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Legal 500 (2013)

Over £325,000 compensation recovered after holiday illness at the Hotel Boca Chica, Dominican Republic

72 claimants recovered over £325,000 in compensation after an outbreak of illness at the Boca Chica Hotel, Dominican Republic.

Irwin Mitchell were successful in recovering damages amounting to over £325,000 from the tour operator My Travel on behalf of 72 clients who stayed at the Hotel Boca Chica between 8 January 2002 and 14 May 2002. All 72 holidaymakers suffered from illness except one holidaymaker.

The holidaymakers complained that the hotel did not fulfil the representations made in the Defendant’s brochure.  There were various complaints about the poor standard of accommodation, and in particular complaints about inadequate hygiene standards and health precautions, which it was alleged led to outbreaks of illness amongst guests at the hotel.  Guests suffered gastric illnesses of varying degrees of severity.  Many of those who were ill sustained acute symptoms requiring emergency medical treatment and, in some cases, admissions to hospital. Widespread illness led to fear amongst many about the nature of the illnesses and their consequences. All were distressed as a result of their experiences on holiday and the illnesses their families suffered. Some of the holidaymakers developed long term or permanent complications including Irritable Bowel Syndrome and suffered illnesses which continue to have a significant ongoing effect on their lives.

All 72 have accepted offers made to them by MyTravel.  The settlement included payment of their legal costs as well.

Christine and Christopher Perry from Coppenhall were amongst the 72 holidaymakers. Mr & Mrs Perry who were both struck down with severe gastric illness, were awarded £10,000 compensation.

Christine and Christopher Perry flew out to the Dominican Republic for a month-long holiday in the sun on April 17th 2002. As Mrs Perry explains: “Within two days of arriving at the hotel we started to feel ill. At first we thought it was just a change of weather and the heat, but the sickness and diarrhoea symptoms became worse. We soon realised poor restaurant conditions were probably to blame.  The chefs would put freshly prepared food on top of food, which had been sitting on the buffet table for some time, and just mix it all together. There were flies all over the food and no attempt to cover things over. We stopped eating in the restaurant altogether but unfortunately our symptoms carried on.

“After about 10 days the tour operator sent in their own health and hygiene inspectors and moved us to another hotel. Even after that, we continued to be ill.

“Virtually our entire holiday was ruined, although we did manage a couple of short sight-seeing trips which were made possible thanks to a really understanding coach driver who kept pulling over for impromptu toilet stops.

“We were so relieved when we were finally able to get on the plane home. Thankfully, the plane wasn’t full and the air stewardesses allowed us to stretch out across the seats and put blankets over us. There were so many people from the Boca Chica on that flight; it looked like a Red Cross evacuation!”

Mrs Perry added: “By the time I got home I had lost more than a stone in weight. Unfortunately, as a result of this holiday illness, my husband has now been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. This is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life.”

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"We were very happy with the outcome of our case, especially as we were initially offered nothing from the Tour Operator. Irwin Mitchell were very professional throughout and we are very happy with the outcome."

Chris and Michael, Worksop 

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