On September 27, 2021, class claims were filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County against the Wurzak Hotel Group Mark LLC, which operates the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue and the Sheraton Valley Forge properties, alleging that the defendant violated the contract entered into with the plaintiffs by refusing to refund any of the fees or deposits paid to the hotel in anticipation of the plaintiffs’ fall 2020 wedding reception, which was cancelled due to state COVID-19 restrictions.
In the complaint, named plaintiffs Jasmine Nicholson and Robert Nicholson state that they signed a Banquet Event Order contract with the defendant prior to planning their wedding reception at the Hilton Philadelphia City Ave, originally scheduled for September 9, 2020. The plaintiffs paid the defendant a total of $10,000 in deposits and fees ahead of the planned reception for around 150 people. However, as the COVID-19 virus began to spread globally and state regulations began to restrict the size of gatherings, with large indoor weddings specifically labeled as high-risk events, the plaintiffs requested their deposits be refunded. Plaintiffs argue they were no longer legally allowed to host 150 people for a reception at the defendant’s hotel due to Pennsylvania gathering restrictions.
The plaintiffs allege that they were refused a refund of their deposit and were instead told they could reschedule their wedding once government restrictions were lifted. The complaint argues that the defendant’s actions are in contradiction to the explicit terms of the Banquet Event Order contract signed by both parties. The contract states that “if for any reason beyond its control including…government requisitions, restrictions or regulations on travel…Operator may terminate this agreement…upon return of Patron’s deposit.”
The plaintiffs seek to represent a class made up of all other individuals whose fees and/or deposits have been withheld by the defendant due to cancellations of events owning to governmental restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The suit brings causes of action for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.
The case is: Nicholson et al. v. Wurzak Hotel Group Mark, Case No.: 210902012, in the Court of Common Pleas for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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