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    Sunday, March 03, 2024

    Bedbugs focus of lawsuit against New London hotel

    New London ― Bedbugs and the itchy bites they can cause are the focus of a lawsuit against the Clarion Inn Hotel by a family claiming damages from their one-night stay at the hotel in 2017.

    Gregory Peck, Sajanee Mack and Immanuel Mack filed the lawsuit alleging negligence on the part of New London Hospitality LLC by leasing rooms infested with bedbugs, a claim the company denies.

    A trial started on Tuesday before Judge James Spallone and is being heard by a six-member jury in New London Superior Court. Peck and his family are represented by attorney John Nazzaro of the New London-based Reardon Law Firm.

    Jurors are learning through testimony about what bedbugs look like and hotel protocols on bedbug infestations, such as heating a room to 130 degrees for a sustained period of time to kill the bugs. Bedbugs are parasites that feed on human blood, favor the darkness and are considered a public health pest by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. The bugs can cause itchy welts and in some cases can lead to scarring.

    The lawsuit alleges the family sustained bites during their Nov. 23 to Nov. 24, 2017, stay at the Clarion Inn and in Peck’s case resulted in “numerous painful and itchy bites and skin rashes on his body including his head, legs, arms, hands, torso, neck and back.”

    “He also suffered great emotional distress and continues to suffer with anxiety from the incident. The bites caused him pain, discomfort and embarrassment,” the suit states.

    On the witness stand on Thursday and Friday was Gulshan Soni, who runs both the Red Roof Inn and Clarion Inn in New London and in 2017 was a regional general manager of a group of hotels that included the 136-room Clarion Inn at 269 North Frontage Road in New London.

    Soni claimed in testimony that Peck and his family never filed a complaint about bedbugs during their stay.

    Nazzaro on Friday showed the jury a cellphone video of what he claims was a bedbug crawling on a mattress in the room the family was staying in. He sparred with Soni about whether it was in fact a bedbug or not.

    “Take a look at the shape of the bug. Mr. Soni, you have seen pictures and diagrams of bedbugs... correct?” Nazzaro asked. “Do we agree this is a bug on the bed in a room at the Clarion Inn?”

    Also on the witness stand on Friday was Sajanee Mack, who claims she still had scars from the multiple bites she received during her stay at the hotel. Defense attorney Jason Gamsby, from the Cheshire-based law firm Bartlett & Grippe, attempted to show inconsistencies in her statements about when she treated the bites.

    Peck and family are seeking damages greater than $15,000 and have made offers to settle the case prior to trial for a total of $60,000, court records show. The hotel had countered with an offer of $20,000, records show.

    Testimony in the case was continuing Friday afternoon.

    g.smith@theday.com

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