A Swiss man is suing Elvis Presley's estate in Memphis, Tennessee after he claims a visit to Graceland left him with a debilitating hearing problem and ruined marriage.
Court documents obtained by The Blast detail Hans-Peter Gauch's lawsuit against the King of Rock and Roll's estate after he and his daughter stayed at the Guest House at Graceland hotel during a visit last October.
Gauch alleges that he was woken up around 8 a.m. one morning by "an extremely loud fire alarm" that was close to his sleeping location in the hotel room and exposed to his right ear.
He and his daughter quickly dressed and tried to exit the hotel by going to the ground floor; however, he claims the elevators on their floor were not working and that the exit signs were not accurate, saying that the deep red color of the walls in the hallway made it difficult to see emergency exit signs. No other guests were trying to exit the floor.
Gauch said they were "deeply concerned for their safety" so they went back to their hotel room to call the front desk and complain about their inability to exit the hotel during the fire alarm. He says they were told the alarm was most likely a false alarm.
The alarm allegedly ended after about 30 minutes and the elevators began working again. That's when he noticed something different with his hearing.
“Once the fire alarm was no longer sounding, Mr. Gauch noticed the presence of a significant whistling noise in both of his ears,” the lawsuit states. “He had to go to the emergency department of a local hospital where they determined he had ‘Tinnitus’ which is a condition involving the perception of noise which is considered to be a problematic issue that can cause ‘severe and debilitating’ symptoms.”
When he returned to Switzerland, his doctor reached the same conclusion. Gauch said the tinnitus has caused him "severe, permanent and debilitating bodily injury to his hearing ability." He also said he now needs "prescription-strength sleeping medication" in order to sleep and that the medication's high dosage makes him unable to wake up for work in the morning — so he has to work afternoons.
He claims that not only has his work suffered, but his condition has also "altered his speech pattern and does not allow him to carry on a conversation without great distortion, as he did before the injury."
He claims the conditions have worsened his ability to "[enjoy] physical activities he used to enjoy in life with his wife" and that his altered sleeping patterns "have caused sleeping irritability and mood wings." He said his relationship with his wife has gotten to the point where he moved out of their home, although they remain married.
Gauch is suing the Elvis Presley estate and the hotel for negligence and seeking damages in up to $75,000.