Brain-Damaged Man Sues Hotel Over Carbon Monoxide Leak

A former pilot, who suffered traumatic brain injury from carbon monoxide poisoning at an Embassy Suites hotel in California, has filed over the incident, according to Inside Bay Area’s website.

http://www.insidebayarea.com/breaking-news/ci_22397707/carbon-monoxide-leak-at-burlingame-hotel-caused-brain

California has a carbon monoxide detector law that could have prevented the man’s injuries. But, after lobbying by the hotel industry,  that law won’t go into effect until 2016 for hotels.

Robert McNamara, 58, of Bakersfield and his wife are suing the hotel in Burlingame, Calif., for negligence. The suit was filed in San Mateo Superior Court.

McNamara was sent to the hospital after being discovered unconscious in his hotel room, and it was ultimately determined that he was suffering from severe carbon monoxide poisoning.

At the time of McNamara’s CO poisoning, under the law hotels didn’t have to install carbon monoxide detectors, according to Inside Bay Area. Such a law will not go into effect until 2016, as ridiculous as that is.

McNamara is in rehab and sustained severe brain injuries from the carbon monoxide. He was at the Embassy Suites hotel last November for his job with Occidental Petroleum Corp. His colleagues got worried when he didn’t appear for a meeting, and a hotel worker found him unconscious.

Initially, doctors weren’t sure if carbon monoxide was the cause of McNamara’s illness. But once they determined that it was, they informed authorities. Firefighters went to the hotel and found high levels of carbon monoxide throughout the building, with the levels in McNamara’s room were astronomical, according to Inside Bay Area.

Hundreds of guests were evacuated from the hotel, and firefighters determined that a malfunctioning boiler was the source of the carbon monoxide leak.

As Inside Bay Area explained, a law mandating carbon monoxide detectors in most multi-unit dwellings in California went into effect the start of this year. Although it initially was supposed to govern hotels and motels, the California Hotel & Lodging Association had that delayed by three years.

The reason, the group’s head told Inside Bay Area, was to avoid having alarms be installed a second time due to building code changes expected in 2014.

But Rep. Alan Lowenthal, the ex-state lawmaker and now a congressman who sponsored the law, blasted hotels for not having CO detectors.

If someone dies in a Cali hotel of carbon monoxide poisoning in the next three years, whose hands will their blood be on?

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