Marriott Hotel Withdraws Rape Premises Liability Defense
Marriott International has withdrawn a legal defense by one of its franchise hotels that a rape victim, who was assaulted in the hotel premises, acted carelessly and failed to prevent the rape.The company has issued a statement apologizing to customers and Marriott guests, who had been outraged at the legal defense that the insurance company lawyers adopted.
In 2006, the 40-year-old woman was assaulted when she was in her mini van in the parking lot of the Marriott Hotel and Spa in Stamford, Connecticut. The woman was raped at gun point in front of her two children, both of who were below seven years old at the time. The rapist, 55 year old Gary Fricker, has since been found guilty, and is currently serving a 20-year sentence.
The woman filed a premises liability lawsuit that accused the hotel of, among other things, failing to monitor parking areas, and failing to train employees in proper security measures. The lawsuit also claimed that the hotel should have been aware of other sexual assaults that had taken place in the vicinity earlier.
The hotel’s legal defense filed court papers claiming that the victim “failed to exercise due care for her own safety, and for the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities.”
As Georgia premises liability lawyers, we know that the property owners can go to great lengths to deny negligence, and limit their liability in such cases. It’s also a fact that the rape victim unjustly gets blame for “inviting trouble”. The media and public at large have rightly, been appalled and disgusted with the Marriott line of defense. Internet chat boards have been buzzing with angry comments against Marriott, and women’s activists and rape support groups have lambasted the defense. It’s fair to say Marriott has lost more than a few customers, its reputation and good will, after the mess they’ve made of their defense, which was paltry to begin with.