Last week, I was notified of a Global Exchange Vacation Club lawsuit that was being contested in court. The lawsuit, which was originally filed by a former Global Exchange employee (who is no longer with the company) alleged that the company created and promoted a program that caused them to be liable for injuries sustained by members of the public while on their property. The complaint further alleged that the company did not take reasonable steps to ensure that the risk of such liabilities did not exist. One of the main issues in this lawsuit revolves around whether or not the company created and promoted an illegal scheme in order to circumvent the law.
Global Exchange operates under two main principles. First, they believe that everyone on their properties should be held to the same standard. Second, they believe that vacation clubs are not appropriate locations for high volume business ventures. Therefore, the company does not promote vacation clubs and does not sell vacation clubs to members. Because of these two fundamental beliefs, members feel that the company has acted in a way that is contrary to its own principles and has in fact violated the law. Because of these fears, they have filed this lawsuit.
At the center of this entire issue is a simple concept: namely, that people who visit a property (which is a vacation club) should not be held responsible for injuries that may occur while on that property. As previously stated, Global Exchange believes that people on vacation should not be held liable for injuries on the property they are visiting. This does not mean that the property owner can not hold people liable if they choose to close off their property to the general public. The main issue is instead, that this particular policy was improperly created and promoted and did not make sense within the Global Exchange Vacation Club litigation. While many of the specifics will be discussed below, the crux of this claim is that the policy was not created to protect the property owner’s right to hold people liable for injuries they may sustain while on the property.
Because of this, the lawsuit was filed against Global Exchange and is being handled by an Atlanta based law firm. One of the main issues that has been discussed is whether or not the policy in question actually violates any Federal law or whether or not the policy was legally adopted in the first place. Because the lawsuit is being handled by an outside law firm, no one will be able to answer those questions for you. However, there is still an argument to be made about whether or not the vacation club’s policy is a wise business decision. After all, they do want to keep people on the property as guests and in good condition.
This is because the claims of the plaintiffs do place the Global Exchange property in a somewhat negligent position. They argue that despite the fact that the property is a vacation club, it is not an idyllic location and that people could easily become injured on the property. Additionally, they argue that because the hotel has high walls and strong fencing, people could easily get into the pool area and get into the pool without anyone watching. In addition, they claim that because of the hotel’s high popularity, there are plenty of willing vendors willing to clean the pool area after people have left and as a result, there is plenty of dirt around the property that is ripe for someone to use as a weapon. In addition, there are some who might try to jump on guests and drag them off of the property.
While these are all important issues, one of the more ironic things about the entire situation is that none of this would have happened if the Global Exchange had followed a proper protocol. There is only one way that a business can show negligence and that is through the proper protocol. If the Global Exchange had followed even just a few of the recommendations in their hotel maintenance manual, then this lawsuit would not have been necessary. Not only did the hotel follow every regulation and rule that were required by law, but they also followed the rules that the community of Palm Beach had set forth for them. When a resort does not follow a community’s rules and regulations, this is considered grounds for a lawsuit and the lawyers have a good chance of coming up with one.