Westin Operator, LLC v. GrohAnnotate this Case
After a late night out, Jillian Groh brought a group of friends back to a room she rented at the Westin Hotel. Security guards confronted the group about the noise level in the room, and ultimately evicted them, even though Groh and her companions advised the guards they were drunk and could not drive. On the way out, one of the friends asked if the group could wait in the lobby for a taxi (because it was cold outside). The guard blocked the door. Seven people then got into Groh's car, with a drunk driver behind the wheel. Fifteen miles away they rear-ended another vehicle, resulting in a crash that killed one man and left Groh in a persistent vegetative state with traumatic brain injuries. Groh's parents sued the Westin for their daughter's injuries, because of the manner in which the security guards evicted her. The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review was one of first impression: what duty of care, if any, does a hotel owe a guest during a lawful eviction? A divided appellate panel held that the hotel had a duty to evict a guest "in a reasonable manner," noting that this precludes ejecting a guest into a "foreseeably dangerous circumstance" that result from either the guest's condition or the environment. It also held that the Colorado Dram Shop Act did not apply because the hotel did not serve Groh alcohol. The Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court's analysis, and affirmed.