Rebecca and Michael Holt of Charlotte, North Carolina, sued the hotel chain Marriott International on Wednesday accusing it of negligence in connection to their son Charlie Holt’s death on April 14.
“What started out as the best family trip turned into the worst nightmare,” Rebecca Holt said in a statement.
The family was eating at the Sun Dial restaurant atop the hotel “because it was recommended as a fun place for families with kids to see the Atlanta skyline and enjoy a meal,” said Charlie’s father, Michael Holt.
At the time, the restaurant slowly rotated to offer guests 360-degree views of Atlanta’s skyline on the 72nd floor of the hotel.
The lawsuit says Charlie became trapped in a “pinch point” between a booth and a wall on a path between the family’s table and the bathrooms.
The rotating restaurant did not automatically stop when Charlie became stuck and there weren’t any emergency buttons to halt the rotation, despite the fact that the incident occurred in a “longstanding safety hazard,” according to the lawsuit.
Rebecca Holt attempted to pull Charlie free and Michael Holt “threw his body against the booth,” but neither parent could free their son.
The lawsuit says Michael Holt heard Charlie’s skull crack before someone was able to stop the rotation.
Hotel workers scrambled to rescue the boy after realizing what happened, police say. He was later rushed to a hospital and later pronounced dead.
“The family has filed this lawsuit to set the record straight about what happened and to make sure, to the best of their abilities, that no other family ever has to suffer the same fate,” said Joseph Fried, the family’s attorney.
After the boy’s death, Marriott said it wouldn’t allow the revolving mechanism to operate until the dangerous “pinch points” have been fixed, according to Fried.
But that response is too late, he said.
“Marriott should not have waited for this tragedy before acting to correct this hazard, especially while it held itself out as a safe place for kids.,” Fried said.
Marriott reopened the hotel restaurant this past June.
A family spokesperson issued a statement that read: “The family asks for prayers and privacy right now to come to terms with this tragedy.”
It continued: “No words can express their loss. If you have a loved one, please give them an extra hug today.”
[Feature image: Wikimedia Commons]