ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews filed suit in Nashville on Friday against the owners and operators of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University, also naming as a defendant the man now in jail for secretly filming her naked in her room at the hotel and posting the footage online.
The lawsuit, filed in Davidson County Circuit Court and available at this link, appears very similar to a complaint filed Thursday in Chicago's Cook County Circuit Court. In both cases, Andrews accuses hotels where she stayed in 2008 of negligently allowing Michael David Barrett of Westmont, Ill. to book rooms next to hers, rig peepholes so he could see into her rooms, and film videos of her dressing and undressing that he later tried to sell to celebrity website TMZ.com.
Andrews, who was recently a cast member of the television show "Dancing With The Stars" and is the subject of a photo spread in the August 2010 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, says in the lawsuits that Barrett first taped her in February 2008 at a Columbus, Ohio hotel. He did it again in July 2008 at a Milwaukee hotel, and once more on September 2, 2008 at the Vanderbilt Marriott, according to the filings.
Andrews was in Nashville then to take part in ESPN's coverage of Vanderbilt's football home opener against 24th-ranked South Carolina. The Commodores won 24-17 as they proceeded toward their first winning season and bowl game in decades.
Barrett, who had been an insurance company executive, pleaded guilty last year to interstate stalking and is serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison.
When news of Barrett's activities broke last year, many observers were incredulous that the hotels would have told him which rooms she would be staying in, booked him in adjoining rooms and not detected that he had altered the peepholes in the doors so that he could see inside. The lawsuits fault the hostelries for negligence, with the Nashville complaint seeking $2 million from co-owners Marriott International Inc., West End Hotel Partners LLC and Windsor Capital Group LLC.
The hotel owners declined comment on the litigation last week. Nashville attorney Mary A. Parker, of the Parker & Crofford firm, is local counsel on the new complaint, along with lawyers from a Santa Monica, Calif. firm.