Case Brief Business Law 101 1/26/13 Heather Brown
Mathias v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc. (2003)
The plaintiff’s Burl and Desiree Mathias were bitten by bedbugs during their stay at the Motel 6
in downtown Chicago. They filed a lawsuit against the corporation alleging that the personnel
refused to act in response to numerous guest complaints of bedbugs in their rooms. The
plaintiff’s sought compensatory and punitive damages for the company’s engaging in reckless or
“willful and wanton conduct”. The defendant argued they were not reckless and punitive
damages were unwarranted.
Ruling in favor of plaintiffs affirmed. Plaintiff prevails.
III. Legal Principle
A. Issue (Question of Law)
Was the company liable for punitive damages?
B. Holding (Answer)
IV. Reasoning A. General Analysis
Punitive damages are not issued to compensate victims, but to punish the wrongdoer and prevent
them as well as others from conducting similar conduct in the future. Their objective is to deter
harmful behavior. They are not commonl