337 Holidaymakers In Legal Battle Following Illness
Specialist travel lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have accused First Choice of “breathtaking arrogance” over its continued refusal to accept responsibility for illness outbreaks at the Holiday Village Turkey hotel in 2008.
A lawyer at the firm made the comments as they filed papers at court in a legal battle on behalf of 337 holidaymakers who were taken ill at the hotel in 2008.
The hotel has a long track record of illness. Irwin Mitchell has represented more than 1,000 holidaymakers in illness claims stretching back to 2005.
The Holiday Village Turkey featured on the BBC’s Watchdog programme in 2009, with lawyers at Irwin Mitchell representing 629 people in compensation claims after staying at the hotel that year.
First Choice has already paid out more than £100,000 in compensation to tourists who stayed at the hotel in 2005 and 2007.
Despite these payouts, the tour operator has refused to accept liability for the illness outbreaks in 2008. 440 people were seeking compensation through Irwin Mitchell after stays at the hotel that year, and while 103 of those have taken compensation from First Choice, the other 337 are now taking action in court.
The group of 337 includes 12 children and seven adults who contracted Salmonella poisoning and a couple whose wedding was ruined when they and 24 of their guests were struck down by illness.
Clive Garner, Head of the International Travel team at Irwin Mitchell said First Choice’s tactics are prolonging the misery for its customers.
Mr Garner said: “Obviously lessons are not being learnt. Each summer since 2005 we have received calls from holidaymakers who have suffered very serious illness at the Holiday Village Hotel, many of whom are still suffering as a result of their symptoms even now, and the complaints about food, hygiene and cleanliness are consistent year after year. The number of people who have called on us for help now exceeds 1,200.
“To dismiss the concerns of so many people is nothing short of breathtakingly arrogant on First Choice’s part, which continues to bury its head in the sand despite the countless attempts we have made to deal with this matter amicably, and out of court, ensuring that our clients are fairly compensated for their losses and suffering.
“They continue to refuse to accept responsibility for the severe illnesses suffered by our clients who stayed at the hotel in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and although they have accepted liability for our 117 clients who stayed at the hotel in 2006, causation of illness is still in issue and a trial is listed for July this year.
“Frankly they have suffered enough and are eager to put this matter behind them, but they remain steadfast in their determination to ensure that First Choice, who they put their trust in, sit up, pay attention, and make sure that drastic improvements are made to protect future guests.”