Bat Sparks Lawsuit in MGM’s New York-New York Hotel in Las Vegas

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A recent lawsuit filed against the New York-New York Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip (pictured) has brought to light an unsettling incident involving a live bat in a guest room.

The lawsuit, initiated by an Arizona family, seeks $15,000 in compensation from the hotel’s operator, MGM Resorts International. The family says that covers the emotional and physical stress they endured after undergoing medical treatments becaue of potential rabies exposure.

It also claims negligence on the part of MGM and its staff for improperly disposing of the bat before it could be tested by public health officials for the potentially deadly virus.

The issue of pests in Las Vegas hotels also hit the headlines earlier this month. A new report from the Southern Nevada Health District was obtained by journalists, detailing the Las Vegas Strip resorts’ battles with bed bugs over the past year and a half. MGM appeared on the list of seven hotels with bedbug incidents once, not at New York-New York, but at its flagship MGM Grand property.

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Unwanted Guest in the Hotel Room

This latest pest-related event actually occurred last year. But the lawsuit was only filed on August 10, 2023, as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

In April 2022, eight members of the Rucker family from Arizona, along with two other families, were staying at the New York-New York Hotel for a volleyball tournament. On the morning of April 11, Marcus Rucker was awakened by a noise emanating from the window curtains. To his surprise, he discovered a live bat hanging on the curtains.

Rucker took swift action, killing the bat before placing it inside a plastic cup. He then left in a stairwell for the hotel staff to address.

Upon informing a front desk employee about the incident and the bat’s location, the hotel staff promptly disposed of the bat. However, this decision would later prove problematic.

Rabies Concerns and Medical Treatments

After returning to Arizona, Rucker contacted the Maricopa County Arizona Health Department for guidance on the situation. The health department advised that all individuals who had been in the room should be tested for potential rabies exposure. Furthermore, they recommended that the bat be tested for the disease.

When Rucker reached out to the New York-New York Hotel, hoping to retrieve the bat for testing, he was informed that the hotel staff had already disposed of it. This left the Rucker family with no choice but to undergo a series of painful injections to prevent the potential contraction of rabies.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of the hotel and its staff. It claims that the hotel failed to maintain a safe environment for its guests and did not take appropriate measures to address the bat incident.

“Plaintiffs were required to undergo a series of multiple injections to prevent contracting rabies, which were painful,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit further states that the hotel’s policies and procedures were either “insufficient and/or ineffective” in preventing such incidents. It also says the hotel staff should have been aware of the importance of preserving the bat for rabies testing. The family is seeking $15,000 in damages.

MGM Resorts International, the operator of New York-New York Hotel and Casino, has yet to issue a public statement regarding the lawsuit.

This kind of incident is definitely rare, especially at high-end Las Vegas properties. But surprisingly, it is not the first time a bat has been found in a U.S casino resort hotel room. In 2017, a guest at Wyoming’s Jenny Lake Lodge was actually bitten by a bat found in a room. In that case, the operators, Grand Teton Lodge and Vail Resorts, settled for an undisclosed amount, including medical bills.

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