A downtown restaurant is suing the Marriott hotel chain, alleging some guests and employees of the Sheraton Grant Los Angeles are discarding burning cigarettes and other projectiles from a balcony and some lower level rooms above the eatery that fall into its patio while customers dine.
Joey’s Restaurant Los Angeles Inc., which does business as JOEY DTLA, brought the lawsuit Friday against Marriott International Inc., alleging trespass, nuisance and negligence. The plaintiff also is seeking an injunction directing the hotel to put up signs and barriers and install cameras and to take “other steps to prevent or discourage the materials and projectiles that threaten people and personal property at, in on or about JOEY DTLA.”
A Marriott representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The hotel and JOEY DTLA are located in the 700 block of West Seventh Street in an open-air urban center known as The Bloc. The restaurant is one of a family of eateries located throughout North America, including three in Los Angeles County. Each is known for its spacious patio dining areas and retractable awnings.
JOEY DTLA features the largest street-level patio in downtown Los Angeles, a theater kitchen and an interior willow tree piece of art that helps the restaurant provide an oasis within the city for its customers and employees, according to the suit.
Restaurant management alleges that employees, guests and others at the Sheraton have repeatedly “thrown, tossed, released, launched and otherwise caused to come crashing down onto and into JOEY DTLA various projectiles,” including burning cigarettes and other flaming materials, a full beer can that shattered and sprayed upon impact, a cup of water and a coffee creamer container that so disturbed a customer it prompted a posting on Yelp.
Many of the tossed items, including the beer can, cup with water and burning projectiles, came from a large balcony at the Sheraton that has shrubbery and other coverage, “making it an inviting place for surreptitious smoking breaks by employees, guests and invitees looking for a way to hide smoking within what is supposed to be a non-smoking hotel and who need a means of hiding or getting rid of remnants or butts of cigarettes or other burning materials,” the suit states.
The restaurant has been forced to limit the use of its patio and protect customers with a large awning, which has some 41 burn marks caused by the tossed burning objects, according to the suit.
Although some Sheraton rooms have sealed windows, many above JOEY DTLA can be opened and “invite or allow the launching of projectiles from the rooms to the area where they are likely to … land on or about JOEY DTLA,” the suit states.
Restaurant management says Marriott has known about the problem, but not done anything to prevent their guests or employees from throwing the projectiles onto the restaurant grounds.
The restaurant has been forced to limit the use of its patio and to provide complimentary meals or drinks to placate customers and replace the fabric awning with a more expensive material that is less likely to burn, according to the suit.