Lawsuit: Mexico resort served tainted alcohol, resulting in student’s ‘tragic, senseless’ death
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (December 3, 2018) – The family of a 20-year-old woman who drowned in a pool at a Mexican resort last year has filed a civil lawsuit against the Playa del Carmen resort, calling her death “tragic, senseless and entirely avoidable.”
The lawsuit, filed in circuit court in Florida last week, claims Iberostar and affiliated companies failed to take adequate safety measures, such as preventing tainted alcohol from entering the premises, ensuring staff was properly trained and providing adequate surveillance cameras and lifeguards around the pool.
The 24-page complaint alleges Iberostar and its website operator, Visit Us, “knew that alcoholic beverages being served at the Hotel Iberostar Paraiso del Mar were tainted, substandard, poisonous, unfit for human consumption and/or otherwise failed to meet bare minimum standards for food and beverage safety” and failed in their “duty to protect her against risks of physical harm.” Further, Iberostar failed to warn guests about the known threats and refused to cooperate with the family’s investigation into the young woman’s death.
Abbey Conner was vacation with her brother, mom and stepdad in January 2017 when she drowned under suspicious circumstances in a shallow area of the resort pool before dinner time. Abbey’s brother, Austin, nearly drowned at the same time and was pulled from the pool with a golf-ball sized bump on his head and a concussion. He later remembered that he and Abbey were drinking tequila at the swim-up bar and he lost consciousness after doing a shot with a group of people. He awoke later in an ambulance with no recollection of what had happened.
Abbey’s death prompted an 18-month investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that exposed dozens of troubling incident experienced by tourists who visited resorts in Mexico in recent years. The investigation revealed how a number of travelers blacked out after drinking small or moderate amounts of alcohol, in some cases just one drink. In each case, the victims said hours of their memories were voided out.
Prior to the investigation, the U.S State Department had not been tracking incidents experienced by U.S. citizens vacationing in Mexico. The department has since begun doing so but has refused to release the details describing when or where the events took place.