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The Appeals Court has upheld the dismissal of a wrongful death lawsuit against Motel 6 in Chicopee. The lawsuit alleged that the motel had a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent a guest’s suicide after the guest’s wife and mother alerted employees that there was a risk the man might hurt himself.

According to the Appeals Court,

Michael C. Bonafini took his life while he was a guest in a Motel 6. In this wrongful death action, the personal representative of Bonafini’s estate3 seeks to recover from the entities doing business as the Motel 6 in Chicopee (collectively, the innkeeper) and two of their employees on the theory that they breached their duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent Bonafini’s suicide. Specifically, the plaintiff contends that the defendants should have called the police to conduct a wellness check. We affirm the judgment dismissing the complaint because, even assuming that Massachusetts would recognize a duty on the part of an innkeeper to take reasonable steps to prevent a guest’s suicide, no such duty arose in the circumstances alleged here.

The court concluded:

Here, the defendants are not alleged to have had actual knowledge that Bonafini had recently attempted suicide, or that he had “stated plans or intentions to commit suicide.” Nguyen,
479 Mass. at 453. Instead, all that is alleged is that Bonafini’s mother and wife informed motel employees that Bonafini was at risk of suicide, and asked for his room number so they could assist him. They did not tell the employees that Bonafini had stated an intention or plan to commit suicide or that he had recently attempted suicide. Bonafini himself is not alleged to have told motel employees anything other than that he wished not to be disturbed. The employees are not alleged to have observed anything about Bonafini that would suggest he had suicidal intentions, nor is he alleged to have told them that he did. Although we recognize that the defendants were informed by Bonafini’s family of their concerns for him, this –- without more — is not enough to have triggered a duty on the defendants to rescue, as tragic as the consequences of inaction were.