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Z. Marcia Abramson, Executrix of the Estate of Martin Abramson v. the Ritz-Carlton Hotel

May 31, 2011

Z. MARCIA ABRAMSON, EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF MARTIN ABRAMSON DECEASED AND Z. MARCIA ABRAMSON IN HER OWN RIGHT, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL COMPANY, LLC T/A, D/B/A AND A/K/A THE RITZ-CARLTON GOLF & SPA RESORT, ROSE HALL, JAMAICA AND MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. AND THE RITZ CARLTON GOLF & SPA RESORT, ROSE HALL, JAMAICA AND AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVEL RELATED SERVICES, INC., AND JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 20, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Joseph H. Rodriguez

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

RODRIGUEZ,J.

This matter comes before the Court on motion [Dkt. No. 51] of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC; Marriott International, Inc.; The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company of Jamaica, Ltd.; and Rose Hall Resort, L.P. ("Defendants") for summary judgment on all claims filed by Z. Marcia Abramson ("Plaintiff"), as executrix of the estate of Martin Abramson ("Abramson") and in her own right. The Court has considered the written submissions of the parties without oral argument pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. For the reasons expressed below, Defendants' motion will be granted.

I. Background

On June 8, 2007, Abramson was eating dinner with his wife and family in the Jasmine restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Hotel & Spa in Rose Hall, Jamaica. During dinner, between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 p.m., Abramson went into cardiac arrest.*fn1

Plaintiff, a registered nurse who was trained and certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation ("CPR") called out for help and went to her husband's aid. Two other patrons, a nurse-anesthetist and a physician, both with Basic Life Support ("BLS") training quickly responded to Plaintiff's calls for help. The three immediately began to perform CPR on Abramson.

In response to Plaintiff's calls for help, a restaurant waitress immediately notified the hotel receptionist and called the hotel's emergency hotline to report a medical emergency in the restaurant. At 9:05 p.m., the hotel's Command Control Coordinator sent a radio dispatch to the hotel's Loss Prevention Officers (LPOs) to respond to the restaurant. At 9:07 p.m., the Command Control Coordinator contacted MoBay Medical Clinic, instructed them to send an ambulance, and gave directions as to how emergency personal should enter the hotel.*fn2

Shortly thereafter, hotel LPOs arrived at the restaurant with an oxygen tank and automatic external defibrillator. Plaintiff contends that the oxygen tank was empty and the defibrillator only produced a "faint like quiver" when applied to Abramson.*fn3

However, Plaintiff concedes that Abramson received constant BLS support until the ambulance arrived at approximately 9:19 p.m. and transported him to MoBay Medical Clinic. Abramson was subsequently airlifted to Jackson Medical Center in Miami, Florida where he was pronounced dead on June 11, 2007.

On June 5, 2009, Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court as the executrix Abramson's estate and in her own right, naming as defendants the purported owners and operators of the hotel. The action was properly removed to this Court on June 6, 2009 [Dkt. No. 1]. Plaintiff subsequently filed a First Amended Complaint on February 5, 2010 [Dkt. No. 24], and a Second Amended Complaint on March 15, 2010 [Dkt. No. 38], properly identifying and clarifying the ownership and operator entities associated with the hotel. Plaintiff predicates liability on the grounds that Defendants breached a duty of care to Abramson and, as a result, substantially increased his risk of death. Plaintiff asserts claims for negligence (Count One), punitive damages (Count Four), survival (Count Five), and wrongful death (Count Six) on behalf of Abramson's estate and claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count Three) and loss of consortium (Count Seven) on her own behalf. Defendants now move for summary judgment as to all claims on the grounds that Plaintiff has not demonstrated that Defendants breached any duty of care to Abramson. [Dkt. No. 51].*fn4

II. Standard of Review

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). An issue is "genuine" if supported by evidence such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in the nonmoving party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is "material" if, under the governing substantive law, a dispute about the fact might affect the outcome of the suit. Id. In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must view the facts and all reasonable inferences drawn from those facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

Initially, the movant has the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant satisfies its burden by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . admissions, interrogatory ...


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