The Carlson Law Firm's Associate Attorney Nick Merz attains multi-million dollar verdict for sexual assault…
A family “staycation” turned into a nightmare for one family, after a staff member at a Texas hotel proceeded to rape our client, a wife and mother.
Wanting to do something fun to celebrate the Labor Day holiday, our client’s family rented a hotel room for the night. After settling into their room, the family went to the hotel restaurant to enjoy cheesecake and drinks—courtesy of the hotel’s complimentary drink tickets provided at check-in. After enjoying the libations, the family left the hotel to eat dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Once the family finished dinner, they returned to the hotel. While enjoying the swimming pool, our client’s level of intoxication led to an argument with her husband. Needing to cool off, her husband decided to leave the hotel with their two kids.
Now alone, our visibly intoxicated client went to the hotel’s bar. Despite her visible intoxication, he continued to serve her drinks. Despite her visible intoxication, the hotel bartender, who was not a certified TABC server, continued to serve her drinks. Several drinks later, she was cut off. Now well past the point of visible intoxication, our client left to head back to her room.
Concerned for the well-being his wife, our client’s husband asked a friend to go to the hotel and check on her. The friend saw our client incredibly drunk and unable to find her room. She noticed that our client didn’t have the hotel room key; so, she went to the hotel front desk to ask for another one. The staff gave they key without first bothering to verify her identity. After retrieving the key and helping our client back into her room, she went downstairs where she informed the front desk that our client was back in her room. She also asked the staff to call if additional issues arose.
Hotel management was well aware of the intoxication level of our client.
According to witness statements, the hotel bartender asked the front desk what room our client was in. The front desk obliged and provided him with the room number.
After receiving this information, video surveillance shows that the bartender went up to the fifth floor of the hotel where he entered our client’s room without permission. By that time, our client had stumbled back down to the lobby. He returned downstairs where he made contact with our client.
Even though the family friend asked the hotel to call if any other problems should arise, the hotel front desk clerk failed to do so. Instead, videos reveal that the hotel desk clerk and the security guard actually held the elevator door open to allow the bartender who had served his victim well past the point of intoxication to walk her back to her room – a violation of hotel policy.
Surveillance then shows the bartender holding our visibly drunk client up as she stumbles to her room, then entering her room with his shirt tucked in. Once inside the room with our client, the hotel’s bartender proceeds to rape his helpless victim. Despite her protests and pleading “No!” the bartender proceeds. Twelve minutes after cameras caught him on video, and without so much as a knock at the door from hotel staff or security, the cameras again capture his image. This time as he exits the hotel room with his shirt, tie and shoes in hand. The security cameras then capture him enter into a side room before he emerges, less disheveled to head back downstairs.
After calling the police, a nearby hospital performed a sexual assault examination. Police initiated an investigation, and the hotel terminated the rapist after he reported to work the next day. Management cited his violation of hotel policy by entering a guest’s room as grounds for his termination.
The rapist then fled the jurisdiction, and the rape kit has still not been processed. As a result of the delays in the criminal prosecution of this obvious crime, the District Attorney has yet to file formal criminal charges—delaying justice in the criminal courts. However, our team of compassionate attorneys led by Board-Certified Personal Injury Trial attorney Todd Kelly at The Carlson Law Firm is working hard to get the justice she deserves.
How The Kelly Team at The Carlson Law Firm Helps Hotel Rape Victims
Many people don’t know that when hotels fail to provide a safe and secure environment for their guests that they open themselves up to liability for the harms and losses that result from that failure. Civil lawsuits are most known in the media for car wrecks, slip and fall injuries, and other negligent or reckless acts that cause personal injuries. However, civil litigation is a critical part of the justice for victims of rape, sex trafficking and other forms of sexual abuse and assault, when these acts occur on the premises of hotels and motels. These suits help to hold those accountable for the acts that lead to the ultimate injury. In this particular case, the hotel made several mistakes:
- Permitting an employee to serve alcohol without TABC training;
- Failing to prevent an employee from overserving a patron;
- Failing to enforce its own policy, preventing an employee from accompanying a guest to her room;
- Failure to ensure that the employee accompanying the woman to her room had proper supervision by a second employee;
- Failing to check on the guest for over ten minutes;
- Failing to ensure that the security guard followed the intoxicated victim.
This lawsuit also highlights that consuming alcohol is never an invitation for sexual assault. In fact, the level of visible intoxication of this victim made consent impossible. She was not in control of her faculties and her rapist encouraged her to drink more. As defenders of justice, our firm stands by victims of sexual abuse. A victim’s actions don’t lead to rape—only a rapist can rape.
The assault had a significant impact on our client. She will require extensive therapy to undo the emotional damage the hotel and rapist have forced upon her. In this lawsuit, we are seeking compensation to cover our client’s medical expenses stemming from the assault. We are also seeking the real damage for this violation which will go largely unseen, but not unfelt.