Joyce Anne Williams had a bad night.
On November 4, 2009, at 5:15 a.m., Williams woke up in her room at the Holiday Inn Opryland / Briley Parkway, according to the lawsuit she filed yesterday in Davidson County Circuit Court.
She stepped into the bathroom, turned on the light, and saw in the mirror that she had red bumps on her face. "After inspecting these red bumps, she felt a bug crawling down her arm, which she immediately scooped up with a tissue, causing the bug to burst and fill the tissue with blood," her legal complaint says.
Williams then walked back into the bedroom "and saw that the sheets and pillowcases of the hotel bed were streaked and smeared with blood" and "the bed was covered by hundreds of small bugs," the filing states.
After she convinced an initially skeptical night clerk that there really were bedbugs in her room, the hotel staff helped her move into another room. She says she eventually had to discard all of her belongings that had been in the infested room.
And Williams, who was visiting from Dandridge in East Tennessee, claims this was not the first time Cimex lectularius had visited the hotel. "Upon discovering a bedbug infestation on the eighth floor on a previous occasion," the lawsuit asserts, the hotel's proprietors "ordered all furniture and personalty located on that floor to be destroyed."
Williams is suing Intercontinental Hotels Group Resources Inc. and a subsidiary that operated the Holiday Inn, located at the intersection of Elm Hill Pike and Briley Parkway. Alleging negligence, she seeks as-yet unspecified damages. Knoxville attorneys Norman McKellar and Forrest Wallace are representing her.
"IHG is currently investigating the complaint, and we are unable to comment at this time," said Sarah-Ann Soffer, a spokesperson for Intercontinental based in Atlanta.
The lawsuit comes just as experts from around the country have gathered in Chicago for a "bedbug summit," seeking ways to deal with a rising wave of infestations in several areas of the country.