On March 18, 2020, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals dismissed an application by Palace Resorts Inc. to move a wrongful death case from Miami to Mexico. The ruling followed a deadly assault at a resort in Cancun and an earlier trial court ruling.
The unanimous decision to reject the resort company’s appeal was issued without an opinion.
Earlier proceedings at a trial court resulted in a rejection of the bid by Place Resorts to have the case transferred to Quintana Roo, Mexico. The court rejected the application because the deceased’s wife, Raine Chaiko, did not sign the membership agreement with the company.
Raine’s sister-in-law booked the vacation at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun under the membership agreement. The trial court determined that the forum selection clause does not apply to Chacko. The situation would have been different if she had signed the agreement.
The deceased’s wife lives in Texas with two children. She initiated legal action against the resort company in March 2016. The lawsuit followed the death of her husband, Joseph Joe, in March 2014. An altercation with another guest resulted in Jose’s death on the grounds of the resort.
Jose’s sister Shaly Alappat used her Palace Premier membership to book the vacation for her brother, sister-in-law, and two children. The membership agreement enabled Alappat to take advantage of the ‘guest weeks special’ to book vacations at Palace establishments for family and friends at discounted rates.
On the fateful day (March 13, 2014), Jose informed his wife that he was heading to Noir, a nightclub at the resort. The complainant noted that Jose left the family’s room after his two children fell asleep.
A security guard at the resort later found Jose being assaulted by Gabriel Trinidad Jimenez, a fellow guest. According to the security guard, Jose’s lay face down as the heavily intoxicated Jimenez pummeled him.
In court papers, the deceased’s wife stated that the resort lacked adequate security, Additionally, she highlighted the failure to identify Jimenez as heavily intoxicated and accompany him to his room.
Gary E. Davidson of Diaz Reus & Targ provided legal assistance to Raine Chacko. The experienced attorney successfully prevented the dismissal of the wrongful death lawsuit against the Mexican resort company. Davidson praised the court’s decision by the Third District Court of Appeals in Florida.
The attorney stated that the judges in Florida made the right decision by rejecting an application by Palace Resorts Inc. to move the case to Mexico.