Early in 2016, ESPN reporter and television personality Erin Andrews was recently awarded a $55 million jury verdict after an emotional trial. Andrews was awarded the amount after a stalker had recorded nude videos of her through a peephole at a Nashville hotel. While recent news has centered on a federal judge stating that Andrews’ stalker must pay despite declaring bankruptcy, that is far from the most important legal take away from the case.
The $55 million jury verdict was ordered to be paid by the stalker, the Nashville hotel’s management group and its owner. The hotel management group’s liability as well as the proprietor’s hinged on the fact that they were negligent. As such, the Andrews case has demonstrably proven that negligence standards can apply to AL hotels.
How the Erin Andrews Case Could Impact a Hotel’s Liability on Negligence Grounds
To discuss the impact this ruling could have in 2016 and beyond, it is essential to examine the behavior of the stalker, the hotel management group, and the owner when the videos were recorded in 2008. On a fateful day the videos were recorded, the stalker booked the adjoining room to Andrews’ hotel. He then unscrewed the peephole in the door connecting the two rooms. The stalker then had unfettered access to the view needed to record Andrews illegally’ in a state of undress.
It is evident why Barrett was criminally prosecuted and found guilty, but less obvious may be why the hotel management group and owner were forced to pay damages to Erin Andrews. The basis of Andrews’ civil suit against the hotel group and owner were based on Andrews’ allegation that Marriott was negligent for failing to protect the safety and privacy of Andrews as a hotel guest.
Some of the violations and negligent actions alleged included:
- A failure to disclose that the stalker was staying at the hotel
- Allowing the stalker to book an adjoining hotel room without checking with Andrews first
- Failing to maintain the peep holes in a way that prevented tampering
The law provided that the Marriott owed a duty of care to protect its customers reasonably from harm. This obligation, by extension, included an obligation to warn/protect Erin Andrews from the foreseeable damages that transpired. Arguably, these negligence standards could also apply to the negligence of an Alabama hotel.
Still, it is worth stressing that a hotel has a duty to protect you from reasonable and foreseeable harm. As such, a hotel does not have an obligation to protect patrons from all harm, merely harms that are predictable and could reasonably happen.
If you are unsure as to whether damages suffered by the negligence of an Alabama hotel rise to this standard, Alabama injury attorney Noel B. Leonard is ready to help. Noel will help you determine if you have a strong case on negligence grounds, and if so, he will fight for your right to receive deserved compensation.
From Noel’s Foley office, he represents negligence victims in the city of Foley as well as residents living in Baldwin, Mobile, and Escambia Counties. Contact Noel B. Leonard or call 251-943-8638 for a legal consultation regarding your Alabama negligence case.