Guest sues Emirates Palace for Dh20m

Hotel denies responsibilty saying Briton tampered with furniture and that accident could not cause her to suffer serious injuries.

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ABU DHABI // A guest who claims she suffered serious injuries when a wooden panel from a hotel-room wardrobe fell on her head is suing the Emirates Palace hotel for Dh20 million.

In her lawsuit filed with the Abu Dhabi Higher Civil Claims court, NC, 33, a Briton who lives in Dubai, says she checked into the hotel for a weekend getaway on July 18, 2008.

As she entered her room a large wooden panel in the wardrobe fell directly on to her head, knocking her out, the claim says.

Medical reports filed in the court showed NC began to have violent epileptic seizures, low blood-sodium levels and sudden blackouts. Shorter-term injuries included a torn neck muscle and major concussion.

NC said she had been admitted to intensive care more than 10 times since the incident.

She has asked the court for Dh20m in compensation, partly because she lost her job as a human resources director as a result of the medical problems.

She also claims compensation for moral and psychological damage caused by the hotel.

The case was first heard on May 24.

The Emirates Palace has denied responsibility and said the accident could not have caused so much injury.

In its response, the hotel said it would have been impossible for the incident to have happened as described in NC's lawsuit, and that any accident would have happened because the guest had tampered with the wardrobe.

"The claim presented was a figment of the claimant's imagination as we have presented to the court photographic evidence of the wardrobe and the wooden panel that has allegedly fallen on her head," the response said.

The hotel said the panel weighed only 2.2 kilograms and was part of the main structure of the wardrobe.

"The claimant also stated that her life has been completely altered by the incident," the response said. "However, we have presented evidence showing that she has continued with her lifestyle as normal."

According to court records, the hotel provided images from NC's Facebook page of her wedding, which was a year after the incident.

The hotel also asked the court to dismiss all medical records provided, as it argued they were loosely translated, incomplete and did not state the direct responsibility of the hotel in the accident.

The verdict should be issued on Thursday.