A judge has ruled that Gabriel Bonilla’s claims that a Motel 6 he was staying at is liable for the injuries he received from the pimp of a prostitute he slept with, as the facility did not provide proper security.
According to testimony, Bonilla, a Honduran immigrant, was staying in Room 225 at a Motel 6 in Washington, Pennsylvania on June 13, 2008 when Richard Pruden, who had rented Room 227, approached him around 9 p.m. asking if he wanted to have sex with one of the prostitutes he and Trey Willis were “partying” with.
Bonilla was told by Pruden that he could have sex with one of them on camera for $30. He agreed, and after his session with the prostitute, he returned to his room and fell asleep. When he awoke around 1:30 a.m., he says he stepped out of his room to have a cigarette.
While outside, Bonilla said he was confronted by Pruden, who called him a “faggot” and punched him the face, breaking his nose. Willis came into the altercation and slashed Bonilla from ear to throat with a 3 ½ inch knife blade.
Willis claims the fight occurred because Bonilla performed a sex act on the prostitute which he was told not to.
In June 2009, Bonilla filed suit saying Motel 6 failed to take reasonable steps to protect its guests from criminal acts committed by third parties.
Monday, Judge David Stewart Cercone ruled that Bonilla could take the case to trial, as he did not assume the risk of being attacked when he paid for sex with a prostitute at the motel.
Judge Cercone stated Pennsylvania law requires “subjective awareness” of risk and that “this was not a case where the evidence demonstrates or even suggests that the plaintiff subjectively perceived a danger or risk associated with paying for sex.”
In his deposition, Bonilla said prostitution is “legal and relatively widespread” and that “there are zones where they sell women freely and you can get a license for that,” in his native Honduras.
Motel 6 maintains that “procuring sex through pimps is an illegal and obviously dangerous activity and that innkeepers cannot be held liable when a guest patronizes a prostitute and is injured as a result.”
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