Scott Hapgood lawsuit: Resort chain negligent in hotel employee’s attack
DARIEN — The businessman charged with manslaughter in the death of an Anguillan resort employee has filed a lawsuit against the hotel chain, alleging its negligence caused the incident to occur.
Scott Hapgood, 44, of Darien, is considered a "fugitive" by Anguillan authorities after he declined to appear on the island in November to address the manslaughter charge in the death of Kenny Mitchel. Hapgood is also being sued by Mitchel's estate.
But now he is firing back with a lawsuit of his own, claiming Auberge Resorts was negligent in the hiring and supervision of Michel who died on April 13 after a confrontation with Hapgood in a room at the Malliouhana Resort, which is owned by the company.
"Auberge Resorts failed to ensure the safety and protection of its hotel guests, the Hapgood family," his attorney Juliya Arbisman said. "As a result, Auberge Resorts should be held responsible for the harm that the Hapgood family has suffered."
Since his arrest, Hapgood has been placed on leave from his job and has faced costly criminal proceedings, his representatives said.
The incident has sparked international outrage and has been the focal point of speculation on what went on in Hapgood's hotel room leading up to Mitchel’s death.
Hapgood contends that Michel unexpectedly showed up at the room at the Malliouhana Resort on April 13 to fix a sink that wasn't reported broken. Hapgood had been at the resort vacationing with his family, including his young daughters, two of whom were in the room when Mitchel arrived.
Mitchel was an employee of the resort and was wearing a hotel uniform when he showed up at the room, according to Hapgood's representatives who issued a press release on his lawsuit.
The lawsuit contends that Mitchel then pulled out a knife, demanded money and attacked Hapgood. The lawsuit claims Hapgood acted in self-defense when he fought with Mitchel. Hapgood restrained Mitchel for nearly an hour as resort officials failed to call police or an ambulance, the lawsuit said.
Mitchel died about an hour later, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit also mentions Mitchel's cause of death was attributed to a cocaine overdose based on an Anguillan toxicology report.
The lawsuit filed by Mitchel's estate said the 27-year-old died as a result of Hapgood keeping his arm on the younger man's neck for more than 40 minutes. Hapgood was charged with manslaughter by Anguillan authorities a few days after the incident.
Citing concerns for his safety and for the judicial system on the Caribbean island, which is a territory of the United Kingdom, Hapgood's attorneys advised him not to appear in an Anguillan court in November. He is now considered a fugitive from justice.
Hapgood's lawsuit against Auberge Resorts was filed in Marin County California Superior Court.