A Florida woman filed a lawsuit against the Atlantis Paradise Resort in the Bahamas alleging that she woke up covered with crawling bed bugs.
The Miami Herald reported Thursday that Cindi Avila was staying in a room at the Royal Towers during a January 2016 vacation at the resort. At the last night of her stay she said she woke up to “hundreds of painful, swollen bites from her forehead to her thighs.”
“It was like something out of a horror movie,” she told the Herald. “I pulled up the mattress and I was shocked at what I saw.”
Avila said she took pictures and video of the bites and the dozens of tiny insects crawling on the bed skirt. The paper reported that tiny black excrement can also be seen on the skirt. Avila started to record herself after she was told that the room wouldn’t be exterminated until she left the resort.
Avila, a public relations expert based in Florida, said a manager and a security officer were called to the room and “screamed” when they saw the shape of the bed. Atlantis said in a statement it took the room out of commission and didn’t charge Avila for her and her husband’s stay.
A nurse at the resort treated the bug bites with calamine lotion, but Avila claims she was still dealing with the pain with two to three weeks upon returning home. She said she treated the bites with a smorgasbord of medication, including steroids and over-the-counter allergy treatments.
“In the days that followed, I have never experienced more pain,” Avila said. “I didn’t sleep for five days. I literally wanted to die.”
Avila filed the lawsuit last week in Florida state civil court. It alleges that Atlantis was “negligent in adopting hygienic practices” when cleaning the room. She’s also seeking damages of up to $15,000.
Atlantis, however, countered Avila’s claim, saying in a statement that she’s just out for a money grab.
“The resort offered to reimburse Ms. Avila for any medical bills resulting from her experience, which she declined,” Atlantis said. “Since that time, Ms. Avila has repeatedly, and through three different attorneys, attempted to extract a large financial settlement from the resort and threatened intimidation in the media if her financial demands were not met.”
Avila’s attorney Michael Winkleman told CBS Miami that he’s handled dozens of bed bug cases, but nothing that compares to his client’s current case.
“When you check into a hotel, the Atlantis hotel that is really a five-star hotel, that comes with expectations, one of which is the sheets are going to be clean and you’re not going to be eaten alive by bedbugs.”