Motel 6 Franchisor Dismissed on Summary Judgment

Following a shooting at a Motel 6 in New Orleans East that left the plaintiff a paraplegic, suit was filed against the national and local franchises, alleging responsibility because the armed robber entered the motel’s parking lot through a broken security gate. The national franchise moved for summary judgment arguing that it owed no duty to plaintiff, as it did not control the day-to-day operations of the local motel. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment.

On appeal, plaintiff asserted that the national franchise had actual or constructive knowledge of the missing section of security fence and failed to repair this “unreasonably dangerous condition.” Additionally, plaintiff argued that the doctrines of actual and/or apparent authority imposed a duty on the national franchise to protect against criminal acts of a third party. The Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal reasoned, however, that the national franchise did not have custody or garde over the fence, and moreover the missing section of fence was not an unreasonably dangerous condition because there were alternate access points of entry and exit. Similarly, the national franchise did not have actual authority over the local motel, which was responsible for security. The Court also held that plaintiff failed to prove that he relied on the reputation of the Motel 6 franchise as a basis for staying at the motel. The decision to dismiss the national franchise on summary judgment was upheld.

Espinosa v. Accor N. Am., Inc.