The family of a Wisconsin college student who drowned at an upscale Mexican resort after consuming tainted alcohol has filed suit against the all-inclusive, claiming it knew its drinks were contaminated.
The family of 20-year-old Abigail Conner filed a lawsuit in Florida Wednesday against Iberostar Hotels and Visit Us, Inc., the U.S.-based website company that manages the resort’s bookings.
Abbey died in January 2017, days after a relaxing family vacation at the Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar turned into a living nightmare after she and her brother accidentally consumed tainted alcohol while wading in the resort’s swimming pool.
Abbey was found floating face down in a shallow section of the pool just hours after her family’s arrival, while brother Austin was pulled from the water “kicking and splashing,” according to the lawsuit obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Austin later said he recalled drinking tequila shots at the swim-up bar with his sister, but awoke in an ambulance with no further memories of what had happened, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
An unconscious Abbey was taken to the hospital, though her mother Ginny and stepfather John were left completely in the dark, and only learned of their daughter’s accident when she and Austin failed to show for dinner that night. Abbey was eventually transferred to a hospital in Florida, where she died of her injuries on Jan. 12.
The family claims in the lawsuit that the resort knew the drinks being served at the bar were tainted, and should have prevented them from being served to guests.
It also accuses the resort of failing to properly train staff and managers to help out in situations like Abbey’s, and of refusing to accept responsibility in the accident, instead having “stonewalled, obstructed, hindered or otherwise impeded investigation of the incident.”
“As owners and operators….(they) had the duty to protect Abbey against risks of physical harm,” the lawsuit says.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that since Abbey’s story went public, more than 100 other travelers have come forward with similar stories, saying they, too, blacked out after drinking small amounts of alcohol at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico.
The lawsuit also points to reports that Mexican authorities seized more than 10,000 gallons of tainted alcohol from a manufacturing company in early August 2017.