Tort Law

ESPN Sportscaster Erin Andrews Sues Hotel Chains Over Stalker's Secret In-Room Taping

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In a lawsuit likely to resonate with other women who travel alone on business, a well-known sportscaster for ESPN sued several hotel chains today in Illinois state court over video footage widely circulated on the Internet in which she is seen in a state of undress while in her room.

In addition to seeking damages for alleged security breaches that permitted a stalker secretly to videotape her in her room during a number of stays in Nashville, Tenn., and Milwaukee in 2008, Erin Andrews says she also hopes her suit will encourage the industry to take better care of its guests.

“I’ve filed this lawsuit to hold accountable those who put my personal safety at risk and who allowed my privacy to be invaded while I was a guest at their hotel, as well as for actually stalking me and making my most personal moments public,” the 32-year-old says in a Greene Broillet & Wheeler press release circulated by Business Wire. “Although I’ll never be able to fully erase the impact that this invasion of privacy has had upon me and my family, I do hope that my experience will cause the hospitality industry to be more vigilant in protecting its guests from the time they reserve a hotel room until they check out.”

The footage of Andrews resulted in international publicity and a criminal conviction for Michael David Barrett, who was sentenced earlier this year to 30 months after pleading guilty in a harassment case in federal court in Los Angeles late last year. Now she has sued in Cook County Circuit Court, asserting claims of negligence and invasion of privacy against both the hotel chains and Barrett, according to the Associated Press and the L.A. Now blog of the Los Angeles Times.

Barrett found out where Andrews was staying by called hotels, where staff also allegedly provided her room number and booked him into an adjoining room. After he checked in, he altered the peephole in her door to make it easier to tape her and surreptitiously filmed her through it, according to the suit and news reports about the criminal case.

She is represented by Bruce Broillet of the Greene Broillet firm, in Santa Monica, Calif., and Joseph Power Jr. of Chicago’s Power Rogers & Smith.

Lawyers for the defendant hotels and Barrett were not immediately available to comment on the suit, the Times blog reports.

An earlier ABC News article discusses the criminal case against Barrett in greater detail.

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