Monday, October 18, 2010
Interesting contract question came up lthe other night in a Sheraton hotel in Springfield, Mass. The hotel, guests are informed when they register, is nonsmoking. But once in the room, the guest is presented with a little card labeled "breathe clean air" which contains the following:
OUR GUESTROOMS ARE SMOKE-FREE SO ALL CAN ENJOY FRESH, CLEAN AIR. IF SIGNS OF SMOKING ARE FOUND, A $200 CLEANING FEE WILL BE CHARGED. (Different color in original.)
I assume that smoking in the room would be a breach of contract, and that any actual damages suffered by the hotel would be recoverable. But is the $200 the amount the hotel can recover? Does it matter whether it's still early enough (before 6:00 p.m.) for the guest to leave and go to another hotel? Where's Judge Easterbrook when you need him?