A lawsuit was filed in Nantucket Superior Court on Wednesday by island resident Susan Renzulli against the owners of the Veranda House, the former general manager of the hotel, and two former employees she and her attorney’s are accusing of negligence that resulted in the Veranda House being engulfed in flames, consequently destroying her home, and killing her pet Chloe.
“Plaintiff stood by in horror and watched as her home and its contents became engulfed in flames, desperately hoping that somehow her beloved 12-year-old pet, Chloe would escape the inferno," the suit says. “She did not.”
Renzulli, the owner of 5A Step Lane, is seeking an amount in money that is “to be determined and ongoing” for medical expenses, lost wages, anticipated future loss of wages, property damages, and other documented items lost. She is being represented by Jonathan Sweet of Keches Law Group, P.C. and Stephen Griffin of Griffin Law LLC
In Renzulli’s civil action sheet, her attorneys describe her injuries as “severe emotional distress with objective manifestation of physical symptomatology and devastating uninsured financial and property losses due to defendants' collective negligence in causing a fire which spread to her residence.”
In the suit, Renzulli and her attorneys accuse The Procaccianti Group LLC, 3 Step Lane LLC, 3 Step Lane Hotel Manager LLC, John Bottino (the former general manager of the Veranda House), Dias Omirov (a former hotel housekeeper), and Larry LeCain (a former hotel caretaker) of ignoring an ongoing problem of cigarettes being improperly disposed of around the hotel and that there were cigarette butts “littering the exterior grounds of the hotel premises.”
Neighbors allegedly complained about this issue to Veranda House staff, but Renzulli and her attorney’s accused the general manager and hotel caretaker of failing to develop, impose, and/or enforce appropriate smoking policies or restrictions related to the safe disposal of smoking materials on the hotel premises such as a designated smoking area with disposal equipment.
“Investigators also determined that the building had recently undergone “complete renovations” and no automatic sprinkler system had been installed,” the lawsuit says. “Investigators also found that the building’s carbon monoxide detectors had recently been disabled by the hotel.”
Renzulli’s attorneys added in the suit that Renzulli was in her home at the time of the fire.
“(Renzulli) stood by in horror as she watched as her home and its contents became engulfed in flames and her pet killed,” the suit says.
This lawsuit is the second lawsuit to be filed against the owners of the Veranda House in the aftermath of the July 2022 fire. The first was a $4.6 million lawsuit filed on May 24 by Kevin and Katherine Davidson – the owners of 4 Step Lane.
Sweet, who is an attorney with Keches Law, represents the Davidsons as well and told the Current in June that their lawsuit would be “the first of several lawsuits” to come in the aftermath of the fire.
“I can say confidently that this will be the first of several suits to come from people who were impacted by this fire,” Sweet said in June. “I think people have gotten to wit's end. The neighbors are up in arms right now because of all the heavy equipment they have brought.”
Renzulli is demanding a jury trial on all 11 counts included in the lawsuit. You can view the full complaint here.