Television personality Erin Andrews has filed a civil suit against her serial stalker as well as a Nashville hotel, the hotel’s owner, and a management company. The Fox Sports reporter and host of Dancing with the Stars is suing for, inter alia, negligence and invasion of privacy. Seeking $75 million in damages, Andrews argues that the defendants enabled her stalker to reserve hotel rooms immediately adjacent to hers and thereby photograph her privately undressing through peepholes without her knowledge or consent. Andrews’ attorney states that his client has and continues to suffer from “severe and permanent emotional distress, embarrassment, past and future medical expenses, and has incurred expenses and damages relating to the unauthorized use of her image and likeness.”
This is not the first time Andrews has taken her repeat stalker, Michael David Barrett, to court. In 2009, Barrett was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to interstate stalking and covertly taping, and subsequently attempting to sell, nude videos of Andrews while she stayed in various hotels throughout the US.
In the present suit, Andrews argues that the Nashville hotel acquiesced Barrett’s demand to reserve a vacant room directly next to hers. She further argues that Barrett removed and modified the peephole of her hotel room’s door in order to record footage of her in various stages of undress and then leaked the images online. The attorneys for the hotel and management company argue that the entirety of the blame should fall squarely and solely on Barrett. The hotel argues that it refused to honor Barrett’s request to be placed adjacent to Andrews and that Barrett only learned of the specific room Andrews was staying from a hotel hospitality line. According to USA Today, the trial is expected to last approximately two weeks and a jury must decide if Andrews suffered any type of harm, and if so, who is responsible and how much Andrews is owed.
Loren Shokes is an Entertainment and Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current second year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2017).