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Family awarded $12 million in wrongful death lawsuit

Last year a Florida mother was informed of the horrific news that her daughter had been brutally murdered. Once the circumstances became clear to investigators and family members, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hotel property where the murder occurred. The jury that heard the case agreed with the family that the hotel could have done more to prevent the woman's death and awarded the family $12 million.

The 30-year-old woman was staying in the hotel rented under her friend's name. Her friend had recently left the premises when the victim was accidentally locked out of her room. At the time she was only wearing jeans and her bra. She approached hotel staff requesting to be allowed back into her room. The staff refused to open her room.

An undocumented immigrant approached the same hotel staff moments later and purchased alcohol. Despite not being a paying guest and requesting staff for a prostitute, he was not asked to leave the premises. He was further recorded asking the staff about the woman who had been locked out of her room. He was later caught on video having given the woman his own shirt prior to brutally beating her. It is believed that he was angered by her rejection of advances made toward her.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the wrongful death lawsuit believe the video surveillance was essential to the jury's decision. The jury agreed that hotel staff had more than one opportunity to intervene and protect the woman from her murder. The family is hopeful the decision will additionally prevent negligent actions by other Florida hotel operators and prevent future tragedies like their daughter's death.

Source: NBC Miami, "Hialeah Motel Must Pay Family of Woman Killed $12M in Negligence Lawsuit", Andrew V. Pestano and Michael Spears, Dec. 5, 2017

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