On September 9, 2017, 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was attending a party at the Crowne Plaza Chicago-O'Hare Hotel. She arrived at approximately 1:13 AM and joined several friends in Room 926.
Capital Security (also named in the lawsuit) received multiple complaints regarding noise and a high number of occupants in the room. Complaints also indicate that the occupants had disabled a smoke detector and intoxicants could be smelled from outside the room. However, neither hotel staff nor Capital Security staff appear to have intervened.
Jenkins' mother, Teresa Martin, had attempted to contact Jenkins on her cell phone while she was at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and after several hours Martin began to suspect something was wrong. She contacted the hotel at approximately 2:30 AM to report that Jenkins had disappeared, but she was assured by hotel staff that they would check security camera footage in order to locate her.
At 12:36 PM the following afternoon, Martin reported her daughter missing to the Rosemont Public Safety Police. Later that night, at approximately 10:30 PM, a hotel employee walked into the freezer where Jenkins had accidentally confined herself overnight, but the employee did not see her. Nearly two hours later, Jenkins was discovered in the freezer, by which point she was unresponsive.
Surveillance video footage has since surfaced showing Jenkins wandering into the kitchen through an employee door in a downstairs hallway of the hotel at 3:32 AM, indicating that video cameras and footage were not checked as they ought to have been during the investigation into Jenkins' whereabouts.
Martin has filed a lawsuit against CPO Hospitality LLC and F&F Realty Ltd. (the owners and operators of the Chicago hotel), alleging that staff members and administrators could have prevented her daughter's death had they acted with reasonable care and responded appropriately to reports that Jenkins had gone missing by reviewing video footage in a timely manner.
Martin's lawsuit also names MBC Rosemont LLC, which is the restaurant responsible for managing the kitchen inside the hotel which contained the freezer where Jenkins accidentally confined herself, claiming that they (and other defendants) failed to maintain clear signage, safe locking and entry systems, and the area near the freezer, which should have been inaccessible to passersby.
The personal injury attorneys at Beam Legal Team, LLC and Fieger Law are representing Ms. Martin as she seeks to recover $50 million for the loss of her daughter (as well as her daughter's pain and suffering) due to the alleged gross negligence of the defendants involved. Attorneys Jack Beam, Matthew Patterson, and Ryan P. Timoney are her primary representatives. Michigan-based personal injury firm Fieger Law has partnered with Beam Legal Team to represent Ms. Martin.
The case is Teresa Martin v. CPO Hospitality LLC et al., filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, case number 2018L013273.
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