ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. — A New York woman’s multi-million-dollar lawsuit against an Albemarle County hotel over bed bugs will go to a jury after a federal judge ruled in her favor Tuesday.
Janie Mcfarland and her church group checked-in to a Super 8 motel during a September 13, 2014 visit to Central Virginia.
“It was our first night when I spent the night, so the entire time at the church service I was sick,” said McFarland, who is suing the motel owner.
McFarland said she discovered more than 40 bed bug bites all over her body.
“When I got up, I saw spots of blood on my pillow. So, they had been biting me on my neck and they were on my face,” she told WVIR.
McFarland described the scene as she reportedly found the bed bugs all over her motel bed.
“I pulled the sheet back even more and there were bed bugs from the head to the foot of the bed just scurrying around on the sheet,” said McFarland.
She said the bites festered and her whole body swelled from an allergic reaction.
“I was sick straight for a year and a half,” said McFarland.
She said when she brought the issue to the attention of motel management, they denied the accusations. “They were like we don’t know what you’re talking about, we didn’t find any bed bugs, everything is fine,” said McFarland.
The woman decided to file a lawsuit against the hotel’s owner, Chaxu Incorporated.
The hotel submitted dozens of pages of pest control reports from the year leading up to McFarland’s stay. WVIR reports to documents show Orkin did what they call cracks and crevice inspections to treat for bugs like ants, spiders, and roaches.
United States District Court Judge Glen Conrad sided with McFarland saying the reports doesn’t show the company actually sprayed for bed bugs.
“No indication that Orkin inspected the rooms for bed bugs at any time prior to September 13, 2014,” he said in his written opinion.
McFarland said the motel didn’t check for bed bugs until the day after she left. “That’s the first time in 2 years,” she said.
A Charlottesville jury will now decide if the owner of the motel should pay up to $5 million for negligence.
McFarland said she wants to teach the motel a lesson. “Other people have probably complained and they didn’t do anything about it,” she said.
The Super 8 motel’s attorney declined to comment on the case.
The jury trial is scheduled to last two days and is set to start July 20 in Charlottesville. To read the full lawsuit click here.