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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26979
Experience:  Lawyer
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hi - any help would be appreciated. This is truly one of the

Customer Question

hi - any help would be appreciated. This is truly one of the most ridiculous situations i have ever encountered!

we are at a resort in florida. i inadvertently took by two children (3&4 yrs old) to a bathroom for 16yrs+ as i did not see the sign and my son had to use the washroom (and this was the closest washroom (so I thought) to the pool)

while my son was on the toilet - we were told 6 times to get out by the attendent and manager (i had already told them that i would leave when my son got of the toilet!). My option was to leave my son by himself - or pull him off toilet mid way through bowel movement. When i finally told manager that this was harassment and that i would file a suit against the hotel if they did not leave me alone, they called security and the manager told me that it was me who had been rude and beligerent.

security was great - understanding - however they want a statement. Another member reported that i had been rude to the attendent. This is correct as by the 5th time i was livid as i could not/would not pull my son of the toilet and i told her very loudly to get away from me and to leave me alone.

my questions are two fold:
1. can i be held liable for trespassing in this washroom since my kids were under the required age even though i honestly did not see the sign?
2. should i purse this matter with hotel management?

Thanks so much
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Hi Michelle,

My name is Lucy and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

1. Technically, yes, you could be convicted of trespassing even if you did not see the signs, since ignorance of the law is not a defense, and because a person can also be charged with trespassing if he is asked to leave a place and refuses. However, I'd be pretty surprised if any DA took the case, especially since you can argue the defense of necessity. I can't see a person being charged with a crime for taking a child who needs to use the restroom into a public toilet.

2. It may be worth going up the chain of command and sending a letter to management recommending that they more prominently place the signs, and perhaps that they train security on the appropriate means of handling this situation. The bad press that would be involved if security guards were to haul a child out of a restroom in the middle of a bowel movement - well, that's a public relations nightmare. There must be a more appropriate means of handling the situation (such as by asking to speak to you quietly out of the earshot of the child), and if this is a chain, the management want wish to be informed of what happened.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much for your reply. I am so upset at the way we were treated and want to go up the chain of command as you suggested - however i am of course worried about the trespassing piece. They want me to write a statement (this was requested by the security company). However if i write the statement, i open myself up to possible litigation by admitting i did not leave. Also, becuase i did raise my voice, might they attack for harassment? i am likely paranoid - but you never know:(

Thank you!!

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
You're not obligated to write a statement, and you do not have to admit that you refused to leave, to explain how poorly staff handled the situation. You could ask them to sign something agreeing not to prosecute in exchange for your statement, if that would make you feel better.

The hotel isn't likely to sue for trespass, because it's such bad publicity. They likely wouldn't press criminal charges for the same reason. If they did, since trespass is a strict liability offense, all they would need is the testimony of the staff members that you were asked to leave and didn't. Your statement wouldn't be necessary. So, refusing to give a statement doesn't mean they can't pursue charges if they want - it's just such a bizarre situation, I can't imagine why they would do that.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

and what about the harassment piece - do you think because of the "raising my voice" - that this could be harassment or defamatory? Thank you

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Defamation requires an untrue, factual statement that harms someone's reputation. Raising your voice is not a statement. It doesn't sound like you said anything during the confrontation that would fall within that definition.

Harassment requires a course of conduct. One incident is usually not enough to establish harassment.

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