Trials & Litigation

Law school grad sues hotel for $100M after discovering she was secretly videotaped in shower

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A law school graduate has filed a $100 million lawsuit that claims she was secretly taped with a hidden camera while taking a shower at a hotel where she was staying during the New York bar exam.

The plaintiff, identified only as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit, is a law school graduate from Chicago, report the Albany Times Union, the Associated Press, CNN and USA Today. The woman says she was staying at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Albany in July 2015 when the video was taken.

The video was posted on pornographic websites that identified the woman by name, the suit says. The plaintiff says she has learned that other videos were taken of people in the same hotel room.

The woman thinks the person who took the video is an employee of the Hampton Inn or its parent company, Hilton Worldwide, according to the suit, filed Nov. 30 in state court in Fairfax, Virginia. Hilton and the hotel’s franchisee owners are among the defendants. The suit alleges negligence and premises liability.

The woman was unaware of the video until someone sent her an email on Sept. 30 with a link to the video, according to the suit. A second email included information about where the woman worked, where she went to school, and the reason for her stay at the hotel.

In several emails sent on Oct. 1, the sender said, “I’m a perv” and asked for more images. Later, the emailer gave the woman a deadline to provide him more material and threatened to post her videos and name elsewhere if she didn’t comply. On Oct. 11, the video of the woman was posted on several porn websites.

On Oct. 20, the emailer threatened “Round 2” in which he would email people the woman knew. “You think you’re better than other people, but you’re just a whore,” the emailer said. “Either we talk or this goes out.” On Oct. 26, the woman learned her colleagues and classmates had received links to the video. That same day, the emailer demanded $2,000 up front and $1,000 per month for a year.

The woman did not give in to the demands, and videos of her are still available online, despite her efforts to get them taken down, the suit says.

The woman is represented by the law firms Arnold & Itkin and DiMuroGinsberg.

Hilton said in a statement to USA Today that it wasn’t aware of the allegations until this week. “We take the safety and well-being of our guests incredibly seriously and find the details included in the civil filing distressing,” the statement said. “We commit to supporting the independent ownership and management of the property as they investigate, respond and cooperate with any law enforcement investigations.”

A representative for the Albany Hampton Inn and Suites told USA Today that the owners were “shocked and stunned to learn of the allegations.”

“The safety and security of our guests is our highest priority, and we emphatically do not condone any form of this type of invasion of privacy,” the statement said. The hotel recently underwent a complete renovation, and “no recording devices of any kind were uncovered,” the statement said. The hotel will continue to work with the authorities.

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