This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A Tennessee man is suing a hotel chain after he was robbed four times over several days by a man who allegedly posed as an undercover police officer at a West Valley City hotel in October.
Philip Clawson filed a civil lawsuit against the Kansas-based Value Place American Fork LLC on Thursday in 3rd District Court seeking more than $150,000 from the hotel chain for damages and emotional distress related to the incident.
According to the lawsuit, Clawson stayed at Value Place, 1650 W. 3500 South, in October 2011. During his stay, Clawson had William Calhoun, 21, accompany him to his room. When he was in the room, Calhoun allegedly claimed he was an undercover police officer, and said he had cause to arrest Clawson. He drew a handgun, demanding Clawson pay him $200.
After Calhoun allegedly robbed Clawson and left the room, Clawson called West Valley City police and discovered the man was not a police officer. Clawson told hotel management what had happened, and that he felt his life was in jeopardy. He identified the alleged robber to hotel management, court records state, and he asked them not to allow the man back to hotel premises, the lawsuit states.
Despite Clawson's requests, Calhoun returned to the hotel three more times over several days, each time handcuffing the victim and robbing him at gunpoint, Clawson says. On one occasion, the lawsuit states Clawson was forced to walk, at gunpoint, to an ATM to withdraw cash for the robber.
Though the hotel management was aware of the robbery, the lawsuit states that, at least once, hotel management unlocked the hotel front door at Calhoun's request, allowing him access to the hotel and the room where Clawson was staying.
On the final encounter between the two men, Clawson faked a heart attack, and was able to escape after paramedics arrived, according to the lawsuit. During the confusion caused by the fake heart attack, Clawson was able to grab Calhoun's cellphone as a means of identifying him to police.
After Clawson was taken to the hospital by paramedics, Calhoun reportedly convinced hotel management to allow him back into the Clawson's room to search for his cellphone.
The lawsuit states that since the incident, Clawson has suffered ongoing emotional distress, including anxiety, nightmares, sleep deprivation, excessive fear of police officers, is in a continual state of fright and has been admitted to a mental health institution.
He believes the hotel management should not have allowed Calhoun back onto hotel premises or allowed him access to his room, the lawsuit states. He is seeking $155,480 from the hotel company for negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, breach of right to quiet enjoyment and invasion of privacy.Calhoun has pleaded not guilty to four counts of robbery, all second-degree felonies; four counts of impersonating a peace officer, all class B misdemeanors; and providing false information to a peace officer, a class A misdemeanor. A jury trial has been set in May in 3rd District Court.