Lawsuit: Prostitutes Beat Woman in Miami Hotel

June 6, 2013

A vacation at a swanky Miami hotel turned into a nightmare for a U.S. woman when she was beaten up by prostitutes who mistook her as competition, the woman and her husband claim in a federal lawsuit.

Anna Burgese, 34, asserts in the lawsuit filed last Friday that women she believes were prostitutes attacked her in the lobby of the W Hotel in Miami Beach in January as she and her husband, Joseph, were returning from a night out. Burgese says she was grabbed from behind and slammed into a wall, then thrown to the ground. She was taken to a hospital for her injuries, attorney Lance Rogers said.

The suit also claims that hotel staff helped the attackers escape by putting them in a taxi. The hotel was aware of previous violent episodes and failed to take precautions to protect guests, according to the suit.

The suit names Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and charges negligence and assault. The amount of damages sought wasn’t specified, but Rogers said he is seeking a “sizable” award.

Rogers said the couple had stayed at the hotel several times before.

According to the police report, Burgese was walking through the lobby when one of the women grabbed her from behind and tackled her to the ground. Police asked Burgese whether she said anything to the alleged attacker, but Burgese said it was unprovoked.

Police photographed Anna Burgese’s bruised knee, right elbow and cut to her bottom lip.

The Burgeses were on vacation abroad Tuesday, Rogers said. A spokesman for Starwood didn’t comment directly on the lawsuit.

“We truly regret that this incident occurred and that one of our guests was injured,” spokesman Trey Sarten said in an email.

(Associated Press writer Kelli Kennedy in Miami contributed to this story.)

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