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Shelling out $500 a night for a room at a luxury London hotel, New York intellectual property attorney Sidney Bluming and his wife expected first-class service. What they got, they claim, was different than what they were itching for: bedbugs. Just days before Christmas, Bluming, of Bluming Freiman Franco, and his wife became part of a growing number of bedbug plaintiffs when they sued over the alleged infestation that left them covered in sores. The couple also claims that, after their stay at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel in London, they unknowingly transported the critters back to their recently renovated New York apartment, which they then had to fumigate, and that much of their personal property was destroyed. Bluming v. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, No. 06-cv-153154 (S.D.N.Y.). But this travel nightmare is not unique to the Blumings. Similar bedbug lawsuits have popped up all over the country in the past year. Earlier this month, a New York opera singer sued the Hilton hotel chain for $6 million, claiming she suffered more than 100 bedbug bites at a Hilton Suites in Phoenix last year. Trainer v. Hilton Hotels Corp., No. 100016 2007 (N.Y. Super. Ct.). In federal court in New York, a woman is suing the Marriott Hotel group over 1,000 bug bites she and her children allegedly suffered while staying at a Disneyland resort in Florida last summer. Juarez v. Marriott International, No. 06 CV 12891 (S.D.N.Y.). “Apparently the bedbugs have come back in America and throughout the world,” said Michael Weinstein, who is representing the Blumings in their lawsuit against the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. He alleges that the hotel failed to identify the problem and clean properly. Charles Marion of Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia, who is defending the Mandarin hotel group, said that his clients are taking the Blumings’ case “very seriously,” and have refunded the couple their hotel costs. “The hotel is very sympathetic and is investigating, but it hasn’t determined yet the cause of where [the bugs] originated,” Marion said, disputing claims that the hotel was unsanitary. “The hotel certainly cleans its rooms and inspects its rooms, but it seems to me to be very difficult to prevent this 100% because of the nature of what we’re talking about. Bedbugs, or any type of insect, can be carried into a building in luggage.”

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