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Hotel Expert Witness

Choose the Best Expert

We provide expert services to the members of the legal community and their clients concerning the hospitality industry. In these instances, our perspectives derive from authentic experiences within hotels, resorts, and timesharing, tempered by an appreciation for the academic and legal concepts pertinent to expert witness assignments.

Hotel Expert Witness

Kenneth Free, As Hotel Expert Witness

Kenneth C. Free
President/Straightline Hospitality, Inc.

Kenneth Free, Straightline’s Principal, can oftentimes be an excellent hospitality expert witness. Over the years he has served as an expert witness before judicial bodies in about half of the 50-states of the USA, as well as in many U.S. Federal Courts. He has also been engaged as an expert in Canada, France, Egypt, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and British West Indies. While typically appearing before civil courts of the state, he has also served in cases before bodies of arbitration, U.S. Federal Administrative courts, U.S. Bankruptcy courts, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (a World Bank entity), and a Native American Tribal Court. Mr. Free can be a solid expert witness for hotel disputes because of his deep real world experience, his academic credentials, and his demeanor of credibility.

Mr. Free is a true expert in hotels, resorts and related hospitality businesses. Prior to establishing his own firm he had been employed over the years by three major hotel companies in operational, finance, and real estate development roles. He does not venture beyond this industry as other self-identified “hotel experts” sometimes do when they venture into it. Some expert witnesses purport to be masters within this specialty, but are in reality generalists or perhaps are knowledgeable in other industries, such as commercial real estate or property management. The hotel business is fundamentally different from other forms of real estate because it mixes real estate with daily operations together with significant marketing and branding components. Some experts muddle their way through a hotel case; because of his fundamental knowledge, Mr. Free can focus like a laser on the real issues.

Hotel Expert Witness

Hotel Operator Duty of Care

Hotel standard of care disputes require a hospitality expert who not only understands precedent established in various cases, but who also understands the practical requirements and implications of procedures and policies in the real world operating environment. Earlier in his career, Mr. Free was employed in operations, finance, and real estate development positions in three professionally well-recognized international hotel companies This experience gives him a focus and understanding not seen in industry consultants who have not been directly on the firing line.

Hotel Expert Witness

Management Agreement and Franchise Disputes

Kenneth Free is a hospitality real estate development consultant with deep experience on all sides of the table – hotel licensor, hotel operator, and hotel owner. He understands the fiduciary and duty of care obligations of the licensing and operating parties on the one side as well as the rational expectation of the hotel owner on the other to receive a fair return on investment.

Hotel Expert Witness

Operations of Management Company

Kenneth Free understands the fiduciary and practical obligations of third party operators to hotel owners, as well as of those operators who are affiliated with a brand licensor. Not all hotel management companies are created equal or even perform consistently. Mr. Free can sift through their work product and identify operating weaknesses or support operating strengths.

Hotel Expert Witness

Business Interruption Damages/
Lost Profits

Many hotel disputes ultimately get down to calculation of damages. Mr. Free is highly qualified in determining damages, typically after assessing and opining upon causal links between asserted cause of damage and the actual damage. These oftentimes relate to asserted design or construction defects.

Hotel Expert Witness

Standard of Care in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

Hotels and Resorts over time entertain large numbers of guests and invitees. These patrons move about the facilities and utilize its restaurants and bars, function rooms, guestrooms, and recreational amenities. Guests are naturally exposed to risks and sometimes experience personal harm. Owners and operators, as well as plaintiff litigants, need to have honest interpretations of industry standards of care and expectations for performance. Mr. Free offers such interpretations.

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