Anna Burgese, a New Jersey woman on vacation, claims she was just chilling in the lobby of the W South Beach when a gang of drunken prostitutes mistook her for a competitor and violently attacked her to defend their turf.
Now Burgese and her husband Joseph are suing the W, claiming that the hotel openly tolerates an element of prostitution and that employees helped the alleged assailants escape the scene.
According to The Philadelphia Daily News, the Burgeses says they are regular guests at the W. They were returning to their room on the night of January 19, and say they had to walk through a hotel bar to reach the lobby. They claim that the bar is a well known spot for prostitutes to pick up clients, and that some of the working girls thought that Mrs. Burgese was competition.
She claims she was grabbed from behind, slammed into a stone wall and then dropped on the floor. As many as 10 prostitutes may have been involved in the attack either as participants or by egging the attack on.
Mr. Burgese, with the help of hotel employees, broke the fight up. Burgese claims, however, that he asked the staffers to help detain the women until police came. Instead he says the staffers helped the women get away by placing them in cabs.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Burgese was taken to Mount Sinai to be treated for trauma to her face and an injury to her knee.
The lawsuit says that Miami Beach Police officers told the couple that the assailants might have been drunk and high and trying to defend their turf.
"It was like a territory battle for them," the couple's attorney Lance Rogers told the Daily News.
"From the minute this happened, the hotel management and staff became very elusive and not willing to participate with the Burgeses about what happened," he continued.
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"We truly regret that this incident occurred and that one of our guests was injured," a rep for Starwood Hotels, owner of the W, emailed Huffington Post. "Because of the pending litigation, we are unable to comment further at this time."
The couple is seeking damages for negligence, premises liability, assault, civil liability for criminal acts, and loss of consortium.