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S.W. v. Lorain-Elyria Motel, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division

March 16, 2020, Decided; March 16, 2020, Filed

Case No. 2:19-CV-1194

Opinion

OPINION & ORDER

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Best Western International, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 29) and Defendant Lorain-Elyria Motel, Inc.'s Motions to Dismiss or, alternatively, Motion to Transfer (ECF No. 40). For the following reasons, Defendants' Motions are hereby DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Jane Doe S.W. ("Doe"), alleges [*2]  she was trafficked for sex beginning in 2017 at the Best Western and Motel 9 properties in Elyria, Ohio and the Economy Inn property in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. (ECF No. 1 at ¶ 4). Plaintiff now seeks to hold these hotels liable under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act ("TVPRA"), 18 U.S.C. § 1595(a). Plaintiff also brings state law claims for negligence, premises liability, and unjust enrichment.

Plaintiff alleges that these hotel Defendants knew that sex trafficking occurred frequently on their properties and failed to prevent it, and also that they knew or should have known of Doe's trafficking. Plaintiff points to behavior that she alleges hotel staff should have recognized as signs of her trafficking: physical signs of human trafficking including "bruises and physical deterioration," indicators of commercial sex activity such as "bottles of lubricants, boxes of condoms, excessive requests for towels and linens, cash payments," and the presence of three to five Johns entering and leaving the hotel guest room per day. (ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 55, 56). Doe alleges that these hotels and their parent companies did not take adequate measures to prevent human trafficking and "demonstrated willful [*3]  blindness to the rampant culture of sex trafficking." (Id. at ¶ 79).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44961 *

JANE DOE S.W., Plaintiff, v. LORAIN-ELYRIA MOTEL, INC., et al., Defendants.

CORE TERMS

trafficking, sex, alleges, hotel, venue, personal jurisdiction, venture, motion to dismiss, signs, resides, properties, contacts, unjust enrichment, argues, guest, train, actual knowledge, civil liability, participated, profits, judicial district, knowingly, witnesses, parties, failure to state a claim, motion to transfer, premises liability, substantial part, joint employer, rent a room