CAMDEN, N.J. (CN) - Hookers beat up a guest at a "prostitute-friendly" South Beach hotel because they thought she was competition, the married woman says in a lawsuit against Starwood Hotels.
Joseph and Anna Burgese sued Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, in Federal Court.
Anna Burgese claims an "unknown number" of Jane Doe prostitutes beat the hell out of her in "a completely unprovoked, sudden and brutal attack" as she walked through the lobby of the W South Beach Hotel in January this year. She and her husband were paying guests.
"Specifically, plaintiff Anna Burgese was grabbed from behind and thrown with great force into a stone wall head-first," the complaint states.
It continues: "Plaintiff was also tackled to the ground and struck by her assailant.
"Following the attack, plaintiff Anna Burgense was taken via ambulance to Mt. Sinai Hospital.
"As a result of the attacks, plaintiff Anna Burgese was seriously injured and
suffered physical and mental anguish.
"It is believed and therefore averred that the hotel is frequented by prostitutes who attempt to make money by servicing the hotel's visitors and guests.
"The hotel fosters a prostitute-friendly environment where prostitutes are permitted to market themselves on the premises, as evidenced by, among other things, the reviews left on various travel websites by former guests.
"It is believed and therefore averred that, in the past, prostitutes have become violent with guests and/or visitors on the hotel's premises and in the surrounding area.
"It is believed and therefore averred that plaintiff Anna Burgese's attack in the lobby of the hotel was committed by prostitutes (named as Jane Does in this complaint) who, according to the Miami Beach Police, may have been under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and confused plaintiff Anna Burgese as competition, i.e., another prostitute who was capturing business at the hotel.
"It is believed and therefore averred that the defendant Jane Doe prostitutes who attacked plaintiff Anna Burgese were known to have been 'working' the premises by hotel employees on Saturday, January 19, 2013, and the hotel failed to take reasonable steps to remove them.
"It is believed and therefore averred that the hotel's employees helped the defendant Jane Doe prostitutes flee the scene of the crime and avoid capture and/or prosecution immediately following the attack."
Joseph Burgese claims a hotel staff member told him "that they knew who the attackers were," then "claimed ignorance as to the identity of the attackers."
He says he "subsequently discovered that hotel staff not only failed to detain the Jane Doe defendants, they placed the attackers into a taxi without so much as asking for their names."
The Burgeses claim the hotel has been "evasive and completely unresponsive" about providing videotape or any other evidence of the attack.
They seek damages for negligence, premises liability, assault, civil liability for criminal acts, and loss of consortium.
They are represented by Lance Rogers of Bryn Mawr, Pa.