Posted by: Ophelia | August 14, 2009

Well maybe you shouldn’t have gotten raped on our property

A downtown hotel being sued by a woman raped at gunpoint in its parking garage is claiming she was careless, negligent and “failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities,” according to court documents. (Connecticut Post)

The woman, identified in court papers only as Jane Doe, claims in the suit that Fricker had been in the hotel and garage acting suspiciously days before the attack, as well as the afternoon of the attack, and the hotel failed to notice him, apprehend him or make him leave. During the attack, security personnel did not see or stop him, the suit claims.

The hotel also claims as a special defense that the acts were unforeseen and beyond their control, that the woman and her children failed to properly “mitigate their damages,” and that the hotel had not been notified about Fricker.

The hotel also subpoenaed several people involved with the family, including a Pilates instructor, friends, tennis partners and the children’s baby sitter. The woman’s attorneys argue the individuals subpoenaed do not know anything about the attack, that the subpoenas inadvertently identified her to those people and that it was merely an effort by the hotel’s attorneys to intimidate her.

And down the rabbit hole we go with the theory that awareness of one’s surroundings alone repels rapists therefore, failure to notice someone creeping around is tantamount to recklessness (I could digress into how having a 3 and 5 year old with you might distract anyone and it doesn’t equal negligence or recklessness). Now I can buy a business arguing that since there were no prior similar incidents, it was unforeseeable that this would occur so they’re not at fault. I can see this defense even more clearly if it’s validated parking/a traditional parking garage where on the back you waive all your rights to protection from theft/anything else in perpetuity throughout the universe. I don’t buy “yeah well you’re negligent and we’re going to ask your friends and family to attest to your general negligent behavior” as a reasonable defense. It smells like a kitchen sink defense and it’s ripe. Not only that, but if the hotel is successful in that defense, why would anyone ever park in their parking garage? Basically, they don’t seem to monitor it and if anything happens to you while on their property–tough for you, should have paid more attention. I wonder if they would have pulled the same defense if she had been robbed. Do you think they would have subpoenaed the pilates instructor about her propensity to not defend herself from robberies?

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