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Who Is Responsible For An Assault In A Hotel Room?

A New Jersey woman blames hotel staffers for a sexual assault that occurred in her hotel room.
Cheri Marchionda said she was staying at an East Village Embassy Suites in April 2014. When she awoke sometime after midnight, she claims that 31-year-old Christopher LaPointe was standing at the foot of her bed; Mr. LaPointe is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence in Iowa for burglary and assault. According to her lawsuit, he approached Ms. Marchionda in the hotel bar, tried to flirt with her, and left in an intoxicated state. Again according to the suit, the bartender assured her that Mr. LaPointe was “harmless.”
The next night, a seriously intoxicated Mr. LaPointe unsuccessfully tried to flirt with Ms. Marchionda yet again; when the bartender observed that his attempts were unsuccessful, Mr. LaPointe allegedly replied that “the night wasn’t over yet.” He obtained a key to her room from the front desk clerk and had a maintenance worker unlock the door; neither checked his identification or verified his story.
Mr. LaPointe, who is appealing his convictions, blamed the incident on chronic alcoholism.
Recovery in a Landowner Liability Case
Landowners have a duty of reasonable care towards business invitees, such as hotel guests, apartment tenants, shoppers, and others who are on the premises for a commercial purpose. The duty applies whether or not the victim actually bought something at the store; the duty also applies to job applicants, salespeople, vendors, and other such individuals.
Landowners also have a duty to warn business invitees about obvious defects, such as spilled liquid on the floor, if the risk of injury is unreasonably high.
This is the highest duty that the law recognizes in these cases. If the victim was a trespasser, or someone who was on the land without the owner’s permission, the landowner has a duty to avoid willful or wanton misconduct. For example, a landowner who wants to keep hunters off the property might set a hidden trap or send someone to disable their vehicles. For licensees, which are people who are on the premises for a non-commercial or social purpose, landowners have a duty to warn about latent defects, like a sinkhole in a field or a weak spot on a staircase.
All comers are protected by a duty, regardless of the purpose of their visits. For a free consultation with attorneys who protect victims’ rights, contact our office. Our firm has a small-town atmosphere and ready access to nationwide resources.

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