Woman Sues Montana Lodge After Husband Dies by CO2 Poisoning

Catharine Hudgens of Alabama is suing the Rainbow Ranch Lodge and associated contractors and businesses that she claims were involved in a faulty propane-fueled boiler that killed her spouse.

While on her honeymoon in Big Sky, Montana, her husband succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

The newlyweds had just tied the knot in Florida and were supposed to spend a week in Montana when Lewis Hudgens, 59 years old, was discovered dead in his hotel room.

The lawsuit claims that the Hudgens’ room was exposed to lethal levels of carbon monoxide due to holes put into the concrete wall that separated their room from the boiler room. They stayed in the guest room next to the boiler room, which had inadequate ventilation and a non-working exhaust fan. The hotel also disregarded a critical safety measure—the failure to monitor the boiler room’s carbon monoxide levels—that might have prevented the fatal gas from escaping.

While watching the college football national championship game, the couple stayed in their room the whole evening, ordering room service. Catharine Hudgens’ sister asked the front desk of the Rainbow Lodge to send someone to check on them on January 13 and 14. Nonetheless, no staffer ever paid her or her husband a visit to their room. Catharine Hudgens was discovered on the bed in a “severely disoriented” condition on January 15th, when the general manager finally unlocked the couples’ room.

The newlyweds’ stay started on January 11, and the lawsuit claims that 42 days before their arrival, the defendants neglected to examine a boiler in the room next to theirs after performing standard repair. On January 15th, the lodge’s general manager tried calling and knocking on their room, but no one answered. Finally, he opened the door and saw Lewis Hudgens lying dead on the hotel bed, with Catharine lying next to him, “severely disoriented.”

The complaint goes on to say that Lewis died as a result of carbon monoxide seeping through the wall from the boiler room due to holes made into the couple’s chamber. Hudgens is seeking compensation for a variety of losses, including mental and bodily pain and suffering, loss of earnings potential, disruption to her established life path, and emotional anguish.