Facts Sam Aniballi and his wife Margaret Aniballi were staying at Sonesta Beach Hotel (Dade County) Guest checked in the hotel Feb. 22, 1980
More Facts Upon entering their room they saw a safety deposit box He went back down to the front desk and requested a key He was asked to sign a “Safe Deposit Box-Statement of Value” card -- On the card it states that the hotel is only responsible for loss of items caused by the fault or NEGLIGENCE of the establishment. -- It also mentions the establishment is limited to $1,000 Mr. Aniballi signed this agreement saying he would not put anything of more than $1,000 of value in the safe
There are a lot of Facts. Long, the front desk clerk working that day did in fact steal the Aniballi’s money and some money out of the cash register and never returned to work The Aniballis filled the complaint of the loss of $85,000 worth of jewelry Dade Country court granted guest motion for summary judgment Found Hotels liability was limited to $1,000 -- Because Mr. Aniballi signed the notice at check-in
IssueIs Sonesta Beach Hotel negligent and responsible for the loss of Aniballi’s valuables; therefore, owing them compensatory and punitive damages?
RulingHotel owner violated Statute Limiting Liability and therefore cannot limit liability of stolen property to $1,000Court denied punitive damages
RationaleViolated Florida’s Limiting Liability Satute by: -- Only posting notice of Limiting Liability on the interior door of the bathroom -- Giving guests no documentation of their use of the safety deposit boxPunitive Damages were not rewarded because the hotel did not act outrageously, or with fraud, malice, wantonness, or oppression.
Let’s Switch it up..If Had the Sonesta Beach Hotel had Notice of Limited Liability posted elsewhere than just the inside of the bathroom door in such place as the hallway , office, or hotel lobby in which to be clearly seen by any guest?Or If The Hotel had given the Aniballi’s a receipt for property stating property’s value?(F.S.A. 509.111)
Then..The Sonesta Beach Hotel wouldn’t have been liable for anything over the $1,000 as covered by the Florida Statutes (509.101 & 509.111).