A pregnant hotel clerk who was punched in the stomach by a non-paying customer is suing Howard Johnson Express of Collinsville for suffering a miscarriage.

Amber Wilson and Geoff Minter filed a $300,000 suit April 1 in Madison County Circuit Court seeking damages for their unborn child's lost wages, emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, negligence and medical care and treatment.

According to the suit, Wilson was ordered to collect the personal belongings from the room of Reena Corpos, a hotel guest who did not pay her bill, on June 1, 2003. While doing so, Corpos--who had been previously arrested in Madison County for prostitution, harassment, resisting arrest and driving with no insurance--punched Wilson.

Corpos was not named in the lawsuit but was charged on June 25, 2003, with involuntary manslaughter.

Wilson claims she did not receive proper training from the hotel. She also claims her supervisor never told her that Corpos still had keys to her room.

"She (was) never told her how to confront a patron if encountered while taking their personal possessions for non-payment of their hotel bill and never provided security or other assistance while collecting Corpos’s belongings," the suit states.

According to the complaint, Howard Johnson breached its duty of reasonable care by:

  • Carelessly telling Wilson to take possession of Corpos’ property, a potentially dangerous situation, without informing Wilson Corpos still had her keys;

  • Failing to tell Wilson how to confront patrons if she encountered them while taking their belongings for non-payment;

  • Not providing security or other assistance while Wilson was performing the act of taking Corpus property;

  • Failing to provide training to Wilson prior to assigning her to take Reena Corpos personal belongings.

    Wilson and Minter are represented by Michael Brunton of Collinsville. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

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