Lawsuit filed over faulty glass at W Hotel

Source: http://austin.ynn.com, June 29, 2011
By: John A. Salazar

The falling glass at the W Hotel in Downtown Austin is now turning into a legal battle.

Austin attorney Randy Howry filed a lawsuit against the hotel, alleging negligence on behalf of his two clients who were struck by falling glass from the hotel’s balconies earlier this month.

The expensive hotel, which is also home to the ACL’s Moody Theater, was closed indefinitely Wednesday after three additional glass panes fell from the building.

No one was injured, but a previous incident on June 10 left four people injured, two of whom are listed in the suit.

Howry said his clients suffered cuts, bruises and abrasions from the falling glass, as well as wounds that required stitches.

The Austin lawyer said the expensive boutique hotel chain was aware of window problems, citing a May accident at the W Hotel in Atlanta where one woman was killed and another was injured.

“Seventeen days pass and we put them on notice, our clients have put them on notice, yet nothing has been done and only after the glass fell yesterday did they do something about it,” Howry said.

While the lawsuit is filed against Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the W’s parent company, there may be more legal action in the near future.

Meanwhile, as construction workers were busy removing the panels Thursday, street closures down below created traffic congestion throughout the day. Streets around the hotel, located at 200 Lavaca Street, will remain closed until further notice.

One local resident says the work performed during construction should have been done right the first time.

“I think somebody didn’t do their job right, you’d think securing glass panels would be job number one and that they would double engineer that,” Austinite Jeff Surber said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the hotel released the names of five companies who worked on the hotel, including the balconies, specifically.

The hotel still says it has not figured out what is causing the glass to fail.

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