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Investment Banker Sues Hotel Chain for Room Assault
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The Starwood Hotels chain was sued by an investment banker on a business trip on Monday. She says that the front desk clerk gave her room key to a drunken man who entered her room and then assaulted her in bed.

The New York investment banker in the suit, Alison Fournier, lives in Florida now. She claims she was assaulted in her hotel room one year ago in Helsinki, Finland, according to the lawsuit filed in United States District Court in Manhattan. The lawsuit was filed against Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

  
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Fournier claims she was in bed in her hotel room at the Hotel Kamp on her first abroad work trip on January 15, 2011. While in bed she woke up to a person climbing into her bed and then groping her.

Fournier fled the room to the front desk as she feared rape. She arrived at the front desk wearing a bathrobe, where she was told that the man in her room was her husband.

The lawsuit alleges that the t-shirt wearing man approached the desk intoxicated and claimed he was locked out of the room. The front desk did not try to verify the man’s identification, according to the lawsuit.

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Gloria Allred, the attorney for Fournier, claims the attacker was an American staying at the hotel who had hit on Fournier earlier in the day and had been turned down. Allred said in a statement that Fournier took her lawsuit public on Monday so that she could “warn other women who may be traveling alone of the danger that they may face.”

“The one place that they may feel safe (their hotel room) may in fact be the most dangerous place of all if their hotel fails to act responsibly to protect their guests,” Allred said.



“She was unable to return to work as a banker, feeling unsafe in the most ordinary circumstances,” the court documents said.

Fournier is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School. She quit her job as a vice president at an unnamed investment firm and moved away from New York City to be near her family in Florida.

“Business travel is often a critical part of a successful career, and women should not have to fear traveling or wonder if they will be targets of violence when they are staying alone in a hotel,” Fournier said in a statement on Monday.

The hotel chain said that its policy is to ask for proper identification and verification prior to issuing anyone a room key.

“We are taking this allegation seriously and are working with the hotel in question to understand the facts and any breach of security that may have contributed to the event.”

The lawsuit is seeking unnamed damages for economic loss, physical and emotional distress, gross negligence and pain and suffering.



 

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