Editorial Board   

Mr. Courtnell

Paul Courtnell

Director, Leisure & Resorts Group, Gunster LLP

Paul Courtnell Jr. is a senior partner at Gunster, Attorneys at Law with eight offices in Florida. He developed The Leisure and Resorts Group and serves as Director. The Group provides specialized legal and consulting services to the hospitality, recreational and resort development industries. Mr. Courtnell earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University in 1965 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida School of Law in 1973, both with honors. Mr. Courtnell joined Gunster in 1976 and concentrates in the areas of: lodging and resorts; real estate finance (representing both borrowers and lenders); commercial real estate and hospitality transactions; hotel management and franchise agreements; public finance; public/private partnerships; club structures; and timeshare. Mr. Courtnell was nationally recognized in 2010 by the leading legal directory Chambers and Partners in the area of Leisure & Hospitality. He is member of the Florida Bar, Urban Land Institute (Recreational Development Council), International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) and American Resort Development Association (ARDA). His experience with resort real estate, real estate finance and hospitality properties spans four decades. Mr. Courtnell is a featured speaker for the National Golf Foundation, the Urban Land Institute, ARDA, the Lodging Conference, and other organizations.

Mr. Courtnell can be contacted at 561-650-0517 or pcourtnell@gunster.com

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.