Medical-referral escort awarded $96K over Guam hotel’s negligence

SUPERIOR Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo awarded $96, 236.50 in damages to James Quitugua Reyes for the injuries he incurred at Verona Resort & Spa in Guam after unknown persons assaulted him.

Reyes, a medical-referral escort of CNMI patient referred to Guam, sued Verona Resort & Spa for negligence in CNMI Superior Court in October 2017.

Reyes, through attorney Joseph E. Horey, filed a lawsuit against Polaris Guam LLC, operator of Verona Resort, for negligence and demanded a jury trial.

On Aug. 31, 2019, Judge Govendo granted Reyes’s renewed motion for a default judgment. A calculation of damages was attached to the final judgment.

According to the lawsuit, Verona Resort regularly hosted guests of the CNMI Office of Medical Referral Services. In March 2017, Reyes traveled with his brother-in-law as a family escort of the patient. The CNMI Office of Medical Referral Services arranged the accommodation for Reyes and his brother in-law at Verona Resort.

On March 10, 2017, at 11 p.m., while a guest at the Verona Resort, Reyes was standing in the parking lot of the hotel when he was assaulted by unknown persons.

Reyes was knocked unconscious and sustained injuries as a result of the assault.

Reyes was taken to Guam Memorial Hospital where he was treated for his injuries, incurring medical expenses.

Reyes suffered severe pain and suffering, his lawyer Joseph Horey said.

Horey said the parking lot of Verona Resort where Reyes was assaulted was dimly lit, unattended, and unequipped with any measures protecting the safety of the guests using it.

Horey said as a direct and proximate result of Verona Resort’s breach of its duty of care to Reyes, the plaintiff suffered bodily injury, pain, suffering and emotional distress, all to his damage in an amount to be proven at trial.

Reyes, through his lawyer, asked the court to hold the hotel liable to pay the plaintiff damages, interest, and costs of litigation.

Variety learned that Verona Resort has not renewed its license since February 2019.

Variety failed to get a comment form Verona Resort’s operator, Polaris Guam LLC.

On Guam, Verona has been sued by former employees for discrimination or over unpaid wages, and by the government of Guam itself for nonpayment of taxes, penalties and fines.