Woman is suing hotel over shooting at party

She was shot in the head in 2001 at Columbia Courtyard by Marriott

November 25, 2003|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A woman who was shot in the head after a surprise birthday party at the Columbia Courtyard by Marriott erupted in violence nearly three years ago is suing the hotel, saying the staff did not do enough to keep her out of harm's way.

Lauren Nicole Perkins, who was a 17-year-old high school senior at the time, still suffers from the effects of the Jan. 13, 2001, shooting, which left her with serious vision problems, cognitive impairment and "significant" scarring, according to the lawsuit and her lawyer.

The shooting has had "a tremendous impact on her life," said Perkins' lawyer, Paul D. Bekman. "It's the feeling of the family that the Courtyard bears responsibility for what took place on that unfortunate day."

The lawsuit, filed this month, asks for $5 million damages for a negligence claim and an additional $1 million to cover medical costs and other expenses incurred by her parents.

The hotel is also defending a lawsuit filed in late 2001 by the mother of Andre D. Corinaldi, the 18-year-old Long Reach High School senior who was killed in the same incident. That case is scheduled for trial in February.

Mark T. Mixter, who represents the hotel in the Corinaldi lawsuit, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The lawsuit details a chaotic environment marked by uninvited partiers, loud revelers, complaints from hotel guests and an argument between two men that escalated, culminating in the shooting that seriously hurt Perkins and killed Corinaldi.

Authorities have said that neither Corinaldi nor Perkins was involved in the dispute. A Jessup man charged in the shooting was acquitted of all charges, including murder, after a two-week trial.

Despite concerns raised throughout the night and warnings to guests to quiet down and end their partying, hotel officials did not "close down" the party or call the police, according to the lawsuit.

Given the large number of loud, "disorderly" teen-agers crowded into the two rooms and the "angry yelling and arguing between groups of boys," hotel officials "should have known, in the exercise of reasonable care, that harm to one or more hotel guests was imminent," according to the lawsuit.

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