“…evidence showed “security was present, but spent more time delivering bed items, towels, and bell carts to guests rather than patrolling the exterior of the hotel and serving as a deterrent to crime. The hotel provided a ‘uniformed housekeeper,’ not security…”
In addition, lights that would have illuminated the area where the crime occurred were burned out and hadn’t been replaced for months.
An Orange County jury Friday ordered Hilton Embassy Suites, Interstate Management Company, and SecurAmerica to pay a combined $1.7 million dollars in restitution to Troy Anderson, who was shot in 2008 while parking his car at the Hilton Embassy Suites on Jamaican Court, near International Drive.
Anderson filed a lawsuit in 2009 for the shooting that occurred on the premises of the Hilton Embassy Suites on September 26, 2008, when he was shot multiple times during a car jacking. He sustained serious and life-threatening injuries as a result. (Troy Anderson v. Hilton Hotels, et al., Case No. 2009-CA-040473-O, Fla. 9th Judicial Cir.).
A former Regional Manager, Chuck Klawitter, testified the hotel would “wait until enough lights were burned out to justify getting a ‘hi-light’ to replace the burned out lights.” Klawitter and two other former SecurAmerica employees, Emmanuel Denau, a former Quality Assurance Supervisor, and Rob Wombolt, a former Operations Manager, testified they brought their security concerns to the attention of the hotel and the security company.
Witnesses testified that the area where hotel personnel instructed Mr. Anderson to park his vehicle was “very dark,” even though it was only 50 or 60 feet from the hotel entrance. Crime Scene Investigator (CSI), Gerardo Bloise, Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSO), photographed and documented the scene and his photographs confirmed that a critical floodlight intended to illuminate the area where Mr. Anderson parked was not working on the night he was shot. CSI Bloise confirmed in his testimony the area was “very dark.”
Assistant Hotel General Manager, Victor Vergara, claimed and testified at trial, contrary to the evidence, that all the lights were working and the parking lot lighting was “perfect.”
Jurors also learned that a similar strong-armed robbery had occurred in the parking lot of the Embassy Suites ten days prior. Deputy Lourdes Clayton of the OCSO appeared on the scene of the armed robbery ten days earlier and was on the Hilton Embassy Suites’ property for approximately an hour. The hotel and security company denied knowing she was on the property though in following protocol she would have arrived with lights and sirens on as the call was a Code 3 emergency. She also completed an “incident report,” which is a public record and which was brought out in her testimony at trial where she verified she was on the property for “approximately an hour.” The victim who was robbed at gunpoint, 72-year-old Roger Kraft from Ohio, stayed an additional two nights at the hotel, yet the hotel and security company argued he did not tell anyone about being robbed despite the fact his wallet, cash, and credit cards were stolen. Allen told the jury the assertion was “ridiculous.” Mr. Kraft unfortunately passed away a year and a half ago.
For more: http://news.yahoo.com/orlando-hotel-ordered-pay-1-7-million-dollars-082430903.html;_ylt=A2KJjakMeZpQcGcAaXDQtDMD