$900,000 Settlement Reached In Hotel Sexual Assault Case
It is a hard reality to face, but the truth of the matter is that sexual assaults can happen virtually any time and anywhere. Unfortunately, that means even the places where we stay and sleep. Although we entrust our lives and security with hotels and motels when we travel or need a place to stay, the hard truth is that we are vulnerable even with discerning front desk clerks, deadbolts, and key card operated elevators in place. When a sexual assault does happen to a guest in a hotel, the guest-victim may have rights and options against not only the perpetrator of the sexual assault, but also the property owners and/or employer of the sexual assault perpetrator. A recent child sexual assault case in New Jersey illustrates the nature of sexual assault cases involving the owner of the premises and employer of the perpetrator. The resulting settlement shows the possible recovery that a sexual assault victim may receive if they bring a civil sexual assault case.
The sexual assault occurred over twenty years ago in 2010 at a Travelodge Motel in Wall Township, New Jersey. The victim, who was 12 years old at the time, was sexually assaulted by a man named Thomas Grisard, who was employed by the hotel as a hotel clerk. While the young boy and his family, who were homeless at the time, were living in the hotel for a six-month period, Grisard sexually assaulted the boy in the motel pool, at a room in the hotel, at Grisard’s apartment, at the beach, and at a local park. According to the victim’s suit, Grisard was already a registered sex offender during his employment at the Travelodge hotel.
Grisard was criminally indicted in 2011 in connection with the sexual assault of the young boy, and pled guilty to one count of aggravated sexual assault. He was ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012. Later, in 2019, after legislative action permitted the victim of the sexual assault to file his previously time-barred civil suit, the victim filed suit against Grisard’s employer, Linden Hou Co., doing business as Travelodge, and the Wyndham Hotel Group. The claims in the victim’s complaint included negligent hiring and retention of Grisard, assault and battery, negligent supervision, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In or around mid-2022, after mediating the case, the parties settled the victim’s claims against the Travelodge hotel entity for $900,000. Wyndham Hotel Group was dismissed from the lawsuit. The victim, who is now grown-up and in his mid-20’s, plans to become a sexual assault counselor.
Help with a Sexual Assault Case
A sexual assault is undoubtedly one of the worst things that a person can endure in their lifetime. For sexual assault victims, justice can be sought both under criminal laws and under civil laws. Civil sexual assault suits may involve more than just the perpetrator of the sexual assault, and often the employer of the perpetrator and/or owner of the premises where the assault occurred can be named. Sexual assault cases, and premises liability cases, are difficult to prove and it is best to have an experienced Houston sexual assault lawyer on your side. If you have been sexually assaulted in Houston and want to learn your rights and options, contact the Gilde Law Firm today to speak to an experienced Houston sexual assault attorney.