A man who stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis last year has filed a lawsuit against the Marriott corporation claiming negligence after he was allegedly assaulted by a person he says was homeless on hotel property.
While the case seems designed to get the attention of Fox News and raise more "America's liberal cities are descending into chaos" rabble, we have news of a seemingly legitimate lawsuit against Marriott International Inc., filed last Friday. As the SF Business Times reports, California resident Henri Guite says that during his stay at the Marriott Marquis in June 2023, he was attacked by a "homeless man" while standing in the hotel's "breezeway."
It's not clear if Guite is describing the Marriott main entry on 4th Street, or the motor court area that connects between 4th and Mission streets.
The lawsuit contends that the man attacked Guite with a two-by-four, and contends that the hotel was negligent in its security for allowing such a thing to happen.
Guite is seeking a jury trial, reimbursement of medical and ambulance expenses, and "damages in excess of $25,000 on the basis of alleged negligence and premises liability."
As the Business Times notes, if the suit is successful, it could have broad implications for hotels and other businesses in urban centers and the types of security they employ.
Erik Harper, of the Los Angeles office of Morgan & Morgan, is representing Guite.
The suit does not name Guite's attacker, nor does it make clear if a police report was filed in the case, or if the attacker was ever identified.
The suit alleges that the attack was "foreseeable" by hotel management "given San Francisco Marriott Marquis’ knowledge of the homelessness, drug and crime plaguing the South of Market area." And it suggests the hotel should have known that "large objects laying at or near its property could and would be weaponized."
Reps for Marriott have not publicly responded to the suit, and they may not offer comment given that it is pending litigation.
This is the first lawsuit that we know of in which an individual is trying to hold a publicly traded company liable for an incident stemming from SF's homelessness problem — and the population of those on the street who are mentally ill.
As the Business Times notes, such lawsuits are unusual, and businesses would not typically be held liable for the actions of others unless it was proven that they gave no words of warning to guests, or maintained no on-site security.
San Francisco was sued by the University of California in 2020 — specifically the law school formerly known as UC Hastings, now called UC Law San Francisco — over the squalid conditions in the Tenderloin, on sidewalks around the school's buildings, which it said city government was condoning. That led to a settlement, and to the city quickly trying to push those in tents in the neighborhood into hotel accommodations during the pandemic.
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