Premises Liability Uncovered: Marriott’s Security Failures Lead to Assault

Courtney SweasyMay 1, 2024

When booking a stay at a renowned hotel chain like Marriott, guests expect top-notch security and peace of mind. Unfortunately, for one guest, the reality was a stark contrast, culminating in a traumatic experience that spotlighted the serious implications of premises liability—a legal concept that many might not readily associate with hotel stays. This post delves into the distressing incident at the Charlotte Marriott City Center, unraveling how perceived security guarantees failed and led to a legal battle aimed at justice and reform.


Understanding Premises Liability

Premises liability is a legal theory that holds property owners and residents liable for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. The scope of this liability depends on the legal status of the visitor—be it an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. In the case of hotels like the Marriott, guests are considered invitees who are owed the highest duty of care. This duty includes maintaining safe premises, conducting regular safety inspections, and promptly addressing potential hazards.

In the legal complaint against Marriott, it’s alleged that the hotel failed to uphold this duty, leading to an environment where a guest, referred to as S.H., suffered a brutal attack that was both foreseeable and preventable.

Typical Premises Liability Compensation Amounts

When it comes to premises liability cases, compensation can vary widely based on the specifics of each case, including the severity of the injury, the circumstances of the accident, and the degree of negligence involved. Understanding the potential compensation amounts can help victims gauge the value of their claims and set realistic expectations for their legal pursuits.

Medical Expenses

The cornerstone of most premises liability claims is the coverage of medical expenses. This includes compensation for immediate medical treatments, surgeries, medications, and any ongoing rehabilitation costs. Victims can claim these expenses in full, provided they are directly related to the injuries sustained from the accident on the premises.

Lost Wages and Earning Capacity

If an injury forces a victim to take time off work, they can claim compensation for lost wages. More severe cases, where the injuries impact the victim’s ability to earn a similar income as before the accident, might qualify for compensation due to lost earning capacity. This considers the victim’s future earnings and is often calculated by economic experts.

Pain and Suffering

Compensation for pain and suffering is more subjective but equally critical. This category acknowledges the physical pain and emotional distress suffered by the victim. The amount varies significantly based on the injury’s severity, the recovery time, and the personal impact on the victim’s daily life and mental health.

Punitive Damages

In cases where the negligence is found to be especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. These are not tied to the direct costs incurred by the victim but are intended to punish the negligent party and deter similar future behavior. Punitive damages can substantially increase the total compensation, especially in high-profile cases or those involving large corporations.

Legal and Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Victims can also recover any legal fees and out-of-pocket expenses related to the incident. This can include costs for legal representation, travel to and from medical providers, and any modifications needed at home to accommodate injury-related limitations.

The Incident at Charlotte Marriott City Center

On a seemingly ordinary night marred by a flight cancellation, S.H., a guest with longstanding loyalty to Marriott, expected nothing less than the safety and security typically promised by the brand. However, the hotel’s multiple security failures paved the way for an assailant, who was neither a guest nor held a key card, to trespass onto the premises and ultimately commit a heinous act of sexual assault .

The assailant accessed the hotel through a parking garage, bypassed several floors, and entered S.H.’s room through a door that failed to lock properly due to a malfunctioning self-closing mechanism. This incident highlights a grievous oversight in the hotel’s duty to ensure the functionality of security measures critical to guest safety .

Legal Implications and Marriott’s Response

Following the attack, S.H. took legal action against Marriott International, Charlotte Marriott City Center, and Parking Management, citing negligence under premises liability. The lawsuit points to the lack of sufficient security personnel, inadequate surveillance, and poor access control as pivotal failures that led to this preventable crime.

In response, Marriott faces significant legal repercussions that underscore the paramount importance of robust security protocols in the hospitality industry. This case serves as a critical reminder that hotel operators must be vigilant in enforcing security measures to protect their guests from similar fates.


The distressing experience of S.H. at the Charlotte Marriott City Center is a potent example of the critical nature of premises liability in the hospitality sector. It emphasizes the need for hotels to reassess their security practices and ensure they adhere to the highest standards of guest safety. For guests, it’s a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant and informed about the safety measures in place at accommodations, no matter the brand reputation.

This incident not only shines a light on the often-overlooked aspects of premises liability but also calls for a broader discussion and action towards improved safety protocols in the hotel industry, ensuring that what happened at Marriott does not recur anywhere else.

At Breit Biniazan, we understand the devastating impact that negligence on someone else’s property can have on your life. As premises liability lawyers with extensive experience, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights and safety of individuals like you. If you or someone you know has suffered due to insufficient security measures, hazardous conditions, or any form of negligence under premises liability, you are not alone.

We are here to help you navigate the complexities of your case and ensure that those responsible are held accountable. Breit Biniazan offers comprehensive assessments and strategic advice tailored to the specifics of your situation. Our team is committed to providing you with the understanding and support needed to secure justice and compensation.

If you think you may have a premises liability case or need expert guidance on how to proceed, do not hesitate to contact us. Let’s assess your situation together and discuss the best steps forward. Your safety and justice are our top priorities.


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