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ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews is going after the hotels she stayed in for allegedly creating the condition that allowed her stalker to spy on her and record nude video. Andrews filed lawsuits against Marriott and Raddison Hotels, as well as others. The suit alleges that the hotels "failed to adequately protect her privacy." She is asking for unspecified damages for negligence, infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. The civil lawsuit was filed in Chicago.
Andrews alleges that the hotels gave her stalker, Michael David Barrett, her room number and also allowed him to check into connecting hotel rooms. Barrett was convicted of felony stalking last year and is serving a two-and-a-half year sentence in prison. Andrews testified at his sentencing and requested the maximum sentence, saying that Barrett's actions had a catastrophic effect on Andrews and her family. Barrett admitted to modifying peepholes in hotel suites to "allow him to see into Andrew's room and videotape her nude." He then uploaded the video to the internet.
Attorney Marshall Grossman represented Andrews during Barrett's criminal stalking trial stated, "Erin filed the lawsuit to send a message to hotel chains that they need to exercise greater care in protecting their guests. "She was seriously harmed by what happened there," TMZ reports.
"Although I'll never be able to fully erase the impact...I do hope that my experience will cause the hospitality industry to be more vigilant in protecting its guests from the time they reserve a hotel room until they check out," Andrews said in a statement.
Hotels and hotel guests can both learn from the case. Hotels would be wise to be protective of hotel guests information, especially high profile guests. They should never provide room numbers or allow guests to have rooms next to specific people unless the other party is aware of the request. Hotel guests should be careful with who they share their room location with and ensure that the hotel does not share their information. As a simple fix they might also want to block the door peepholes from the inside with a piece of tape. Although blocking the peephole cannot completely stop a determined stalker, it will make things more difficult for them.