An attempt by sportscaster Erin Andrews
to sue a Chicago-based company that managed an online reservation system for a
Columbus, Ohio, hotel in which a stalker illegally recorded her from a
neighboring room, appears to have ended.
On Jan. 25, the Illinois Supreme Court
formally denied Andrews’ request to appeal a state appeals panel’s order
upholding the dismissal of her lawsuit against Preferred Hotel Group.
The denial of Andrews’ appeal was
posted without comment, except to note Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert
Thomas did not take part in the denial.
In August, a three-justice panel of
the Illinois First District Appellate Court had sided with Preferred in an
unpublished order issued under Supreme Court Rule 23. The rule restricts the
order’s use as precedent, except under limited circumstances permitted by the
Andrews had sued Preferred over a
February 2008 stay at the Blackwell Inn in Columbus, Ohio, during which another
guest, Michael David Barrett, was able to video record Andrews, a television
personality who worked for sports television network ESPN, inside her room.
The Preferred Group managed the online reservation
system for the hotel, which is owned and operated by Ohio State University.
Andrews alleged negligence and invasion of privacy relative to Barrett learning
details of Andrews’ stay. According to the appellate decision, Barrett called
the hotel and asked to be assigned a room next to Andrews. With that request
granted, he “retrofitted the peephole on Andrew's hotel room door (and) was
able to record video of her activities in the room, including changing and
dressing,” which he later posted online.
Andrews argued Preferred should be considered a
joint operator of the hotel or that the management group voluntarily assumed a
duty of protecting privacy. Preferred’s motion to dismiss disputed both claims.
After two years of discovery, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Kathy Flanagan
granted the motion to dismiss.
Appellate justices similarly sided
with Preferred, saying the evidence did not indicate Andrews booked her stay at
the Blackwell through Preferred, nor did Preferred have “access to Blackwell’s
guest list or the assignment of hotel room numbers.”
Andrews, however, found much more
success in suing Barrett and the owners of a Nashville, Tenn., Marriott hotel
where she alleges Barrett also filmed her in her room. In March 2016, a
Tennessee jury awarded her $55 million.
According to a report published by
Sports Illustrated, Andrews has indicated she will use her experience and her
public stature to advocate and lobby for stronger legal protections for victims
According to Cook County court records, Andrews was represented by attorneys with the firm of Power Rogers & Smith, of Chicago; Preferred Hotel Group was defended by the firm of Pretzel & Stouffer, of Chicago.