September 26, 2023

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An American is suing Chateau Frontenac for $10.8 million for falling down the stairs

An American is suing Chateau Frontenac for $10.8 million for falling down the stairs

A young American woman and her family are suing Chateau Frontenac for $10.8 million.

Halina Catherine Basham and her family were going to spend the Christmas holidays in Quebec City in December 2019. However, on December 22, the 18-year-old’s entire life changed, according to the lawsuit. Filed June 6 in Quebec court.

Photo archives by Pascal Huot

Originally installed in a family suite, the Bashams moved at the request of the hotel management and were divided into two separate rooms, located one on top of the other. To facilitate their movement while moving their luggage, an employee leaves them with two access cards that allow them to move around via a service staircase normally reserved for employees.

It was in this stairwell that the young woman would have tripped on the “white powder, dangerously slippery” on the stairs. The fall was violent and Ms. Basham suffered fractures to her wrists, injuries to her back, we read in the lawsuit.

Permanent consequences

Following the recommendations of a Quebec doctor contacted by the hotel, the family decides to return to Maryland as soon as possible so that Halaina can see a doctor there.

Diagnosis is severe. A fractured and torn wrist ligament, a spinal cord injury that eventually required surgery, and nerve damage in the buttocks, legs and feet.

The surgery was performed on May 10, 2021, and plaintiffs say the young woman had to walk around with a cane when the pain was so intense. At times, mobility required a wheelchair, and post-surgery tests showed “it was clear Halina was at risk of permanent damage”.

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If the effects of the fall are plentiful on a daily basis, the family blames the incident for ending the young woman’s professional dreams above all else. Targeting the “top American universities” to become an orthopedic surgeon, he admitted to a preparatory year of medicine and mortgaged himself heavily.

This aspect accounts for the bulk of the claimed damages, namely $7.7 million in lost revenue (Check box)

“Halaina may not be able to achieve her professional dream […] The stable condition could not be maintained for long,” the family described in their petition.


The Bashams question the management of Château Frontenac, believing it failed in its duty of safety by not ensuring the maintenance of its staircase to prevent the white powder that caused the fall.

“If it is wrong to have slippery white powder on the staff stairs, it is even more irresponsible to allow hotel guests access to this service staircase,” the plaintiffs say.

The family, represented by Tremblay, Bois, Mignault, Lemay, is jointly suing Château Frontenac and Accor Group, which owns the Fairmont banner. Their lawyer Mr.e Jean-Sébastien D’Amours said Register He did not want to be interviewed as the matter is before the court.

It’s the same story from Chat Frontenac management, which is not commenting on the case, except to remind that “the health and safety of customers and employees remains an absolute priority.”

Details of the case against Chateau Frontenac

Claims total $10,809,281

Halina Catherine Basham – $10,364,281

  • Damages: $350,000
  • Loss of future earning potential: $7,778,421
  • Housing Assistance: $410,860
  • Maintenance cost: $1,000,000
  • Provision for income tax: $500,000
  • Management fee: $300,000
  • Miscellaneous expenses: $25,000
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Parents – $220,000

  • Damages: $100,000 each
  • Miscellaneous expenses: $10,000 each

Siblings (2 brothers, 1 sister) – $225,000