LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A businesswoman visiting from Maryland who says she spent more to stay at a Hilton hotel in downtown Los Angeles in 2021 in hopes of being safer is suing the hotel chain, alleging that his life was “radically changed” by the nighttime intrusion into the establishment by a woman who started screaming and setting fires.
Michele LeNoir’s lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges liability for premises, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. LeNoir seeks unspecified damages.
A representative for Hilton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
LeNoir, 54, of Hyattsville, Maryland, a suburb of Washington DC, checked into a room at the Hilton Checkers Los Angeles on Grand Avenue on Oct. 26 while on a business trip, the suit says. She was nervous about being in downtown Los Angeles because she was aware of increasing homelessness and crime in the area, the lawsuit says.
“Because of her concerns, (LeNoir) decided to pay a little more and book the room at Hilton Checkers based on the fact that Hilton is a well-known brand which she felt would be reliable and safe,” says the trial. “Unfortunately, she couldn’t have been more wrong.”
Lenoir’s stay “turned into a nightmare,” according to the suit, which says she was woken around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 28 by a fire alarm and instructions for guests to evacuate.
“When (LeNoir) opened her door to try to leave her room as instructed, she immediately saw an unknown woman screaming in the hallways of the hotel,” according to the lawsuit, which further states that the woman was approaching complainant when a security guard told LeNoir to close his door.
LeNoir heard a loud noise resembling a struggle and later discovered that a friend who was staying with her was involved, the lawsuit says.
“The complainant had no idea who the woman was or how she gained access to the hotel,” according to the complaint, which also states that the woman had started several fires in an adjoining room, endangering everyone at the hotel.
LeNoir left his room and walked down a flight of stairs to the lobby, where the front door was open, the suit says.
“The hotel clerk at the front desk was behind the counter on the phone and looked terrified,” the suit reads.
LeNoir later discovered that the fire alarm couldn’t be heard on the upper floors of the hotel, so those guests didn’t know what was going on, the suit says. The Los Angeles Fire Department report said the fire could have spread throughout the building, according to the lawsuit.
Police and firefighters arrived “after what felt like forever” and LeNoir did his best to tell them what had happened while he was “still in shock”, the lawsuit states.
Hotel security and the general manager told LeNoir that it was hotel policy to leave the front door unlocked and she also discovered that the security guards were unarmed, according to her suit.
“After the incident, (LeNoir) sat in the hotel lobby for hours, unable to return to her room due to the arson investigation,” the lawsuit states.
LeNoir and her friend were given another room around 4:30 a.m. and they insisted that a security guard stay outside their door, the lawsuit says.
“(LeNoir) and her friend stayed together the remaining few hours until their car arrived to take them to the airport because they were too terrified to be apart,” the lawsuit states.
LeNoir travels regularly for work and his life was ‘radically changed’ by the incident, which ‘destroyed his sense of safety and affected his well-being’, including his ability to sleep and work, according to the lawsuit. .