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Articles Posted in Sandals Lawsuits

Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort Strike.jpgBahamian newspapers are reporting that there is a possibility of a labor strike at the Sandals’ Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island. Seemingly at the heart of this labor dispute is Sandals alleged actions of firing three pregnant maids and workers who join the union. Trade Union Congress president, Obie Ferguson, stated 90% of the resort’s workers took part in a strike vote last week. Sandals Resort’s public relations officer Stephen Hector claims the number is lower and disputes that the company knew the maids were pregnant when they were terminated. Sandals subsequently offered to hire back the maids.

In an effort to downplay the image of a “disgruntled and downtrodden workforce” portrayed by the union, Sandals claims only 187 employees or 25% percent of the workforce voted for the strike. Mr. Hector also went on records as saying, “we are astonished by the union’s ongoing efforts to destabilize the resort’s 720-strong workforce and undermine our efforts to drive tourism in the Bahamas.” From this statement, on can come away with the opinion that Sandals is just fine with 25% of its staff being dissatisfied with the way they are being treated as long as the company keeps bringing tourists to the Bahamas. However, Mr. Hector does state, “At Sandals, we do not shy away from our responsibilities and we recognize that the 187 team members who felt compelled to vote for a strike is 187 too many. We will work hard to ensure that we offer those team members along with the workforce as a whole a comfortable and inspiring place to come to work each day.”

It is interesting to note, Sandals has decided to keep the Royal Bahamian Spa Resort open for business should the strike occur. Setting the labor dispute aside, it is unclear what, if any, impact a strike cause on American tourists’ safety and well-being. There are many questions that have yet to be answered. Will Sandals hire non-union replacement labor or operate with a reduced staff? Will Sandals employ extra security guards to protect American vacationers from any potential violence that may erupt from the strike?

Suction Entrapment Death Law Firm.jpgThe resort injury lawyers of Brais Brais Rusak were successful in convincing a Federal court to apply Florida law to a death that occurred in the Bahamas. The case of John Van Hoy, Jr. is heartbreaking. John was on vacation with his fiancée Nicole at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort located Nassau. During his stay, he decided to refresh himself in one of the resort’s hot tubs. As he went under to wet his hair, he became entrapped on the bottom suction drain. Despite the efforts of many people, including other guests at the Sandals’ resort, John remained stuck on the bottom of the hot tub until he drowned. John died that night leaving behind two sons, his mother, father, siblings and Nicole. His death occurred because the hot tub was outfitted by a 12″ x 12″ flat drain cover, the motor / pump assembly were not equipped with a vacuum release system, there were no emergency shut off switch located around the hot tub and it is believed the pump room was locked delaying the shut off of the motor.

Florida Hot Tub Accident Lawyer.jpgBrais Brais Rusak were hired to represent John’s estate and family. The law firm filed a wrongful death action in Miami, Florida against multiple defendants including: (1) Sandals; (2) the drain cover and pump manufacturer Hayward; (3) the motor manufacturer A.O. Smith as well as the component part distributors Hospitality Purveyors and SCP Distributors. In an effort to significantly reduce the amount of any awardable damages to the Van Hoys, Sandals sought application of Bahamian law to the lawsuit. Under Bahamian law, survivors cannot seek damages for emotion pain and suffer for the death of their loved one and the estate cannot claim damages for any pre-death pain and suffering. As a result, the application of Bahamian law would reduce the Van Hoy’s claim to the amount of the wages John would likely earn in his lifetime and burial expenses. The issue was taken up by the Court in a pretrial motion. Brais Brais Rusak argued the United States, particularly Missouri and Florida, has a more significant relation to the case than the Bahamas and United States law should apply. The Court agreed with our legal analysis and issued an order applying Florida damages and liability law to the case.

This was Brais Brais Rusak’s second major victory in this case. Last year Sandals and other defendants attempted to dismiss the case in its entirety requesting the case to be tried in the Bahamas. This motion was denied and the case was allowed to proceed in Florida. You can read more about that decision in our article Judge Rules Sandals Resorts & Pool Component Manufacturers Must Stand Trial in Miami, Florida for Bahamas Entrapment Drowning Death.

Michael Misick Sandals Resorts.jpgIt has been widely reported that Sandals Resorts International has agreed to pay the Turks and Caicos government $12 million to resolve an investigation into bribery and money laundering. Sandals Resorts operates the Beaches Resort in the Caribbean island nation and has recently purchased the former Veranda resort property.

Turks and Cacios is self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom located approximately 600 miles from Miami, Florida. In 2008, the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee received several reports of high level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos. Their report charged that country’s Premier Michael Misick (pictured on the left), “to have built up a multi-million dollar fortune since he was elected in 2003 when he declared assets of only $50,000,” enriched himself and fellow ministers “by selling off Crown land to fund current investment.” Widespread government corruption in the Turks and Cacios led to the United Kingdom to impose direct rule in 2009 but returned island nation to democratic government at the next general election. Wanted on corruption charges Mr. Misick fled the Turks and Cacios but was arrested by Brazilian police in 2012 at a Rio de Janeiro airport.

A Special Investigation Prosecution Team (SIPT) was organized to look into a transfer of $1.65 million from Sandals Resorts related bank accounts to the Turks and Cacios’ Progressive National Party and Mr. Misick. Details of Sandals Resorts’ involvement were not disclosed, but according to Associated Press, Sandals Resorts’ general counsel Dimitri Singh said a former senior company officer was linked to “various unauthorized transactions” and said the Jamaica-based resort company was voluntarily cooperating with international authorities probing former islands officials. The SIPT said the settlement agreement involves no admission of liability by Sandals Resorts or its founder and chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart.