Holiday Inn guest claims N.C. cops busted into wrong room

Andrea Dearden Dec. 2, 2010, 1:15am


An Illinois man is suing a hotel chain after an employee erroneously led law enforcement officers to his room where they broke down the door in search of a suspect.

Dan Little filed the lawsuit against Intercontinental Hotels group, doing business as Holiday Inn Express, on Nov. 23 in Madison County Circuit Court.

The alleged incident happened in September while Little was staying at a Holiday Inn Express in Pembroke, N.C. He says law enforcement officers came to the hotel in the middle of the night searching for a female suspect that was in no way related to or affiliated with Little.

The complaint does not indicate where Little resides, other than he is an Illinois resident.

Without checking hotel records, an employee allegedly told the officers the woman they were looking for had rented the room where Little was sleeping. According to the complaint, law enforcement officers went to Little's room, knocked on the door and demanded the suspect come out.

Little says the man at the door was not in uniform and did not say he was a member of law enforcement but did threaten to break down the door if Little would not open it. The hotel guest says he told the man he needed to leave or he would call police.

The man then allegedly broke the chain lock and forced his way into the hotel room. Little says he feared for his life and drew his pistol as protection. Little says the man shouted, "He has a gun," and drew his own weapon.

Little was eventually able to determine the man was a law enforcement officer and the officer was able to determine Little was not the woman for which they were searching.

The following day, Little says the Holiday Inn Express employee admitted he had not looked up the guest names or room numbers and had provided the officers with inaccurate information about where the suspect was staying..

Little says the Holiday Inn Express had a duty to care for its guests but failed to protect him by sending an armed man to the wrong hotel room in the middle of the night.

Little is asking to be awarded compensatory damages between $50,000 and $75,000 along with interest and court costs.

Attorney Thomas G. Maag, of Wood River, is representing Little.

Madison County Circuit Court case no. 10-L-1186

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