Judge Says Peeping Tom Case Needs Bolstering With Eye Toward Negligence Claims

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A former couple suing Loews Hollywood Hotel LLC, alleging their intimate experience on the 15th floor of the establishment in 2018 was watched by a peeping window washer with a smile on his face, will have to shore up some of the claims in their lawsuit and use their full names in future pleadings, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randolph Hammock also dismissed the parties' allegation that their civil rights were violated.

The plaintiffs are currently identified only as Paul B. and Gina R. in the lawsuit, which also names DMS Facility Services, the Pasadena company that employed the window washer, as a defendant. In ordering that the plaintiffs use their full names from now on, the judge said he typically shielded the names of parties only in specific instances, such as when they have certain diseases.

Hammock ruled there were insufficient facts to support the former couple's claims for intrusion of privacy and negligent hiring, retention and supervision, noting that Loew's and DMS had an independent contractor agreement for the use of window washing services.

The judge also said there not enough details to back the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress because the plaintiffs do not allege any "extreme and outrageous conduct" by the window washer.

Hammock said he believes the case's negligent claims are stronger than the intentional conduct allegations. He gave the former couple's lawyers 30 days to file an amended complaint and scheduled trial for April 26, 2021.

In their court papers, DMS lawyers stated that the plaintiffs "threw caution to the wind and left their blinds open, exposing themselves to the world."

The unmarried plaintiffs, who had been together as a couple for eight years, booked a room at the hotel on April 25, 2018, according to their suit filed July 25.

"Because of the four-star rating of Loews, its stellar reputation for privacy and several-hundred-dollar per night rate, plaintiffs expected to enjoy a sojourn of romance and deep connection in their private room, free from intrusion, safe and secure from the outside world," the suit states.

They began their intimacy with the drapes open "to enjoy the daylight" and "had no reason to expect anyone would intrude upon this intensely private interlude," the complaint says.

But after several minutes, Paul B. said he noticed a window washer out of the corner of his eye, positioned outside of their 15th floor window, intensely staring at the couple with "obvious, prurient pleasure," the suit states.

The window washing platform was not moving at all, nor were its support cables, suggesting that it had been in place for a lengthy period of time, according to the suit.

The grinning window washer began to raise the platform when he realized he was discovered, according to the plaintiffs, who allege he never appeared to be washing the window but instead was focusing on them.

Both plaintiffs have experienced anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder since then and no longer feel comfortable being intimate, even with the blinds closed, according to their court papers.

"Their romantic relationship has essentially been extinguished and they have since ended their relationship entirely," the suit says.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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