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Santangelo v. Omni Hotels Management Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

December 10, 2018

GREGORY SANTANGELO and MICHELLE SANTANGELO
v.
OMNI HOTELS MANAGEMENT CORPORATION

         SECTION “F”

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARTIN L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims. For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED, in part, as to the plaintiffs' negligent hiring, supervision, and training claims, and DENIED, in part, as to all other claims.

         Background

         This negligence action arises out of two hotel guests' claims that they were assaulted and robbed by strangers who gained access to their hotel room.

         In the late summer of 2018, Gregory and Michelle Santangelo, residents of Georgia, traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana for a vacation. During their visit, the Santangelos stayed at the Omni Riverfront Hotel, which is operated by Omni Hotels Management Corporation. On the early morning of September 1, 2018, at approximately 4:00 a.m., the Santangelos were sleeping in their hotel room when they allegedly were awakened by three strangers who had entered the room. According to the Santangelos, the three intruders assaulted, robbed, and videotaped them as they were trapped inside of their hotel room. Following the alleged assault, the Santangelos discovered that the intruders were staying in a nearby hotel room. The Santangelos alerted the front desk of the incident and promptly called emergency services. In response to the call, the Louisiana State Police requested that the hotel's staff seal the intruders' hotel room. Despite this request, the hotel's staff allowed the intruders to re-access their room, which allegedly enabled them to leave the premises with stolen property and other potential evidence. According to the Santangelos, the intruders were able to access their room because the hotel's locks were not functioning properly on the day of the assault. The Santangelos further allege that the hotel staff was aware of the malfunctioning locks but made no effort to warn them.

         On October 22, 2018, the Santangelos sued Omni Hotels Management Corporation (“Omni”) in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, alleging the assault and robbery that occurred during their stay at the Omni Riverfront was caused by the defendant's negligence. The Santangelos' petition alleges that Omni, as the operator of the Omni Riverfront Hotel, is directly liable for the damages they sustained, and vicariously liable for the negligence of its employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior. The plaintiffs' petition further asserts that a contributing cause of the robbery was the negligence of the defendant and its employees in failing to ensure the security of the hotel's rooms as follows:

(1) Failing to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition;
(2) Failing to maintain the locks in an adequately safe condition;
(3) Failure to warn guests that the locks were non-functional;
(4) Failure to safe guard Plaintiff's property, even in the face of specific instructions from law enforcement;
(5) Negligent hiring;
(6) Failure to adequately screen prospective employees;
(7) Failure to adequately train and supervise its employees to ensure their competence to ...

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