In The Courts

Galveston hotel rape lawsuit puts high-profile companies on the defensive

Galveston hotel rape lawsuit puts high-profile companies on defensive

Hilton Galveston Island Resort swimming pool Landry's property
Hilton Galveston Island Resort Hilton Galveston Island Resort/GooglePlus

An alleged rape at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort has Fertitta Hospitality Inc. and its business partner Hilton Worldwide staring down a high-profile lawsuit.

Legal documents filed in Galveston County detail a horrific scene from August 2012, when plaintiff Diana Buckner claims an unnamed hotel security guard witnessed her having an altercation with another individual. The guard, using his authority as a hotel employee, provided her with a room "so that she would be safe."

Buckner says the supposed good Samaritan guard returned to the room only to physically restrain her and rape her multiple times.

The plaintiff claims she was forcibly restrained and raped her multiple times by a ho tel guard.

In addition to her emotional trauma, the suit notes that the plaintiff suffered severe injuries to her head, spine and tailbone. She seeks a jury trial and damages between $100,000 and $200,000 from the hotel owners.

The legal team of Landry's Inc. (which like Fertitta Hospitality Inc. is helmed by billionaire Tilman Fertitta) has already responded, calling the lawsuit "frivolous" and noting that the original altercation witnessed by the security guard involved Buckner and her fiancee.

"It speaks volumes that no criminal charges were ever brought against the hotel’s former security guard, who is also noticeably absent from the lawsuit," Lauren Ware, head of Landry's litigation, said in a statement.

"The incident originated from a domestic violence dispute between the plaintiff and her fiancee. The hotel took appropriate action and did nothing wrong. We are confident that we will prevail on the merits of the case."

The Galveston County district court requires both Fertitta Inc. and Hilton to file a formal written response by July 1.

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