The Thai court on June 15 dismissed Minor International’s legal action against Marriott International related to the JW Marriott Resort & Spa but Minor says it will continue to pursue the case in other jurisdictions.
Marriott said the court held that there was no wrongdoing by it, and no breach of Thai law. All of Minor’s claims against Marriott were dismissed, according to the US chain.
A statement from Marriott in Asia-Pacific said: “Marriott International welcomes the decision of the Thai Court and looks forward to continuing to work in close partnership with hotel owners to operate properties that deliver excellent experiences for guests, as well as providing opportunities for career growth to its 18,000 associates in Thailand.
“The company looks forward to maintaining its focus on delivering exceptional customer service at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, and across its extensive portfolio of hotels worldwide, working in partnership with hotel owners to deliver memorable experiences for valued guests.”
Minor’s CEO Dillip Rajakarier said the court’s decision is “a temporary setback” and that it will continue to pursue the case until it reaches “a fair outcome”.
“The decision was made on technical grounds and we will shortly file our appeal to challenge it. Moreover, the judgment also gives us important insight into the Thai court’s considerations and will guide our further Thai law claims against Marriott,” said Rajakarier.
“We are committed to holding Marriott accountable for its behaviours and actions. We will continue to fight for full accountability and to insist on full transparency by Marriott in the interest of hotel owners throughout the Marriott system worldwide.”
Minor is claiming damages of 571 million baht (US$17 million). Allegations include Marriott’s failure to protect owner’s interest and that Marriott is enriching itself “through non-transparent license fee arrangements, supplier rebates and use of monies in the Marriott loyalty programme fund”.
The Bangkok-based chain first filed the lawsuit against Marriott and its Thai subsidiary Luxury Hotels & Resorts in July 2019. In 2020, Marriott succeeded in getting the case to be moved to Singapore for arbitration, as per the arbitration clause in the management agreement.
Minor fought back and won the right for the case to be transferred to the Thai court. In TTG Asia’s article on this published in April last year, Minor’s chief commercial officer & general counsel Steve Chojnacki said moving the case to Thailand was “extremely important to us”.
He said: “Marriott clearly wants to avoid Thai court, but we strongly feel that this is the appropriate forum to hear Thai law claims relating to a business that operates in Thailand.”
According to Rajakarier, Minor is fully confident of its long-term strategy and is hopeful for a better resolution.