The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled today that a hotel may be liable
for malicious prosecution of a hotel guest, where the hotel had the guest
arrested after he refused to remove a Confederate flag from the window of
his hotel room. Read the complete opinion at
In Childress v. Concord Hospitality Associates, Inc., Basil Childress rented
a room at the Wingate Inn in Concord NC for the 2008 National Reunion of the
Sons of Confederate Veterans. The hotel demanded that Childress remove a
Confederate flag that Childress hung in the hotel window, and Childress
The hotel then called the Concord police department and had them arrest
Childress for trespassing. The Cabarrus County District Attorney later
dismissed criminal charges against Childress, prompting Childress to sue the
hotel for malicious prosecution.
In March 2010, a Superior Court judge in Cabarrus County dismissed
Childress' case, agreeing with the hotel that it could terminate Childress'
room rental contract for his failure to abide by the rules of the hotel.
However, the Court of Appeals ruled today that the Superior Court erred.
The Court of Appeals noted that the hotel had "no written policy in place
regarding the display of a flag in the window of a guest's room" and the
"room rental contract contained no language prohibiting" a flag in the
window. "If the demand to remove the flag was in violation of the terms and
conditions of the room rental contract," the Court continued, "then there
was no reasonable grounds" for the hotel to have Childress arrested.
The case now returns to the Superior Court to determine whether the hotel
did in fact breach its room rental contract by evicting Childress, and
whether having Childress arrested amounted to malicious prosecution.