New Jersey Woman’s Federal Lawsuit Against Miami Beach Hotel Raises Premises Liability Questions

According to a recent federal civil lawsuit filed by New Jersey resident Anna Burgese, she was attacked by prostitutes in the lobby of Miami Beach’s the W Hotel earlier this year. The suit claims that Burgese was “grabbed from behind and thrown with great force into a stone wall head-first” and “tackled to the ground and struck” by a group of prostitutes that had mistaken Burgese for their competition.Burgese, along with her husband Joseph Burgese, are suing Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the parent company of the W Hotel, for negligence, premises liability, assault, civil liability for criminal activity, and loss of consortium. According to the complaint, the W Hotel “fosters a prostitute-friendly environment” and Miami Beach Police informed the Burgeses that the attackers “may have been under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and confused plaintiff Anna Burgese as competition, i.e., another prostitute who was capturing business at the hotel.”
The suit has also named several Jane Does as defendants, a legal tactic commonly used as a placeholder when the identities of defendants are unknown. The yet unidentified Jane Does include the individual that actually attacked Burgese, a group of women that was allegedly encouraging the attack, and another person that hailed a taxi for the attacker after the incident.
One claim of particular interest in the Burgeses’ lawsuit is that for premises liability against the hotel. As this blog has discussed before, premises liability refers to a legal duty that property owners have to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe manner. The extent of the duty owed will depend on the type of relationship between the owner and the injured party, specifically, whether the person was a: (1) invitee (individual who enters a property for business purposes); (2) licensee (individual who enters a property for social purposes); or (3) trespasser (individual without permission to enter onto a property).
Because the Burgeses were at the W Hotel for business purposes, they are considered invitees. Accordingly, the W Hotel owed the Burgeses’ a duty to ensure that its premises were free of dangerous individuals or conditions that the hotel knew or should have know about. If the Burgeses can prove that the presence of the individuals that attacked Anna Burgese constituted a dangerous condition of which the hotel was aware, the Burgeses may be successful in recovering on their premises liability claim.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of the dangerous condition of another’s premises, it is important that you discuss your situation with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible to determine the merit and value of your claim, as well as to preserve any evidence favorable to your claim.

The qualified Miami injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by the negligent actions or omissions of property owners. If you have been injured on the premises of another, or know someone that has, contact the attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. today.

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