Quebec City hotel drops lawsuit over TripAdvisor bedbug review
Parties agree that only 1 bedbug was found, no infestation
A Quebec City hotel has agreed to drop its lawsuit against a former client who claimed it was infested with bedbugs in a TripAdvisor review.
But as part of an out-of-court settlement, L'Hôtel Québec will acknowledge that it did discover one bedbug, three years ago.
The hotel launched a $95,000 lawsuit in 2013 against Laurent Azoulay for damages and loss of revenue.
Following a two-night stay at the hotel Azoulay, had written on the TripAdvisor website that "At first this hotel looks okay... until you wake at 3 a.m. because you've been scratching all over and realize your bed is infested with BED BUGS!"
Azoulay counter-sued the hotel, which is part of the Hôtels Jaro chain, for $40,000, claiming abuse of process.
In the settlement, both parties agreed to drop their lawsuits. Azoulay also agreed to write a letter, approved by the hotel, which will be posted on the TripAdvisor website.
"A single bedbug was found," reads a copy of the letter obtained by Radio-Canada. "There was no general infestation at L'Hôtel Québec."
The initial lawsuit attracted the attention of several legal observers when it was first launched, who saw it as a test of free speech online.
It was ultimately the tone of Azoulay's comments that exposed him to the lawsuit, said Daniel Gardner, a law professor at Université Laval.
"When making a negative comment, it's important to stick to the facts and what we can ascertain," he said.
with files from Charles D'Amboise