Lawsuit: Bedbugs Cost H-F Coach Her Dreadlocks

It took Donna Brumfield more than a decade to grow her waist-long dreadlocks, which she had to chop off after a run-in with bedbugs at a hotel. She's suing the hotel for $50,000.

A coach at Homewood-Flossmoor High School says she was forced to cut off her dreadlocks after the bedbugs bit at a Palatine hotel in October 2012—and she wants the hotel to pay.

Assistant tennis coach Donna Brumfield had to do away with the 'locks that took her 13 years to grow, due to the unwelcome guests at Holiday Inn Express, 1550 E. Dundee Rd., Sun-Times Media reports. The personal injury lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court seeks $50,000 in damages. 

"If you know how long it takes to grow dreadlocks, you understand the trauma of losing my hair," Brumfield told reporters.

The lawsuit claims that while staying at the hotel for a tennis meet nearby, Brumfield watched as exterminators inspected her hotel room after bedbugs were found in an adjacent room. She was relocated to another room but the bugs had already left their mark: "red bumps extended from her hands and arms to her shoulders and neck," the lawsuit alleges. The bugs bite at night, leaving behind itchy red welts in a straight-line pattern.

Pest control company Orkin recently ranked Chicago the worst city for bed bugs. Orkin bases its list on the number of bed bug treatments it performed in 2013. Chicago was joined in the unfortunate Top 10 list by, in reverse order: Indianapolis, Denver, Washington, D.C., Dayton, Cleveland/Akron/Canton, Cincinnati, Detroit, Columbus and at No. 2, Los Angeles.

The ordeal has not exactly left Brumfield itching to travel again.

"I’ve traveled to foreign countries and never had anything like this happen. Here at a nice hotel in the northwest suburbs? That was the most shocking thing for me," she told reporters.

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Mary February 04, 2014 at 01:15 AM
@George Zimmerman -- Guess we know who your hero is.
George Zimmerman February 04, 2014 at 01:45 AM
Actually no my name just happens to be George Zimmerman. The George Zimmerman of homewood, not of Florida. Thank you very much
Dan February 04, 2014 at 09:29 AM
4 hour nap? I'll bet you look more like a women then a drug dealer now.
Dan February 04, 2014 at 09:37 AM
she prob. has bed bugs,and roaches at home.
Hernendo RevolveR February 04, 2014 at 09:41 AM
Actually, she's probably just looking for an easy $50K. How does one claim that their hair, which hasn't been washed in 13 years acquired bedbugs on a single night in a hotel? Nothing to see here!
Mary February 04, 2014 at 05:11 PM
@George Zimmerman, in that case I apologize.
Jon Azavedo February 04, 2014 at 06:31 PM
Ick! Waist-length dreads? My God, the smell must have been terrible. Hey, I wonder if the carpet matched the drapes?
Homewood Jim February 05, 2014 at 08:01 AM
Can anyone explain how damages of $50K were calculated?
RJ Martin February 05, 2014 at 11:20 AM
Man, I tried real hard to stay out of this one, but some of these responses are just crazy town talk!? African American hair doesn't grow at the rate of caucasian hair so it possibly did take her 13 years for it to reach waist length. So no, it won't "just grow back" it will take her a very long time to get back to where she was. There is a process/method to begin locking hair that is very time-consuming, somewhat costly if you have it done by a loctitian (someone certified in the process). Anyone who knows what they look like knows they can't be combed. And YES, @Hernendo RevolveR, you DO wash your hair and I don't know of anyone who doesn't. And if they don't, then yes, their scalp would smell just like ANYONE'S hair would if it were never washed. And lets be real, if someone doesn't wash their hair, that's a personal issue, it has nothing to do with the hairstyle they chose. What may be trivial to some of you is, obviously, quite devastating to this coach, and yet the need to belittle and degrade someone--anyone, but especially someone who is a part of your high school community leaves me perplexed.
RJ Martin February 05, 2014 at 11:25 AM
To be clear, my post isn't to "go there" or start a war so I hope it's taken in the vain it was written. Just wanted to put it in perspective and provide a little insight into a hairstyle that some may not understand. What can I say, it's the momma in me ;-)
Mary February 05, 2014 at 12:30 PM
@RJ Martin --I agree. Thank you for your comments.
George Zimmerman February 05, 2014 at 12:44 PM
Some of these comments are ridiculous. I actually had mrs. Brumfield as a study hall teacher while attending the high school and she is a well respected woman. The comments talking about how gross her hair must be or tells just show how narrow minded some of you are. I can tell you from my own experience that her hair looked just fine and did not smell.
Dan February 06, 2014 at 08:06 AM
bet she was as ugly as sin,till she cut it. most drug dealers have dreds.
Harry Callahan February 06, 2014 at 08:07 AM
I see a group here filled with excuses but isn't that normal.Right Mary & RJ Martin.
George Zimmerman February 06, 2014 at 08:10 AM
Hah Dan very funny go kill your self
Dan February 07, 2014 at 04:02 PM
Hey george. dare you to walk around with your name in big letters on the back of your shirt. you can do me the favor.
Krissy Malzone February 08, 2014 at 10:55 AM
Dreadlocks are nasty and poor hygiene in my opinion! Besides she can get a weave now! Easy fix! Have them pay for your new weave
Phillip R Baggs February 08, 2014 at 11:12 AM
Palatine is less than an hour away and HF pays for the hotel rooms? It takes me 1:15 to get to the office every morning. Must be nice, except for the unexpected surprise.
Julie February 08, 2014 at 11:59 AM
I will assume she did not cut her hair upon being moved to another room during her stay. With that said, it's a shame she went home and chopped off her dreadlocks because it was completely unnecessary. Bedbugs typically don't live on people unless you have a massive infestation or they are hitching a ride to somewhere else. When I had bedbugs, I did not immediately consult a licensed pest control operator and foolishly thought I could handle it myself. I ended up tossing out 5-6K in belongings, not realizing that they don't live in my closets on my things, but instead reside as close as possible to the host (between the mattresses, under the box spring, on the frame, cracks in the floor near the bed). I won't make a definitive call here, but it sounds like she might have panicked and just made a rash decision.
astudentatbhs February 08, 2014 at 01:10 PM
dread locks are clean, they are washed and dried completely with very much care, so someone with dreads might have cleaner hair than someone without because they spend much more time cleaning them out
SouthSide February 08, 2014 at 02:44 PM
Krissy Malzone, your comment is ridiculous. A weave is not a suitable substitute for her own hair. It took her 13 years to grow her hair! Dreadlocks are washed and are in no way less hygienic than a short hair style.
Jay Middleton February 08, 2014 at 04:44 PM
Did she try washing them? I have work in an environment that has to constantly treat for them and I can tell you that although they're hard kill in a residential/commercial setting, it would be effortless to kill them in someones hair because you know exactly where they are. This law suit will go one of two ways. The insurance company will settle out of court just so they don't have to deal with this nut bag or they will acquire the experience of a professional who will tell the courts that cutting her hair off was not necessary and the bugs could have been killed without such a drastic step. If she goes full steam and she is awarded the case I am going to document it as "case law" and anytime my child comes home from daycare or school with lice I will sue the shit out of the school and reference this case to gain support.
hometown February 10, 2014 at 08:00 AM
I should be amazed at the level of ignorance, but I'm not given the base of respondents. Why are people overly concerned about whether her claim has merit, you wish it had be you instead? Unless you are this person you have absolutely no valid info other than what's reported to support your uneducated opinion. Nobody here can make a determination as ti the extent of what she went thru, also even if it happened to you, each experience is.different. To.those.who feel the.need to insult and belittle this woman...you are.cowards plain and simple who are so.sacred of their own shadows they sit and wait on these message boards to just be negtive all.the.time. your lives must be depressing and sad.....truth hurt.much
oswego resident February 10, 2014 at 02:36 PM
Hey Hometown, speaking of uneducated.Did you read your own post?
hometown February 10, 2014 at 04:38 PM
@oswego. apparently you did since you felt lt applied to you. The fact that I wrote it should imply that I read it......the fact that you responded the way you did, just reinforces my post. Anything else I can help you with?
WonkaChoc February 20, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Oh my - I'm not sure why anyone thinks that people with dreads don't wash their hair - MYTH The Chicagoland area is known across the country for its bedbug infestation. On 1/16/14 the Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago leads in bedbugs for the 2nd consecutive year! http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-16/business/chi-chicago-bed-bugs-20140116_1_orkin-2nd-consecutive-year-bedbug
Jon Azavedo February 20, 2014 at 01:23 PM
I heard on the radio that these were crabs, no bedbugs.


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