Jorge A. Espinosa v. Accor North America, Inc., Et Al.
(July 2015)

Michael R. Sistrunk and Heather M. Nagel secured a summary judgment in favor of Accor Franchising North America, LLC n/k/a G6 Hospitality LLC (hereinafter “G6 Hospitality”), which was upheld on appeal by the Louisiana Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  In Espinosa, the plaintiff was rendered a paraplegic after he was shot in the motel parking lot by unknown third-party assailants. The subject motel was owned and operated by a third-party franchisee, pursuant to a franchise agreement awarded by G6 Hospitality.  The plaintiff filed suit against G6 Hospitality and the franchisee alleging that the defendants failed to provide a safe and secure premises because there was a broken gate that enabled the gunmen to enter the parking lot.  The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment in favor of G6 Hospitality finding that it did not owe a duty to the plaintiff.  The  Louisiana Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s decision, holding that G6 Hospitality did not owe a duty to the plaintiff pursuant to the doctrines of direct negligence, actual authority or apparent authority.  The appeal court reasoned that G6 Hospitality was not at fault because it did not own the subject motel and did not exercise control over the day-to-day operations.  Additionally, the court found that the broken gate did not constitute an unreasonably dangerous condition. There were numerous avenues of entry that the gunmen could have gained access to the property, including the front entry that was open at the time of the shooting.  G6 Hospitality did not have a duty to protect the plaintiff from the criminal acts of third-parties.