Erin Andrews Loses Suit Against Hotel Booker

     CHICAGO (CN) — Fox sportscaster Erin Andrews, victimized by a stalker who filmed her naked in two hotels, cannot sue one of the hotel’s booking services, an Illinois appeals court ruled.
     Michael Barrett was sentenced in March 2010 to more than two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to interstate stalking with the intent to harass. He admitted he stalked Andrews for 18 months, and tracked her to at least three hotel rooms in three states.
     He admitted to altering peepholes in two hotels — The Blackwell Inn in Columbus, Ohio and a Marriott hotel in Nashville, Tenn. — in order to film Andrews on his phone.
     In both cases, he used a hotel restaurant phone to call the front desk and ask for Andrews’ room number. The in-house phone displayed her room number when the call was put through. Barrett then asked to be placed in the room next door to Andrews’.
     “Barrett made the videos after removing the peephole device from the door in one of the hotel rooms and using his mobile phone to capture video of Ms. Andrews while she was naked,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
     In January 2009, TMZ.com was offered the opportunity to purchase the nude videos via email messages, an offer that the celebrity website immediately declined. Barrett subsequently posted 10 of the videos on the Internet, identifying Andrews as the victim.
     Andrews filed her first civil lawsuit in Davidson County, Tenn. court. She filed a second complaint in Cook County, Ill. against several hotel chains, including Marriott International and Radisson Hotels International.
     Her complaint named as defendants Marriot International, West End Hotel Partners dba Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University and Barrett.
     She came to an undisclosed settlement with the hotels after a Tennessee jury awarded Andrews $55 million in damages, and pinned 49 percent of the blame for Barrett’s conduct on the hotels.
     However, the Illinois First District Appellate Court on Tuesday rejected Andrews’ claims against Preferred Hotel Group, the servicer of The Blackwell Inn’s online reservation system.
     “Preferred never has had access to Blackwell’s guest list or any guest’s room number. Preferred has no access to any information regarding guests who booked their rooms directly through the hotel, or through any other means,” Judge Daniel Pierce said, writing for a three-judge panel. “Because Preferred does not have access to guest identity or guest room numbers, if someone called their office requesting this information, Preferred could not give the caller any such information.”
     Further, Andrews’ reservation was not made through Preferred’s system, and it is not responsible simply for responding to Barrett’s electronic reservation request, according to the 19-page ruling.
     Andrews “fails to identify anything in the record to support [her] assertion that Preferred assumed any duty to protect the privacy of Blackwell’s guests under its marketing and reservation agreement with Blackwell,” Pierce wrote.

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