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MIDTOWN:Women may have been sucked out of hotel window | News

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MIDTOWN:Women may have been sucked out of hotel window
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MIDTOWN:Women may have been sucked out of hotel window

ATLANTA - 11Alive News has obtained copies of the lawsuits filed by the mother and father of LaShawna Threatt who died after falling out a window of the 10th floor of the W Hotel. 

One of the attorney's in the case, Steve Apolinski speculates the two women, who fell, may have been sucked out.

"That is a curtain wall system and when the window broke the pressure difference in the room may have pulled them out," he said.

Apolinsky represents Maurice Threatt, LaShawa's father. Threatt has filed to become executor of her estate and is alleging the window, in the W Hotel's room 2012, was previously broken and had been negligently replaced.  

Another lawsuit has been filed on behalf of LaShawna's surviving 15 year old daughter. The plaintiffs are LaShawna's mother Sharon Traylor, Threatt's boyfriend LaRay Hamilton and another woman, who has been described as a past guardian of the child, Jacqueline Whiteside.

Both suits seek unspecified damages from the W Hotel and its corporate owners and ask for a jury trial.

Click here to see Maurice Threatt's suit as well as demand for more information from the W Hotel. 

Click here to see Sharon Traylor, et al and demands for documents.

Both lawsuits were filed, Friday June 3, in Fulton County State Court, seeking damages from W Hotel Management and Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Inc. and other other corporate owners, inlcuding;Noble Investment Group, LLC, Nobel-AEW Colony Square, LLC, AEW Capital Management,LP and AEW Partners V, Limited Partnership.

The hotel says the building underwent structural reviews that included the windows when the company took ownership in 2008.

Witnesses told police 30-year-old LaShawna Threatt and a second woman were "play wrestling" in a room at the W Midtown Hotel early on May 28 when they crashed into a window and fell through it.

We received the following statement from the W Hotel in response to our questions about the windows and the hotel's recent renovations:

Statement:
The W Atlanta Midtown would like to once again offer our very sincere condolences to the family and friends of LaShawna Threatt in their grief from her loss. Our prayers remain with Ciara Williams and we are encouraged by reports that her condition is improving.

Due to pending litigation, the W Atlanta Midtown cannot provide any additional information at this time about the incident other than the facts that follow.

The safety and security of our guests are always of paramount importance to us. As such, we are taking this situation very seriously.

The hotel building itself is properly permitted and received its most recent "certificate of occupancy" when it became a part of the W brand in 2008. At that time, expert consultants performed a number of comprehensive structural reviews of the building, which included the windows. At no time during these inspections did the W Atlanta Midtown receive any reports noting concern about the safety or security of its windows or window system structure.

This particular guest room has a metal frame window system where six panes of glass are separated by two floor-to-ceiling vertical metal support frames and a full length horizontal metal support frame that is approximately three feet above the floor.

During this incident, a single glass pane was partially broken. This pane was located below the horizontal metal support frame in the lower right-hand corner of the window system. No other glass panes or frames were cracked or damaged and the entire window system remains completely intact and firmly affixed to the interior room wall and the concrete exterior building wall.

We recognize that there remain questions about this occurrence and we hope to provide further details after the investigations are complete.

-Michael O'Donohue/Hotel Manager of W Atlanta - Midtown

Mother of Ciara Williams talks about daughter's recovery

LEXINGTON, KY (WLEX) -- Ciara Williams' mother, Gloria, rushed to her daughter's side at an Atlanta hospital when she heard the news that Ciara, along with her best friend, LaShawna Threatt, were staying at the W Atlanta Midtown hotel last month when witnesses say they were playing around in their room and somehow crashed through the ceiling-to-floor style window. They fell 10 stories onto some sky lights below. Threatt died on the scene, and Ciara was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Gloria Williams stayed in Atlanta by her daughter's side for days, and has just now gone back home to Lexington, Ky. She calls it a miracle that Ciara survived.

"The Lord has to be there with her to cushion her fall, you know?" she told Lexington NBC station WLEX. "It is hard and difficult. We all are devastated by this."

Williams said her daughter suffered extensive injuries, but continues to show improvement and and one point was able to talk before she was put on a ventilator. The one thing she asked about was Threatt, but she has not yet been told her friend died.

"I try to keep from crying all the time," said Williams. "But sometimes it comes."

Ciara was a criminal law major at Eastern Kentucky University. She was modeling in Atlanta but her mom says she was planning on starting law school.

"I think that maybe God has a plan for her and she just has to find out what that is when she's able to." said Williams. 

Williams said she'll be driving back and forth from Lexington to Atlanta so she can take care of her other children still here at home until Ciara recovers.

Family, Friends say 'good-bye' to LaShawna Threatt

COLLEGE PARK, GA -- LaShawna Threatt's parents Sharon Traylor and Maurice Threatt joined family and friends at the World Changers Ministries Church in College Park to say goodbye.

The young spokes model plunged to her death at the W Hotel-Midtown after celebrating her 30th birthday Friday, May 27. Her good friend Ciara Williams went out the window with her and is still in the hospital. 

The open casket funeral was a hard thing to take for many in the procession.

Pastor Creflo Dollar tried to bring peace to those in grief. "She's left us in body but we all know she's now in a better place", he said.

Those words may comfort, but the family is seeking more.

Thursday, they met with the famous Cochran Law Firm in Atlanta to talk about filing suit against the W Hotel.

We contacted manager partner Hezekiah Sistrunk, Jr. "Expect a complaint to be filed within days," he said.

Family revisits hotel

Wednesday, 11Alive News and the family of the woman who died went back to the 10th floor of the W Hotel with a lot of questions about how it happened. 

"They were standing right about here," Ray Hamilton, the fiancé of Lashawna Thereatt said in the hotel room next door to the one where the glass gave way. "They were kind of hugging. The next thing I knew they both just went out."

On Thursday after 11Alive cited, Georgia's Open Records Act, Atlanta Police finally released the incident report. (*Note: Police have since called to say the report should say 10th, instead of 7th floor) It remains an open investigation. Toxicology reports are expected in 10 to 12 weeks but sources tell us it will likely be closed and called an accident.

A lot of people have been wondering how two young women crashed through the window of the Midtown W Hotel on Saturday, May 28th.

There's nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child. The parents of Lashawna Threatt, her mother Sharon Traylor and Maurice Threatt, went to the W Hotel with 11Alive and a glass expert to try to figure out how the accident could have happened.

"It's horrifying to think that my daughter took a fall like this because I'm looking at this place and it looks very thin," Maurice said.

11Alive News consulted a glass expert about the W Hotel's windows. Steve Lewis of Clearvue Glass, examined and measured the windows, telling us they are single pane and he believed they are not tempered glass, which is usually made to withstand high impact.

We rented a room on the 10th floor of the hotel right next door to the room where the accident occurred. One woman died, the other is severely injured.

The windows go floor to ceiling and do not appear to be double paned windows. There is a safety barrier 38 inches up from the floor and the lower pane where they crashed through is 45 inches wide. According to our glass expert, the safety bar meets code. We know that the hotel was renovated about 4 years ago, but what we do not know, is if the windows were new.

"I wasn't involved in the renovations so I don't know what was done. If they didn't touch they windows they stayed as they were. If they did touch the windows, whoever did it, would probably be forced to adhrere to today's codes instead of 1974," Lewis said.

According to Fulton County property tax records, the building was constructed in 1974 and was taken over by Noble Investment Group from Starwood Hotels and Resorts. It then underwent a 50 million dollar renovation project in 2007.

The City of Atlanta says no permits were issued for new windows and no permit inspection was done for window installation. We've asked whether or not the existing windows would meet today's safety standards. We are still waiting for a response.

We made repeated messages to the Noble Investment Group asking about the window construction and type of windows that are currently in the W; our calls have not been returned.

We also made several requests to architects, and high rise developers seeking an assessment of the windows inside the hotel. Those who responded politely declined our request.

"Just within an instant, they literally, flew out of the window," Raymond Hamilton said as he describe how he watched the horrible scene early Saturday morning.

The fiancé of the woman who died has many questions. Even though he says he's heard nothing from the Midtown W Hotel or its management he plans to continue to seek answers and so do we.

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