Two former guests today sued the owners of
the downtown Los Angeles hotel where the body of
a 21-year-old Canadian tourist was found in a water tank, saying the
establishment breached its contract with guests to provide clean water.
Steven and Gloria Cott filed the
lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the Cecil Hotel and Cecil Main Street
LLC. They are seeking unspecified damages and say they want to add additional
plaintiffs to make the complaint a class action.
The complaint did not state the
relationship between the Cotts. Their attorney, John Rowell, could not be
A representative of the hotel
also could not be immediately reached. Elisa Lam of Vancouver, British
Columbia, had been missing since Jan. 31, when she stopped making daily contact
with her parents, according to LosAngeles police. The body in the tank was
later identified as hers.
According to the suit, the Cotts
arrived at the hotel at 640 Main St. on Feb. 12 and paid $150 for two nights. "Before entering into the
agreement, plaintiffs were told that the payment for lodging included payment for
running water which was suitable for human ingestion and showering," the suit
The Cotts found out through the
media last Wednesday that a body was found in tank on the hotel roof and had been
there since Jan. 21, the suit states.
The Cotts want reimbursement of
their $150 lodging costs, compensation for future possible medical care expenses and
attorneys' fees, the suit states.
Lam had been traveling alone and
was staying at the 1920s-era Cecil Hotel at 640 Main St., police said.
Surveillance video from a hotel
elevator showed her pressing all of the elevator's buttons and stepping in and out of
She had been in contact with her
parents daily until Jan. 31 and had planned to travel to Santa Cruz, police said. Her whereabouts remained a
mystery until a maintenance worker went to the roof after guests complained of low water
pressure and found the body in a tank.
Firefighters used cutting tools
to gain access to the body and removeit. Public health officials reassured hotel
guests that the water in the building was not going to make them sick.
Hotel employees said roof access
doors were locked and had alarms, but the four water tanks were not locked, police
said. The roof was searched after Lam
was reported missing, but it was unclear if the tanks were checked, police said.
Police say the body of a woman found wedged in a water tank on the roof of a downtown hotel is that of a missing Canadian guest.
Investigators used body markings to identify 21-year-old Elisa Lam, police spokeswoman Officer Diana Figueroa said late Tuesday. A maintenance worker at the Cecil Hotel found the body earlier in the day after guests complained of low water pressure.
Lam, of Vancouver, British Columbia, traveled to California alone on Jan. 27 and was last seen by workers at the Cecil on Jan. 31.
Investigators were trying to determine whether there was foul play in the woman's death or "a very, very strange accident" occurred, police spokeswoman Officer Sara Faden said.
"The location of the water tanks is very small and configured in a very tight way so it's a little more difficult to get the body out," Faden said. The body was discovered at about 10 a.m., but officials spent much of the day struggling to remove it from the water tank.
The hotel is located in downtown Los Angeles, which has long struggled against the creeping destitution of nearby Skid Row, where drug addiction and homelessness is rampant. At the time of Lam's disappearance, police said it appeared suspicious.
Lam was traveling to Santa Cruz, about 350 miles north of Los Angeles, and officials said she tended to use public transportation. She had been in touch with her family daily until she disappeared.
A call to the hotel seeking comment was not immediately returned.
There has been much speculation about Lam's strange behavior in the hotel elevator. Watch the whole video. Is this a woman in fear? A woman being playful? How or does this play into the LAPD investigation?
Officer Bruce Borihanh of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations office said a maintenance worker went to the roof of the building after residents of the hotel complained of low water pressure, and the worker found the body inside the water tank.
21-year-old missing Canadian woman. Elisa Lam of Vancouver, British Columbia, had been seen at the hotel. She was traveling alone and had been in contact daily with her parents until Jan. 31, leading them to file a missing person report.
Police previously suggested foul play was suspected in Lam's disappearance. She arrived in Los Angeles on Jan. 26 and had planned to go to Santa Cruz.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call detectives Tennelle or Stearns at (213) 486-6890, or (877) LAPD-247.
Former Guest Sue LA Hotel Where Canadian Tourist Body FoundMore>>