Trafficking Victim’s Suit Against Major Hoteliers Survives Dismissal
October 10, 2019
A federal court has denied a bid by six hotel operators to dismiss a suit brought by a sex trafficking victim who was exploited at their hotels. The plaintiff’s complaint details being trafficked for sex at Days Inn, Comfort Inn, and Crown Plaza locations in Columbus, Ohio. The case is brought under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Defendants include operators of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, among other lodging chains. According to the complaint “the hotel staff would have or should have observed visible physical changes, such as bruising[.]” Despite this, hotel staff overlooked obvious warning signs and never came to the plaintiff’s aid.
Judge Algenon L. Marbley’s October 7 ruling denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, finding that the complaint “allege[d] facts specific to [the plaintiff’s] own sex trafficking, including a number of signs she alleges should have alerted staff to her situation." These allegations that defendants had reason to know abuse was occurring on their premises was sufficient to survive at the pleadings stage. According to Judge Marbley, “under a negligence standard,” the plaintiff need not prove that the defendants knew or conspired in the trafficking. Instead, plaintiff merely must prove that defendants recklessly disregarded the signs of trafficking.
Read the order here. If you or a loved one have been a victim of human trafficking and want to speak with an attorney about your legal rights, call 212-983-6804 or fill out our contact form to receive a free legal consultation.
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