MARTINSBURG - A Martinsburg man and his daughter are suing a hotel gym after he claims his 7-year-old daughter was attacked by a mentally retarded man who has a hair fetish in the hotel pool and is seeking nearly $4 million.
Daniel Jenkins claims in a lawsuit filed March 16 in Berkeley Circuit Court that Murray Lindenbaum violently grabbed his daugher Nicole by the head and shook her, as well as holding her head under water.
Jenkins is suing Winchester Hospitality, doing business as Holiday Inn Martinsburg, Martinsburg Health and Fitness, Stonebrook, Inc., Susan Lopez and Lindenbaum.
He claims that on March 29, 2005, he and his three children went swimming in the hotel's indoor pool at the same time a group of developmentally disabled and/or mentally retarded residents of Stonebrook, an in-residence care provider.
"As Monica swam in the pool, defendant Lindenbaum, without provacation, viciously attacked Monica," the complaint says. "Mr. Lindenbaum reached into the water with both hands and grabbed Monica by the hair on both sides of her head.
"Mr. Lindenbaum then lifted Monica out of the water and began to shake her violently from side to side. Mr. Lindenbaum then forced Monica's head under water and held her under water before lifting her again by the hair and again shaking her violently from side to side."
Jenkins says he jumped into the pool and forced Lindenbaum to release his daughter. He adds that Lopez, an employee responsible for the supervision of Stonebrook's clients, was reading a book in the hot tub at the time of the attack.
He also claims that prior to the incident Lindenbaum was seen acting strangely at the pool. He says that Lindebaum was observed rubbing his nipples and chest hair, licking the water from the hot tub like a dog and interacting in inappropriate ways with others at the pool.
Jenkins says the Holiday Inn did not have a lifeguard or security guard monitoring activities.
"Following the attack, Ms. Lopez stated to Mr. Jenkins that Mr. Lindenbaum 'has a hair fetish' and that Monica 'must have provoked' Mr. Lindenbaum," the complaint says
As a result, Jenkins says, his daughter has suffered loss of hair and bleeding from her scalp.
"The Holiday Inn, MHF, Stonebrook and Ms. Lopez each knew the risk of serious harm created by allowing Stonebrook residents, and in particular Mr. Lindenbaum, to enter the pool with young children present…"
Jenkins is represented by Ray M. Shepard of Baltimore and is seeking $650,000 in compensatory damags and another $3, 250,000 in punitive damages.
Judge David Sanders has been assigned the case.
Berkeley Circuit Court case number 06-C-174