Family Awarded $546,000 in Bed Bug Case

A jury just awarded what appears to be the biggest bed bug verdict in history.

The family’s attorney, Brian Virag, said he believes it is the biggest bedbug payout in U.S. history.

It came after Alex and Martha McKindra, both 63, checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Ontario/Rancho Cucamonga while visiting their son in California.

They argued that the hotel’s policy for dealing with bugs “had not changed three years after the incident” and also that the hotel knew of the bed bug infestation at the time of the incident — and that they’ve had problems with bed bugs both before and after the stay at issue. It should be noted though that the hotel rates well on TripAdvisor

According to their lawyer the case was especially egregious because “[t]hey were Hilton Honors members.” Who knew treble damages were one of the four new features to the Hilton program this year?

In contrast Delta only has to pay a $3000 judgment after refusing to honor a ticket for a passenger who received a gifted frequent flyer award and didn’t have the credit card used to pay taxes on the ticket when he arrived at the airport.

Delta said he should have shown his friend’s ID at the airport at least, but the court didn’t think his failure to do so was grounds for denying boarding since no such requirement had been disclosed to the customer in advance.

At least when they denied him boarding he wasn’t forced to overnight at the Hilton Garden Inn Ontario/Rancho Cucamonga.

(HT: Joe R.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. They changed it’s name to Rancho Cucamonga, possibly because Johnny Carson ridiculed them so mercilessly. It’s actually a nice place, bedroom community. But don’t let the bedbugs bite!

    I actually don’t know how this relates to Orange Cheetolini, except that he’s less popular than bedbugs everywhere in the world except where fat rednecks live. Yeah, that’s it.

  2. Speak for yourself, and the “tolerant progressives”, Greg. 63,000,000 American citizens proudly disagree with you. And just remember, every day you wake up for at least the next 3 1/2 years- he’s your President too.

  3. As a 40 year resident of the original “Cucamonga” it is unfortunate that we’re getting this publicly lol. Oh well….FYI 3 communities joined together in the late 70s to form Rancho Cucamonga – now a city of over 160,000. Jack Benny famously referred to us – “Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga!”

  4. Thanks for sharing
    For the record a family member had an issue with the Hilton Bayfront in San Diego and they refused to acknowledge the problem as did Hilton corporate
    Most lawyers don’t want to handle bed bug cases as they pay very little unless the victim is permanently dis-figured
    I’m not a sue kind of guy but all my family asked of the Hilton Bayfront was medical expenses,minimal transportation to the urgent care facility and cleaning of their luggage and clothing and they flatly refused
    I only hope Hilton corporate pays for this dearly as IMHO they are criminally negligent as are their franchises in many cases
    They need to take ownership and accountability of the problem for all guests
    They do what they can to avoid discussion and recovery almost all the time

  5. Sadly it looks like Hilton corporate is off the hook pushing the blame all on the franchise responsible.
    .I believe Hilton deserves shared responsibility for enforcing safe brand standards quality assurance
    Also Trip Advisor now severely censors negative reviews frequently
    The reason? they are trying to sell revenue rooms though their own booking channels and negative reviews affects sales and relationships with suppliers
    You’ll notice most hotels now have a 4 star to 5 star ratings even for dated run down bomb shelters in high crime neighborhoods
    Trip Advisor is a shadow of its former self and now a site and source for many a fake review and and much censorship due to a severe conflict of interest of selling travel
    I no longer review as a result
    Trip Advisor can no longer be reasonably trusted unless most of what you wish to hear is the glowingly positive commnets fake and real

  6. Johnny Carson did not make fun of Cucamonga. You’re thinking of Jack Benny, going way back into the radio days even.

  7. Trip Advisor is a joke. Seems like everyone in the hospitality industry posts “rave reviews” no matter how shitty the places are. Everything is 5 stars, even shitbag 1 star properties that have bedbugs.

  8. It was actually the voice of Mel Blanc on the Jack Benny Show. It was a running gag.

    Every so often Jack, Mary, and Rochester would be in a train station and there would be an announcement.

    “Train leaving on Track Five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc…”, at which point there would be a long pause before Blanc would finish up with a long and drawn out “…amonga…”, drawing a big laugh. On one or more times I heard Blanc wait for 5-10 minutes to slowly exhale “…amonga.” Huge audience reaction!

    Those were the days, my friends.

  9. Rancho Cucamonga is actually a very nice place to raise kids. Nice neighborhoods and excellent schools. A few of my colleagues all bought homes there (those who could afford it) mainly for the school district.

  10. If only HH gave a late check-out to elites, maybe the award could have been cut in half…the court probably added punitive damages knowing that Hilton has the weakest set of elite benefits 🙂

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