people do things besides fear of being sued. Construction zones must be fenced off because the law requires it.

            Additionally, a construction zone has hidden dangers which may not be appreciated by a lay person. That could be cause to find liability. Plus, all those shiny items are an “attractive nuisance” to children. Kids are held to a much lower standard than adults.

            And not to be too macbre, a dead person onsite is bad for business; all the investigations and negative publicity.

            nor should anyone put a wet floor sign up or repair broken walking surfaces because people should pay full attention to their surroundings at all times

            A wet floor may not be obvious, particularly since a store is designed to make you less attentive but rather focused on the goods at that they want to promote.

            And yes, if you choose not to be attentive to your surroundings, that is a choice. However, it will have a detrimental impact on your ability to successfully recovery for your injuries.

      2. I think it does matter how long he looked away. I’ve walked into walls while looking at a cell phone or poles while being distracted by something shiny (I said I was a clutz, and seriously, I am). Those aren’t anyone’s fault but my own for LOOKING AWAY from where I was walking. He looked away and walked into the plant. We don’t know where on the path it was; perhaps he veered slightly. We just don’t know, but we can assume (or *I* am assuming at least) w/ SOME level of certainty, that if he had NOT looked away and had been looking forward instead of down, he would have seen and thus avoided it. *Shrug* I hope his eye heals well and with no scarring but I just don’t see 15K +out of this.

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