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CEO of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce Files Lawsuit
 Against Hyatt in Burlingame, CA for a Shower Slip Incident

By Scott Smith, The Record, Stockton, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Mar. 27, 2007 - STOCKTON -- Douglass Wilhoit, the chief executive officer of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce, has filed a lawsuit against the Hyatt Regency San Francisco after claiming he slipped in a shower there and hurt his right shoulder.

Wilhoit, named the 2006 Stocktonian of the Year and charged with promoting businesses and tourism in the city, said he doesn't advise people to sue to solve their disputes. He said he notified the hotel of his accident, but after talking to his attorney about his spill, he decided to file the lawsuit with hopes of collecting damages.

"I guess I'm not different from anybody else," Wilhoit said in a phone interview. "I put my pants on one leg at a time. I get injured like anybody else."

According to the lawsuit, Wilhoit blamed the hotel for failing to put a mat in the slippery shower of his room, causing him to fall.

The accident happened July 18, the day before Wilhoit and his fiancee, Joan Crane, left for a nine-day cruise beginning in Russia. The couple escorted 19 clients of Crane's business, Four Season Travel.

Shortly after 5 p.m., while preparing for dinner with friends, Wilhoit took a shower in Room 3110 of the Hyatt in Burlingame, near San Francisco International Airport. The room cost $230.90, the lawsuit said.

Wilhoit was in the shower when he fell "with such force his body fell out of the tub area onto the floor of the bathroom," the lawsuit said.

"As I turned to rinse, I became Superman and went flying," said Wilhoit, who described the painful shoulder injury that has affected him for nearly a year.

On Dec. 11, Wilhoit said he underwent surgery to attach a torn biceps tendon and clean out his right rotator cuff. After the surgery, he had to ice his shoulder, wear a sling and sleep in a reclining chair.

The lawsuit does not say how much in damages Wilhoit seeks.

A Hyatt spokesman declined to comment because of the pending litigation, filed Feb. 23 in San Joaquin County Superior Court.

Contact reporter Scott Smith at (209) 546-8296 or ssmith@recordnet.com.

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Copyright (c) 2007, The Record, Stockton, Calif.

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