Marriott Hotel attorneys seek venue transfer in assault lawsuit

By Jon Campisi | Nov 4, 2011

Attorneys for Philadelphia’s Marriott Hotel, which was named as a defendant in an Oct. 4 lawsuit filed at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court by an Alabama couple, have filed a Notice of Removal with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, requesting that venue be transferred to federal court.

Wayne, Pa. attorney Veronica W. Saltz, of the firm Saltz Polisher, P.C., filed the motion Nov. 1 at the U.S. District courthouse on behalf of the Marriott Hotel, Marriott International Inc. and Marriott Hotel Services, Inc.

Saltz argued in her motion that the case be transferred to federal court because the parties are from different states and because the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional limits at state court.

The civil claim, which was attached as an exhibit to the removal notice, was filed by Philadelphia attorney Troy H. Wilson on behalf of the Rev. Walter Sellers and his wife, Anne Sellers, of Montgomery, AL.

The complaint alleges that Anne Sellers was robbed, assaulted, battered and stabbed in the throat by a man who the couple claims in their civil action should have been known to the defendant, since he had apparently engaged in other robberies the days leading up to Sellers’ stay at the hotel.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of failing to “protect, warn or secure Ann Sellers from harm and/or physical injury.”

The suit claims that at about 4 p.m. on Aug. 30, 2009, Sellers was “slammed up against a mirror and stabbed in the throat.”

It does not specify where in the hotel the attack took place.

As a result of her attack, Sellers sustained injuries to her throat, shoulder, head, ears and jaw, the suit states. She also suffered aches, pains, mental anxiety, shock and sleeplessness due to the event.

The lawsuit stated that Ann Sellers had to receive “extensive medical treatment and care” to repair her injuries, which came at her great financial detriment.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligent security practices and general negligence. The complaint also contains counts of assault and battery, negligent infliction of severe emotional distress and civil conspiracy.

There is also a loss of consortium claim in which Sellers’ husband claims he has been deprived of his wife’s companionship due to the incident.

The couple is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, and have requested a jury trial.

The Philadelphia Common Pleas Court case number is 110804049.

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