Federal Judge Dismisses Naked Pilot’s Suit Against Airport Hotel

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

(CN) — A federal judge in Colorado dismissed a lawsuit filed by a commercial airline pilot who was arrested in 2018 after passengers in the Denver International Airport reported seeing him naked through his hotel room window.

United Airlines Captain Andrew Collins sued the operator of the Westin at the Denver International Airport in April 2020, alleging the hotel should have warned him the windows were see-through and trained its employees to protect guests’ Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search, seizure and arrest.

“It is well-established that the Fourth Amendment protects hotel guests from unreasonable searches and seizures. However, plaintiff [Collins] provides no legal support for his contention that a hotel has a duty to protect its guests’ Fourth Amendment rights, or that defendant’s lack of training to protect hotel guests’ Fourth Amendment rights is a ‘danger,’” U.S. District Judge William Martinez wrote in his 14-page order.

The Obama appointee found that Collins failed to show how a lack of training created a danger, and how the hotel was to know that it might arise.

Additionally, Martinez sided with the hotel in finding that Collins failed to show that Westin “was aware, or should have been aware, that aspects of its windows could potentially lead an unsuspecting guest to erroneously conclude that the windows were opaque and expose himself.”

According to his complaint, Collins assumed the windows were tinted when he was getting dressed in room 1017. Then police barged in and arrested him. The police body cam video shows he was wearing only a towel.

The police didn’t have a search warrant and didn’t give hotel staff a good reason to let them through, according to Collins’ complaint, and “when faced with two police officers demanding access to rooms on the hotel’s 10th floor to address the simple matter of a naked man in a hotel room, the hotel’s employees complied without question.”

The Westin Denver International Airport opened in 2015, and though it advertises the beautiful mountain views from its rooms, the brochure doesn’t disclose that the windows aren’t tinted and that in the right light, travelers in the airport can catch a glimpse into guest rooms.

At the time of his arrest, Collins was a candidate to become the president of the Airline Pilots Association, but the complaint alleges the arrest ruined this career advancement opportunity.

After the charges were dropped, Denver paid a $300,000 settlement to Collins in 2019.

Collins is represented by Keith Scranton of the Denver firm Springer and Steinberg. Neither the law firm nor the Westin responded immediately to requests for comment.

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