Injured tourist seeks $1M settlement with Dai-Ichi

Posted on Jul 13 1999

Lawyer William Fitzgerald is seeking a $1 million settlement with Dai-Ichi Hotel on behalf of a Japanese tourist, who has become disabled as a result of injuries he had sustained while using the hotel’s swimming pool.

The case was filed at the Superior Court three years ago by Masaru Furuoka, 26, who is now a quadriplegic as a result of the swimming pool tragedy in September 1995.

While seeking an out-of-court settlement with Dai-Ichi and its insurance company, Tokyo Marine and Fire Insurance, Fitzgerald said Furuoka would not drop his court claims against Japan Travel Bureau, the agency which facilitated Furuoka’s trip to Saipan.

Furuoka, who was a member of a tour group holding an evening party at the hotel’s pool side, dove into the swimming pool and struck his head on the concrete bottom.

He said he cried for help but his pleas were ignored by the hotel’s security guard who was around at the time.

“The hotel did not establish adequate safeguards of the pool or a warning advising [guests] of the dangers the pool presents to hotel guests,” the complaint stated.

The complaint also faulted the hotel management for not assigning a lifeguard on duty as every hotel is required by the law.

“The defendant’s negligence and lack of care caused plaintiff’s injuries that have and will result in plaintiff’s life-long sufferings, both mental and physical,” Fitzgerald stated in the legal brief filed with the Superior Court on Friday.

Doctors have determined that Furuoka will no longer be able to walk, feed himself and do other basic daily activities.

Furuoka originally asked for general damages in the amount of $3 million, but Fitzegerald has advised his client to settle for $1 million, which is the hotel’s insurance policy limit.

He also noted that collecting judgment award from Dai-Ichi might not be easy because of the hotel’s “troubled financial condition.”

As Furuoka’s injuries and damages cost more than $1 million, Fitzgerald said the rest of his expenses will be claimed against Japan Travel Bureau.

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