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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues one Indiana opinion today

In Shadday, Miranda v. Omni Hotel Mgmt (SD Ind., Judge Tinder), a 15-page opinion, Judge Posner writes on the innkeepers duty to safeguard its guests. The opinion begins:

This diversity tort suit charges the owner of a hotel in Washington, D.C. with negligence in having failed to prevent the rape of the plaintiff, a guest at the hotel, by another guest. The district judge gave summary judgment for the defendant. The parties agree that District of Columbia law governs the substantive issues.

The plaintiff is a young woman employed in a casket factory. A member of the steelworkers union, she attended a “Women in Steel” union conference at the Omni Shore 2 No. 06-2022 ham Hotel, a large, high-class hotel in a nice part of Washington (near Connecticut Avenue, Rock Creek Parkway, and the National Zoo). In the bar of the hotel, the first night of her stay, she met and had drinks with a seemingly very respectable Guatemalan lawyer—he was visiting Washington as a member of a delegation that included that country’s president. The bar closed at 1 a.m. and the patrons repaired to the lobby, where at 2 a.m., as the plaintiff was waiting in front of a bank of elevators to return to her room, the lawyer accosted her and began kissing and fondling her. She resisted, but didn’t cry out, because there was no one in sight. She fought her way free, and, an elevator having arrived, she ran into it, but he followed her and raped her in the elevator. She got out at the next floor and was discovered by a security guard. The rapist was soon arrested. He did not deny the crime, and he was convicted of sexual assault.

Posner's opinion includes on p. 10 a satellite view of the Shoreham’s neighborhood. The opinion concludes: "For reasons stated earlier, the plaintiff failed to present enough evidence to establish a genuine issue concerning the sufficiency of the care exercised by the hotel to protect its guests against the kind of outrage that befell her. The district judge was therefore right to grant summary judgment for the defendant."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 20, 2007 01:52 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions