A couple’s honeymoon in Bali came to a rude and painful end when an allegedly drunken guest who had been whacking golf balls off of his balcony hit one to the head of the groom, fracturing his skull and leaving him with complications that persist nearly two years after the incident, according to a recently filed suit.
The plaintiff brought the suit in Fulton County State Court because the defendant, Ayana Resort and Spa, is managed by Atlanta-based Capella Hotel Group. Kit Pappas, chief operations officer for the Capella Hotel Group, said company policy prohibits any comment upon pending litigation.
Attorney Eric Jensen said his client, 31-year-old Adam Alcabes, continues to have recurring headaches and neck and jaw pain that require “trigger point” injections and medication.
“This kind of thing is so terrible, especially for someone so young,” said Jensen. “It certainly ruined his honeymoon. He’s just lucky it wasn’t worse. He could have been paralyzed or killed, but that doesn’t minimize the damage he and his wife have suffered.”
Jensen said Alcabes has incurred at least $30,000 in medical expenses thus far, not including some of those accrued in Bali, which are tallied in Indonesian rupiahs.
The complaint, filed Sept. 10 by Jensen, Jason Graham and James Nash Jr. of Graham & Jensen, said Adam and Erinn Alcabes were guests at the resort in Jimboran, Bali, in October 2013. The suit said that the resort’s management had been “put on notice” that some of its guests—including the man hitting golf shots from his balcony—were drinking and breaking the resort’s rules.
According to its website, the Ayana Resort and Spa’s amenities include beaches, pools and a one-10th scale, 18-hole golf course that “wraps around the spa complex.”
Jensen said the couple lives in Los Angeles, where Adam Alcabes is a sports media executive, and that he first filed suit in federal court there late last year. But Jensen said jurisdictional concerns demanded a move to Georgia, and that action was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.
According to a plaintiff’s mediation statement filed before that suit was dismissed, the Alcabeses had been in Bali for three days when, after going snorkeling, they changed and went to the resort’s “iconic Rock Bar” near the ocean, ordered some food and settled in to watch the sunset.
There was a “loud banging” that sounded like a gunshot, and Adam was knocked from his seat, holding his head in “agonizing pain,” the mediation statement said. At that point, a hotel security guard came to the restaurant and said that a hotel guest had been hitting golf balls from his villa above the restaurant “without any effective invention” by hotel staff. The guard “acknowledged that they knew of other balls that had landed in the pool and surrounding area.”
Other guests in the restaurant began screaming and using outdoor pillows to shield their heads and bodies from errant golf balls, the statement said.
There was no doctor at the resort, so Alcabes was loaded onto a golf cart for a 20-minute ride to a hospital, where a CT scan revealed that his brain was swelling and bleeding. He was diagnosed with an intracranial hemorrhage and a fracture of the left temporal bone and spent four days in the hospital, including two in intensive care.
It was another nine days before he could fly back to Los Angeles.
According to the statement, hotel security had already had run-ins with the man who hit the golf balls, a resident of Singapore. The statement said the man had “ingested significant quantities of alcohol” and had been hitting balls from his villa prior to the incident.
Prior to Alcabes’ departure from Bali, Adam was readmitted to the hospital, the statement said, and as he lay in bed with a morphine drip in his arm, the hotel’s assistant manager arrived and asked him to sign a waiver of liability in exchange for the hotel paying his medical bills. He refused.
Despite tentative plans for a mediation, Jensen said, none was ever held. The lawyer said he didn’t know whether the balcony golfer faced any criminal charges or offered any compensation for the incident.
The complaint said that Capella, the Atlanta-based management company, “negligently failed to provide and/or enforce proper rules and regulations for the use of recreational (specifically golfing) activities from its hotel premises [and] negligently failed to monitor the activities of hotel guests who were drinking quantities of alcohol on its premises.”
The suit seeks damages for Alcabes’ medical expenses and income, and includes claims for premises and vicarious liability, negligent training and supervision and loss of consortium.