Skip to content

Solved: When de Lema a Brazilian resident arrived in New York


When de Lema, a Brazilian resident, arrived in New York City, his luggage consisted of three suitcases, an attache´ case, and a cylindrical bag. The attache´ case and the cylindrical bag contained jewels valued at $300,000. De Lema went from JFK Airport to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where he gave the three suitcases to hotel staff in the garage, and then he went to the lobby to register. The assistant manager, Baez, summoned room clerk Tamburino to assist him. De Lema stated, “The room clerk asked me if I had a reservation. I said, ‘Yes. The name is Jose´ Berga de Lema.’ And I said, ‘I want a safety deposit box.’ He said, ‘Please fill out your registration.’ ” While de Lema was filling out the registration form, paying $300 in cash as an advance, and Tamburino was filling out a receipt for that amount, de Lema had placed the attache´ case and the cylindrical bag on the floor. A woman jostled de Lema, apparently creating a diversion, and when he next looked down, he discovered that the attache´ case was gone. De Lema brought suit against the hotel for the value of the jewels stolen in the hotel’s lobby. The hotel maintained a safe for valuables and posted notices in the lobby, garage, and rooms as required by the New York law that modifies a hotelkeeper’s common law liability. The notices stated in part that the hotel was not liable for the loss of valuables that a guest had neglected to deliver to the hotel for safekeeping. The hotel’s defense was that de Lema had neglected to inform it of the presence of the jewels and to deliver the jewels to the hotel. Is the hotel liable for the value of the stolen jewels? [De Lema v Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Inc., 588 F Supp 19 (SDNY)]


Leave a Reply