A judge indicated Friday he is leaning toward dismissing a negligence suit filed by the parents of a young Asian Vancouver woman against the downtown hotel where their daughter drowned in a rooftop water tank in 2013.

Elisa Lam. Photo via Los Angeles Police Department

Elisa Lam was last seen Jan. 31, 2013, at the hotel near Skid Row. Surveillance video footage showed her behaving oddly in a hotel elevator.

Her case drew interest in China, where the video went viral, and other Asian countries as well as the United States and Canada. Wikipedia devotes thousands of words to her case.

Many theories arose over the incident, which speculate she was slain.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Howard Halm says in the nine-page preliminary decision that Lam’s death was unforeseeable because it occurred in an area of the former Cecil Hotel where guests were not allowed.

To reach the water tank, Lam had to go to the hotel roof, climb onto a platform, scale a 10-foot ladder along the side of the tank, push aside the 20-pound lid and then either fall or climb into the tank, Halm wrote.

In addition, the hotel management knew of no previous incidents in which someone was hurt at or by the tanks, Halm said.

“In fact, the very nature of the water tank would make it unreasonable for (Lam) to assume that she was allowed to climb it and open the lid,” Halm says.

Halm is scheduled to hold a hearing and consider any arguments Monday before issuing a final ruling.

Lam’s parents, David and Yinna Lam, filed the suit in September 2013 against the hotel, which was built in the 1920s and has since been renamed Stay on Main.

The hotel’s lawyers state in their court papers that it is still unknown how Lam got into the tank.

Lam, a student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, was staying at the hotel while on a holiday trip to California. Her body was found on Feb. 19, 2013. The LAPD searched the roof earlier while investigating her disappearance, but did not check the tanks.

Lam was staying at the hotel while on a holiday trip to California. Her body was found on Feb. 19, 2013. The LAPD searched the roof earlier while investigating her disappearance, but did not check the tanks.

— City News Service

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