Holiday Inn near San Antonio provided key to attacker, blamed victim for ‘flirting’
FORT WORTH, Texas – Lawyers representing a woman who was the victim of an attempted sexual assault in a Holiday Inn have secured a $950,000 settlement on her behalf. The victim narrowly escaped sexual assault after the hotel provided a stranger with a key to her room.
According to the lawsuit filed by Blizzard Law PLLC in Tarrant County, a Wisconsin woman traveled to a Holiday Inn hotel in Gonzales for a work trip with colleagues in January 2022. While at a nearby restaurant, she was approached by two men, one of whom offered to walk her back to the hotel after dinner. After rebuffing his advances, she left the man in front of the hotel and went up to her room.
Later that night, she woke to find the same man crouched near her bed with his pants undone, holding a condom. The intruder, identified by police as Fort Worth resident Neftali “Victor” Brenes, fled, and the woman reported the intrusion to hotel staff. According to the lawsuit, a front desk employee admitted giving the attacker a key to her room because the man had claimed to know her, and he “seemed like a nice guy.”
Mr. Brenes was not a guest at the hotel. He has since been arrested and arraigned on a felony charge of attempted sexual assault.
“Not only did the hotel fail to honor its duty to follow basic security measures, but they even tried to blame the victim during the deposition,” said trial lawyer Anna Greenberg. “They claimed she was flirting with him at the restaurant. Even if that were true, flirting is not an invitation for sexual assault. They also asked what clothing she wore to bed that night, as if that somehow would have indicated whether she wanted a stranger to break into her room. She thankfully escaped physical attacks, but this incident was a major attack on her mental wellbeing.”
This is not the first case of its kind for the firm.
In 2021 Blizzard Law secured a $44 million verdict against Hilton Management LLC after jurors in Harris County found that hotel personnel placed a vulnerable guest into the room of a man who claimed “she’s with me,” leading to her sexual assault.
The firm also has a lawsuit pending against the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Austin on behalf of a University of Texas student who was sexually assaulted in her own room after hotel staff failed to cancel her lost room key, which was then picked up and used by the attacker.
About Blizzard Law PLLC
Blizzard Law PLLC is an award-winning national trial firm with more than 40 years’ experience handling complex legal issues involving pharmaceutical and personal injury cases. For more information, visit www.blizzardlaw.com.