|By Karen Robinson-Jacobs, The Dallas
Morning NewsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 31, 2011--A Dallas-area woman who was secretly videotaped while partially nude at a spa at the Hilton Anatole near downtown Dallas has filed suit against the hotel and its management.
The woman, who was listed in the civil suit as Dr. Jane Roe to protect her identity, said she went to the luxury hotel's V Spa last August with a friend to celebrate the friend's birthday.
While she was getting dressed, the woman discovered a cellphone hidden in a robe that was on the floor in the dressing area. The camera appeared to be on, according to the complaint, which was filed last week.
In replaying the video, she saw images of herself, partially clothed, and images of Malek Atia, who she had seen earlier working at the front desk of the spa.
In July, Atia, a 24-year-old Egyptian national, was given two years of deferred probation on a state felony charge of taking an improper photo or visual record. If Atia, who is no longer employed at the spa, successfully completes probation, there will be no felony conviction on his record.
The civil suit alleges hotel owners Anatole Partners III and managers with Hilton Management LLC were negligent for failing "to supervise [Atia] while he oversaw female guests."
After the spa incident, hotel staffers on duty delayed in calling the police, the suit said. Also in that time, Atia got access to the contact information for Roe's friend, the suit said. Atia's sister contacted Roe's friend to try to get Roe's contact information, the suit said.
"Apparently [Atia's family feared] his conviction would cause him to be deported," the suit said.
Atia and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
Bob McPherrin, director of sales and marketing at the hotel, said, given the pending litigation, he was limited in what he could say. But he added that "the safety, security and privacy of our guests is of paramount importance."
"The Hilton Anatole sincerely regrets this incident, which was attributed to a former V Spa employee," the hotel said in an emailed statement. "The Hilton Anatole has been fully cooperating with authorities regarding this matter."
Attorney Ladd Hirsch, who represents the woman, said he filed suit in Dallas County District Court after failing to come to an agreement with the hotel. He said insurance carrier Liberty Mutual denied that there was negligence on the part of Anatole Partners, a company related to Trammell Crow Interests Co.
"I've been very disappointed ... that the since the day [the woman] left the Anatole, no one from the hotel ever contacted her to express any concern for her well-being or remorse for what had taken place," Hirsch said. "We ... never got any kind of a response from the Hilton indicating that they would take responsibility for what had transpired."
The suit seeks damages but does not list a dollar amount.
(c)2011 The Dallas Morning News
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