DALLAS (CN) – A doctor sued a Hilton Hotel, claiming that in a show of “remarkable corporate arrogance,” after an employee secretly videotaped her undressing, other staff members interrogated her for more than an hour, then showed the video repeatedly to a roomful of men “while the plaintiff wept.”
Dr. Jane Roe says the Hilton Anatole, which “promoted itself as a ‘hotel that transcends expectations’ … unleashed a sexual predator on its guests in August 2010 at the Hilton Spa.”
Roe sued Anatole Partners III and Hilton Management for negligence and deceptive trade, in Dallas County Court.
According to complaint: “The Hilton Anatole hired a 20 year old non-U.S. citizen, Malek Atia, installed him at the Hilton Spa and then failed to train and supervise him while he oversaw female guests. As a direct result of the Hilton defendants’ failure to properly hire, train and supervise Mr. Atia, he engaged in criminal conduct on duty at the hotel, and he has now pled guilty to committing a felony offense at the hotel for secretly videotaping Dr. Roe on his cell phone at the hotel when she visited the Hilton Spa on Aug. 13, 2010. Mr. Atia is now subject to being deported to Egypt.”
Roe says she accompanied her friend, Dr. Jones, to the Hilton Spa, to celebrate Jones’ birthday. She says that “when Dr. Roe and Dr. Jones arrived at the Hilton V-Spa’s front desk, they were greeted by Mr. Atia, who appeared to be acting as the front desk manager. Dr. Roe thought it odd that a man was working at the front desk of a spa that caters primarily to women, but she trusted the prestige and reliability of the Hilton Anatole and she followed him to the women’s dressing area.”
Roe says she followed Atia’s instructions to undress completely, after which she received a facial treatment, and returned to the dressing room that Atia had assigned her.
“As Dr. Roe removed her robe and began changing back into her clothes, she noticed what appeared to be a discarded robe lying crumpled in the corner,” the complaint states. “After looking more closely, Dr. Roe discovered a cell phone hidden in the folds of the robe. At first, Dr. Roe thought that another Hilton guest might have forgotten her phone. The more she looked at the phone, however, the more that Dr. Roe thought it was strange, because she had not noticed any other guests that day, and she saw a faint glow from the phone indicating that it was in use.
“Dr. Roe discovered that the cell phone was partly covered by a tissue, which concealed a tiny hole cut out for the lens. Waves of shock, disgust and nausea crashed down on Dr. Roe, because she could see that the phone had been recording her while she was changing. She replayed the video and saw that the phone had, in fact, captured her bending over to get changed and putting on her bra while she was partially nude. Dr. Roe saw Atia’s face at the start of the video, which showed him placing the phone in position to secretly videotape her while she changed her clothes.”
Roe says she stayed in the dressing room, “immobilized with fear and revulsion,” until her friend came looking for her. After Jones paid for the spa services, the women reported the incident to Hilton management and security.
But Roe says, “the Hilton Anatole management was slow to act, and the hotel’s failure to act with reasonable diligence exposed Dr. Roe to more emotional trauma and distress. First, a Hilton Anatole manager (first name ‘Rick’) questioned Dr. Roe for more than an hour. He conducted this lengthy questioning session while other Hilton Anatole employees – nearly all of whom were men – were also present at different times. Rick also showed the video of Dr. Roe undressing to a number of Hilton Anatole employees. His repetitive replaying of the video – in front of strangers, forced Dr. Roe to relive the trauma of being secretly videotaped while nude – and it was highly embarrassing, adding to the trauma that Dr. Roe was required to endure because the Hilton had failed to hire, train and supervise its employee.”
Roe says Hilton management delayed calling the police and played the video once again for the hotel security chief.
“At this point, Dr. Roe began to cry in the office, surrounded by male Hilton employees, feeling embarrassed, victimized, and alone,” the complaint states.
When police finally arrived and watched the video, again in the presence of Hilton employees, Roe says the hotel forced her to walk past Atia on her way out.
“Finally, the Hilton Anatole management employees advise Dr. Roe that she must walk past Mr. Atia on her way out unless she wants to wait for another hour. Unable to stand the continued embarrassment of being surrounded by male Hilton Anatole management employees who repeatedly watched the video of her partially nude, Dr. Roe states that she wants to leave and they require her to walk past Mr. Atia, the perpetrator,” the complaint states.
To add insult to injury, Roe says, “after the Hilton Anatole was presented with proof that Mr. Atia had violated the privacy of Dr. Roe, a Hilton Spa guest, and secretly videotaped her in the nude, Hilton Anatole’s management left Mr. Atia alone long enough to confiscate the personal information of at least one spa guest, Dr. Jones.”
Roe claims Atia’s sister contacted her friend, Dr. Jones, to get Roe’s name and number.
“Apparently, Mr. Atia’s relatives wanted to contact Dr. Roe and attempt to persuade her not to press any criminal charges against him, because his conviction would cause him to be deported,” the complaint states.
Roe says she feared for her family’s safety, especially after she found out that Atia had bonded out of jail.
She says Hilton management never followed up with her, acted “as if the incident had never happened” and did not even refund her friend’s money for spa services.
She seeks punitive damages for negligence and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
She is represented by Leonard Hirsch with Diamond McCarthy.