Miami Hotel Off the Hook for Fatal Drug Deal
(CN) - The Miami hotel where a Russian tourist was shot to death by drug dealers is not liable to the victim's widow, a federal judge ruled.
It is undisputed that Florida has charged Turaine Burgess and Duran Reed with the murder of Roman Gubanov after the Russian citizen was shot to death in his hotel room at the Miami Beach Resort on June 26, 2010.
Aleksandra Gubanov sued the operator of that resort, Miami Beach Owner LLC, for failing to take additional security measures despite its location in a high-crime area. She also alleged that the hotel did not properly train its staff.
The resort sought summary judgment because it claimed that Gubanov was engaging in a felony on its property at the time of his death.
U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum noted last week that accounts of events leading up to the murder vary but that "the record in this case clearly indicates that Gubanov was killed by a man from whom Gubanov was attempting to purchase drugs."
The seven-page decision cites the hotel's statement of material facts, which Gubanov's widow failed to contest.
It says Gubanov and another man with whom he was traveling invited two women they met at a Miami Beach nightclub to their hotel room the night before the murder. The women apparently witnessed the tourists locate Burgess in the lobby and bring him to the room where Gubanov tried to negotiate the price of cocaine.
Burgess left without making a sale and returned the next night with Reed.
Burgess and Reed allegedly told Gubanov the price for the cocaine was $300 and that they would return in 10 minutes.
The hotel says that the drug dealers forced themselves into Gubanov's room a short time later with a gun and pepper spray. During the scuffle Gubanov was shot and soon died from his injuries. Burgess and Reed allegedly fled the scene.
Judge Rosenbaum granted the hotel summary judgment after noting that Gubanov's widow had failed to file a timely response to the motion.
"Defendant has sufficiently demonstrated that no triable issue of fact exists, and Plaintiff has failed to rebut this showing, despite having been given ample opportunity to do so," he wrote. "Accordingly, summary judgment is appropriate."