Newlywed Dies on Honeymoon – Widow Sues Hotel

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In a legal action that has caught the eyes of the nation, a mourning woman, Catharine Hudgens, has filed a lawsuit against Rainbow Ranch Lodge in Big Sky, Montana, and several of its plumbing contractors. This comes in response to her husband, Lewis Hudgens, dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The incident, which took place in January 2021, has raised important questions about safety standards and accountability in the hospitality industry.

The Hudgens, newly married and from Alabama, were enjoying their honeymoon at the Rainbow Ranch Lodge when the unfortunate event happened. On January 15, 59-year-old Lewis Hudgens was discovered dead in their hotel room from carbon monoxide exposure. Catharine Hudgens was found in a severely ill and disoriented state next to him. The couple had been married in Florida on January 9, 2021, and arrived in Montana for their honeymoon on January 11.

The lawsuit, launched in Gallatin County District Court, accuses the hotel and the contractors who installed a propane-fueled boiler of wrongful death and negligence. The complaint asserts that this boiler, installed in a room next to the couple’s suite to heat an outdoor hot tub, was the source of the deadly carbon monoxide.

The legal proceedings detail several key accusations, such as inadequate ventilation of the boiler room and insufficient monitoring of carbon monoxide levels. The document also points out that holes drilled into the concrete wall dividing the boiler room and the Hudgens’ room allowed deadly levels of carbon monoxide to leak into their living area.

One key detail from the case involves Catharine Hudgens’ sister, who, worried about the couple, requested a wellness check from the hotel staff. Despite these requests, hotel staff did not visit the room until it was too late.

“Had Rainbow Ranch staff checked on the Hudgens as requested, it is likely Lew would be alive and Catharine would not have been injured,” the complaint reads.

Catharine Hudgens is now pursuing unspecified damages for the loss of her husband and the trauma she experienced. The case has not only shed light on the specific events surrounding the Hudgens’ tragedy but also on wider concerns regarding hotel safety and the crucial importance of carbon monoxide detection and prevention.

As of now, neither Rainbow Ranch Lodge nor the accused contractors have publicly responded to the lawsuit’s allegations. The trial, which began in Gallatin County District Court, is set to dig into the details of the boiler’s installation and maintenance, as well as how hotel staff responded to the emergency situation.

This lawsuit highlights the crucial need for strict safety procedures and regular maintenance checks in hotels and similar establishments, especially regarding gas-powered appliances. It also acts as a grave reminder of the potential dangers of carbon monoxide, often dubbed the “silent killer” due to its colorless, odorless nature.

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