Rainwater, Holt & Sexton lawyers in Little Rock have sued a hotel in the third area. They alleged that their operators deliberately ignored the sex trafficking on the premises and allowed a woman to be forced into prostitution.
America’s Best Value Inn, 200 S. Shackleford Road in Little Rock, also known as Patel Legacy Hotels LLC, “is a well-known place for sex trafficking,” according to lawyers Meredith Moore, Lauren Manatt and Denise Hoggard on Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court on behalf of an anonymous plaintiff from Jane Doe.
According to the lawsuit, the woman was detained at the hotel for about four months while she was pregnant by an unnamed man against her will between August and November 2019.
The suit states that the trafficker forced her to have sex for money 10 to 20 times a day in order to keep the money to herself while she regularly uses a hotel room near the front desk. He made her intimidate, sometimes by threatening her unborn child and, depending on the complaint, physical abuse.
In 2019, Little Rock Police were called to the property more than 100 times, primarily for crimes involving guns, drugs, overdoses, battery, and sexual assault, the eight-page lawsuit said.
Many of the police reports describe the hotel as “a high crime area … known for loitering for drug or prostitution purposes”.
The hotel operators negligently neglected to inspect long-term rentals and failed to inspect rooms with significant pedestrian traffic from unregistered guests, the lawsuit said.
Real estate records show the 40-year-old property is a 41,720 square feet, 106-room, former La Quinta set on just over 2 acres. It is valued at $ 2.7 million. A phone number for a Patel Legacy representative, Jay Patel, could not be found.
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The lawsuit seeks damages under Arkansas Human Trafficking Act 16-118-109, just like the lawsuit the three attorneys filed against Stone Hospitality Inc. of North Little Rock on behalf of another anonymous woman in June.
Stone owns a former Motel 6 on 400th 29th St., where the woman says she was forced into sexual slavery for over six months in 2019, with management ignoring her calls for help.
In October, attorneys reached a confidential settlement in federal court on behalf of a third anonymous woman with the former Quality Inn & Suites at 6100 Mitchell Drive in Little Rock, also known as Shri Jinasha LLC, and Jinasha Corporate Officers Rajni Patel of Richardson. Texas and Lina Patel from Plano, Texas, along with former hotel manager Vijay Brahmbhatt from Illinois.
This woman claimed that she was forced into prostitution for about three months in a room on the fourth floor of the hotel between May and July 2014. Her nameless human trafficker and others had converted the entire floor for human trafficking and had regularly beaten and strangled her.
She said she was forced to do 10 to 20 sex acts for money every day. Hotel workers ignored their screams and ignored the noisy conditions on this floor where dozens of people came and went 24/7, day and night.
Originally filed in the Pulaski County Circuit Court in October 2019, the lawsuit was the first in Arkansas to bring civil liability against a hospitality organization for alleged human trafficking. It was later moved to the federal court.
Shri Jinasha Company had sold the hotel when the lawsuit was filed and it is now a Best Western.