Emirates Palace has been sued for AED 20 million (US $5.4 million) by a guest who claims she was injured when a wooden panel fell on her head.
In the lawsuit filed with the Abu Dhabi Higher Civil Claims court, the British expat, who lives in Dubai, said she checked into the hotel on July 18, 2008, as reported in Abu Dhabi newspaper The National.
She claimed she was knocked out when a large wooden panel in the wardrobe fell directly on her head upon entering the guestroom.
Medical reported filed in the court showed that the claimant began to have violent epileptic seizures, low blood-sodium levels and sudden blackouts. Shorter-term injuries included a torn neck muscle and major concussion.
The claimant said she had been admitted to intensive care more than 10 times since the incident, according to the report.
She asked the court for AED 20 million in compensation, partly because she lost her job as a human resource director as a result of the medical problems, and for moral and psychological damage caused by the hotel.
However, the Emirates Palace has denied responsibility and claimed that the accident could not have caused so much injury attributing it to a “figment of the claimant’s imagine”.
The hotel representatives said it would have been impossible for the incident to have happened as described in the lawsuit, and that any accident would have happened because the guest had tampered with the wardrobe.
"The claim presented was a figment of the claimant's imagination as we have presented to the court photographic evidence of the wardrobe and the wooden panel that has allegedly fallen on her head," the response said.
The hotel said the panel weighed only 2.2 kilograms and was part of the main structure of the wardrobe.
"The claimant also stated that her life has been completely altered by the incident," the response said. "However, we have presented evidence showing that she has continued with her lifestyle as normal."
According to court records, the hotel provided images from NC's Facebook page of her wedding, which was a year after the incident.
The hotel also asked the court to dismiss all medical records provided, as it argued they were loosely translated, incomplete and did not state the direct responsibility of the hotel in the accident.
The verdict should be issued on Thursday, according to the newspaper report.