An argument over a non-smoking room led a Beaufort hotel employee to charge at customers with a baseball bat, pull a hidden knife and stab a man, a lawsuit filed last week claims.
Melissa Merryfield and Mark Merryfield, of Maryland, filed the suit in connection with a December 2015 incident at the Beaufort Econo Lodge hotel, 2227 Boundary Street. The incident has already lead to a felony assault conviction against the hotel employee, court records show.
The argument began, according to the lawsuit, when the couple booked a non-smoking room at the hotel where they hoped to stay with their child, but were assigned a smoking room instead.
The couple went to the front office to complain and found Tammy Larson, the hotel manager, working the front desk, the suit states.
Larson told them there were no non-smoking rooms available, but when the couple requested a refund she was not pleased, according to police and court records.
The manager called them “little s---s” and began yelling at them to leave the premises, the Merryfields told police.
The couple said they then left the office and went into the parking lot. Larson ran into the parking lot after them armed with a metal baseball bat, the suit alleges.
Larson allegedly attempted to hit Melissa Merryfield, but the attack was thwarted when Mark Merryfield grabbed the bat, police reports and the suit state.
But Larson had a second weapon — a four-inch pocket knife — she used to stab Mark Merryfield in the right arm, police and the suit said.
When police arrived, they found Larson back in the front office and Mark Merryfield sitting on a curb with blood streaming down his arm from a one-inch cut, the police reports states. He was taken to the hospital for the injury, according to the report.
Larson pleaded guilty to a felony assault and battery charge in May 2016 and was sentenced to one day in jail with credit for time served.
The Merryfields’ lawsuit names Larson as a defendant as well as Choice Hotels International, which franchises the Econo Lodge brand, and Mitul Enterprises, which the suit states owns and operates the Beaufort hotel.
The couple claims the hotel did not provide a safe environment for its customers.
The suit is the third legal action filed within four months against the Beaufort hotel, according to court records.
In February, a customer filed suit claiming he was attacked in the parking lot in November 2015 by a live-in companion of a hotel employee who was residing on the premisses, court documents show.
In March, another couple who stayed at the hotel filed suit alleging their room was infested with bed bugs during their stay, court documents show.
Both suits are still pending.
Multiple attempts to reach Choice Hotels International and Mitul Enterprises for a response to the allegations were not returned Wednesday and Thursday.