Austria: hotel operator not liable for injury of a guest who tried to repair a jamming glass door

The plaintiff who was a former share holder of a hotel company (the defendant) and also the former companion of the defendant’s director stayed in the defendant’s hotel as a guest, when the director asked him to do her the favour to look for a jamming glass door in the indoor pool area because she couldn’t reach any craftsman. When he tried to remove the defective glass door, he got severely injured on his right hand. He sued the hotel company for compensation for pain and suffering. The court of first instance granted the claim. The appelate court reversed the judgement and dismissed the claim. The Austrian Supreme Court (OGH) upheld the decision of the appelate court: though the hotel company had a contractual obligation to protect the guests, the plaintiff had acted at the request of the director to do her a favour only. In this capacity he had not acted as a hotel guest but as a voluntary appointee of the director. Thus his attempt to repair the glass door was not related to the hotel contract. Furthermore he had acted in the knowledge that there was a problem with the glass door and therefore could not rely on its safety.Judgement OGH 8 Ob 52/11x of May 25, 2011 available in German here>>.

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