Can I sue for emotional stress regarding harassment by hotel security?

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Can I sue for emotional stress regarding harassment by hotel security?

I was at an Atlantic City casino last night and before I went up to my room at 3 am in the morning, I stopped to ask at the front desk for a late check-out. The girl granted me a 1 pm check-out and I thanked her. I also said to her that I had taken a beating in the casino and laughing said that I’d like to slit my throat but I’d be fine in the morning. The next thing I know, there was a knock on my door and security insisted that they come into my room to check for weapons. Then 2 minutes later, there were now 7 officers in my room. I kept telling them over and over and over again that I was just joking around with the girl but there would have none of it. I was being harassed and questioned like a criminal. Then they told me that a medical person would have to come up and assess my condition, which they did by taking my blood pressure and asking many different medical questions. I was in complete shock that this was actually happening. They actually brought up a stretcher to my room. Also, they asked asked if I take any medications and I told them no. I am a 56 year old man and was I never in my entire life so mortified and embarrassed. They were in my room for at least 30 minutes and at the end the guard said sorry and try and get some sleep. Of course, as soon as they left, I packed my bag and left the casino. I can’t relax and it’s making me sick. Is there any action that I could take regarding all of this?

Asked on August 8, 2019 under Personal Injury, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No, there is no action you can take.
1) There is no legal action for emotional distress or harassment unless you can prove that it was done with the deliberate intention to cause you emotional harm--which this was not--or it was accompanied by physical harm--which it also was not. If you think about it, you can readily imagine why this is so: otherwise, everyone would be suing everyone who embarassed or mortified or otherwise caused them distress all the time, and our courts would be buried under lawsuits about hurt feelings and embarassment.
2) Their action was reasonable: people do desparate things after losing big at casinos. You made a comment about slitting your throat. Say that they had not acted and you had killed yourself: if it had come out that you'd made the comment you did casino staff, your family or survivors could have sued the casino for a great deal of money by not acting in the face of a suicide threat. Once you made the "joke" you did in the context you did, they had to take action, and it was  reasonable to do so; you cannot sue someone for taking reasonable precautions.


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