Woman Claims Misunderstanding Over Hotel Reservation Led to Unwarranted Arrest

(CN) – A Tennessee woman who visited Virginia on a business trip claims in court that her hotel stay unnecessarily ended in handcuffs and a brief stint in jail after a misunderstanding with managers about her reservation.

In the nine-page complaint filed in the Fairfax County on July 28, Chelsea Claire Jacobs says she checked into the Westin Washington Dulles Airport in Herndon, Virginia in November 2015, and after prepaying for her night in advance and leaving a credit card on file, she checked into her room without incident.

Later that night, Jacobs says she became “severely ill with a stomach virus” and while she was scheduled to return home in 24 hours, the virus made it impossible for her travel.

Jacobs says she called down to the front desk the next morning and extended her reservation with managers on the morning shift who had her credit card on file.

But a few hours later, after what the plaintiff said was an uneventful interruption by hotel employees who attempted to enter her room for maintenance, the Tennessee businesswoman found herself in the midst of being arrested.

Co-defendant and then manager-on-duty Rawan Al-Sabyani called the police after the maintenance workers left, Jacobs claims.

According to the complaint, Al-Sabyani accused her of trespassing and despite Jacobs’ many pleas to review the transaction history on the credit card she left on file proving her reservation,

Fairfax County police officers promptly arrested her. They too ignored her requests for a review of her reservation, the complaint says.

Jacobs spent two days in the Fairfax County Jail, where she says she was “terrified and humiliated.”

“Ms. Jacobs has never been arrested before, does not have any criminal history and at all times has been an exemplary, law-abiding citizen,” the complaint states.

Based on the accusations from Al-Sabyani, Jacobs was charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

The complaint says because the allegations, arrest and prosecution were baseless, the assistant commonwealth’s attorney prosecuting Jacobs’s case entered an order to abandon the case in January 2016. An expungement of her arrest was ordered in April.

Jacobs seeks compensatory and punitive damages on claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution.

A representative of the hotel chain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jacobs is represented by Nicholas Hantzes of Hantzes and Associates in McLean, Virginia and attorney Jerry Phillips of Phillips, Beckwith, Hall and Chase in Fairfax.

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