Justice For Wedding Party Who Fell Ill At Dominican Resort Ruining Celebrations

Specialist Travel Lawyers Secure Almost £50,000 for Family from Birmingham

11.06.2014

Expert travel lawyers have secured a settlement of nearly £50,000 for a family whose luxury wedding in the Dominican Republic was ruined when the guests suffered gastric illness and to make their nightmare even worse, a hurricane on the wedding day caused flash flooding at the hotel.

Terry and Keeley Ford travelled to the Melia Caribe Tropical Resort in Punta Cana for what they hoped would be a romantic, luxury wedding and two-week holiday from 27 August to 10 September in 2009.

But the couple, from Birmingham, say their holiday turned into a ‘nightmare’ when seven of the group, including themselves, fell ill with vomiting, diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain and lethargy. Terry’s 21-year-old son fell ill first before the wedding which was held on 4 September – and the rest were ill within two days of the celebrations. Keeley’s father, Anthony, who had previously suffered from bowel cancer, was diagnosed with gastroenteritis on his return and needed time off work.

International travel law experts at Irwin Mitchell were instructed to investigate and have now secured a five figure settlement from Tour operator Thomas Cook for those who fell ill, which included the newlyweds, Keeley’s two children who were 11 and 15 at the time, her parents and Terry’s son.

Irwin Mitchell has previously secured a settlement for holidaymakers who travelled to the resort in 2007 and also suffered illness.

Clare Pearson a specialist travel lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “This trip, which was meant to be a wedding celebration as well as a holiday, was ruined because of the illness the wedding party suffered and unfortunately nothing can turn back the clock to change that.

“Gastroenteritis is a serious condition that can cause long-term ongoing problems – particularly for vulnerable people like Anthony who was recovering from bowel cancer.

“Whilst the hurricane was unfortunate and could not have been predicted, holidaymakers’ welfare must be the top priority for tour operators at all times and efforts must be made to ensure that hotels are following good hygiene practices when it comes to food and cleanliness.

“This should have been the most memorable week of their lives but those memories were sadly completely ruined by the illness they suffered. We are pleased for our clients that they have now received a fair settlement from Thomas Cook after enduring such a terrible time in the Dominican Republic.”

Terry, 53 and Keeley, 45, from Kings Heath, told lawyers that conditions at the resort fell far below what they expected with food being undercooked on some occasions and seeing cooking utensils being used for both raw and cooked meat.

Just when they thought things couldn’t get any worse, a hurricane on their wedding night caused flash floods at the resort and meant the celebrations had to be cut short as everyone had to return to their rooms.

Keeley, a child minder, said: “Terry and I have both been married before so did not want the fuss of a church wedding so we decided to go somewhere hot instead.

“I was concerned about some of the food which was being served in the restaurant. I remember eating a burger and the middle it was pink and did not seem to be cooked properly, so I sent it back to the kitchen. Terry’s son, Jonathan, fell ill just two days after we arrived which made it hard for us to all be together as a family.

“As we were finishing our meals on our wedding day a hurricane hit which meant we all had to return to our rooms to take cover. Of course, this could never have been prevented but when we got up the next day the hotel was a complete mess yet the staff did not seem to be in a hurry to clean it up.

“Over the following two days we all started to feel ill with each of us unable to leave our rooms for long because of sickness and diarrhoea. It was an absolute nightmare, particularly for my Dad who has needed a colostomy bag since suffering from bowel cancer.

“It was a wedding and a holiday we will remember for all the wrong reasons but we are relieved the legal battle has now ended and we can finally start to put the ordeal behind us.”

 

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to illness abroad claims