A New Jersey woman claims a group of prostitutes, who thought she was trying to infringe on their business, beat her up inside a posh Miami Beach hotel, according to a civil lawsuit filed last week.
According to the lawsuit, 34-year-old Anna Burgese was staying at the W South Beach Hotel with her husband, Joseph, when she was attacked in the lobby on Jan. 19.
The federal suit, filed May 28 in New Jersey against Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which owns the W, claims Burgese was walking through the lobby when she became the victim of a "completely unprovoked, sudden and brutal attack by an unknown number of defendants," believed to be a group of as many as 10 prostitutes.
"We truly regret that this incident occurred and that one of our guests was injured," Starwood said in a statement Tuesday. "The safety and security of our guests is our paramount priority, and we are taking this situation very seriously. Some of the information being reported, especially the claims that there were multiple persons attacking our guest, is incorrect. Due to pending litigation, we are unable to comment further at this time."
Burgese was grabbed from behind and thrown into a stone wall head-first then tackled to the ground and struck, the lawsuit claims.
She was taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai Medical Center for treatment for her injuries, the suit claims. According to a Miami Beach Police report of the incident, Burgese suffered swelling and bruising to her knee and elbow as well as a bloody lip.
"No punches were thrown, only a tackle style take down which caused her injuries," the police report said.
The lawsuit claims negligence on the part of the hotel and claims hotel employees knew prostitutes were on the premises and even helped them flee the scene.
"The hotel fosters a prostitute-friendly environment where prostitutes are permitted to market themselves on the premises, as evidenced by, among other things, the review left on various travel websites by former guests," the lawsuit said.
A telephone message left for a W South Beach Hotel spokesman was not immediately returned. Calls for further comment to Burgese's attorney also weren't returned.
According to the lawsuit, prostitutes have become violent with guests at the W in the past. It's believed the attack was committed by the prostitutes who "may have been under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and confused Plaintiff Anna Burgese as competition," the lawsuit said.
The suit claims the hotel employees failed to take reasonable steps to remove the prostitutes and even helped at least one of them into a taxi to get them away from the hotel.
The lawsuit claims Burgese suffered physical and mental anguish and is seeking damages in excess of $150,000.
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