Attorneys representing the Stamford, Ct., Marriott Hotel & Spa and other firms being sued by a woman raped in their parking garage in 2006 have withdrawn a defense that the woman was negligent and careless and that she and her children failed to “mitigate their damages,” reports the Stamford Advocate. Donald Derrico, an attorney hired by the hotel’s insurance company to handle the suit, said the defenses were standard, but “no one wants to blame this woman for this.”
Attorneys for the woman said, “blaming the victim is without any justification whatsoever. It never had any place in this litigation and it has re-traumatized the victim.” Defense lawyers had asserted that, the woman “failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her se nses and facilities.” They added that she and her young children, then 3 and 5, failed to “mitigate their damages.” Mark Sherman, another civil attorney not involved in the case, said the defenses were “boilerplate,” but added that there seems to be little room for such defenses when the case involves a victim of a random assault. The woman, then 40, was attacked as she and her children were leaving the hotel, 2006. A 56-year-old man pointed a gun into her back and forced her and her children into their minivan. There, he sexually assaulted the woman, pointed a gun at all three and threatened to sexually assault one of her children.