The man who spied on Erin Andrews has been arrested, but the hotel where the incident occurred may soon face a lawsuit.
The criminal complaint lays out how the alleged peeper, Michael David Barrett, was able to book a room next to the ESPN reporter’s. He asked for it.
Page 8 of the complaint states that the reservation notes of the Marriott Nashville at Vanderbilt University say that the guest — Barrett, who used his own name — requested a room next to Andrews, who is identified as Individual A.
Further, the videos were not made through a hole in the wall as it was originally assumed. The complaint says that Barrett altered, likely with a hacksaw, the peephole to the front door of the room where Andrews stayed.
A similar hacked peephole was discovered at the Ramada Conference centre Milwaukee, formerly known as the Radisson Airport (Page 20), where Andrews also stayed. It’s not clear if video was shot there.
As the Legal Blog Watch suggests, with an additional hat tip to Day on Torts, the actions, or lack thereof, of the hotels — and specifically the Marriott — are surprising. The Marriott granted Barrett’s request for a room next to Andrews based, it seems, on nothing but the fact he wanted one. And, apparently no one noticed that a peephole was being altered by a hacksaw. A guest has an expectation of privacy and reasonable standards of safety in a hotel, and one could definitely argue the hotel was negligent in providing it.
To be found negligent a person or entity must have a duty to act, and the specific duties and reasonableness of the hotel behaviour and policy will no doubt be fodder for the litigation, if a suit is filed.
Andrews has not said whether she will sue, but her attorney, Bingham McCutchen’s Marshall Grossman, was critical of the hotels. “One can’t pass this off to simple ignorance,” he said. “You don’t have to extrapolate very far from this to think in terms of somebody out to do even more harm and greater mischief than taping someone,” Grossman said.
Legalities aside, the facts on this one would make any hotel guest shudder.
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