This is an action by John and Regina Josephs against a resort known as Club Dominicus and a travel agency known as Richard's Travel Service, brought because defendant's resort accommodations were substandard.
It is uncontested that defendant Richard's Travel Service (Richard's) recommended and arranged for plaintiffs to spend their vacations at Club Dominicus in the Dominican Republic, and that the accommodations provided by Club Dominicus were far below standard.
It appears, further, that Richard's is independent from Club Dominicus except for the commissions received for booking vacations.
Richard's moved for involuntary dismissal at the end of plaintiffs' case on the ground that plaintiff had not proved any facts upon which liability of a travel agent could be based. (It should be noted that defendant Club Dominicus is not involved at this point of the litigation because it is in default for failing to answer the complaint.)
Richard's argues that it was simply an agent for a disclosed principal and, as such, owed no duty to plaintiffs. The only party owing any duty to plaintiffs was the disclosed principal, Club Dominicus, and that party is the only one liable for a breach.
For the reasons enunciated herein, Richard's motion is denied.
Defendant is mistaken in its contention that because it was paid by Club Dominicus it was the agent of Club Dominicus only, and since its principal was disclosed to plaintiffs, it owed no duty to plaintiffs.
The court has found no case in any jurisdiction directly on point. The cases cited by defendant are not helpful since they do not address the issue presented here, namely, does a travel agent owe any duty of care to the traveler?
In E. A. McQuade Travel Agency v. Domeck, 190 So. 2d 3 (Fla.Sup.Ct.1966), cited by defendant, the court held that a travel agent was not liable for the return of money paid to a cruise line after the line filed in bankruptcy. A similar result was reached in Unger v. Travel Arrangements, Inc., 25 A.D. 2d 40, 266 N.Y.S. 2d 715 (1966). These cases are of no assistance because there is no indication in either of them that the travel agents involved failed their clients in any way by making arrangements.
The only case cited by defendant that is factually close to the case at bar is Sacks v. Loew's Theatres, 47 Misc. 2d 854, 263 N.Y.S. 2d 253 (1965). There, a travel agent was sued by his client, who was assaulted and locked out of his room by ...