Couple Sues Hotel For $880,000 After Two Luxury Watches Disappear

For Jeisa Chiminazzo, a Brazilian model married to a British millionaire, turning 30 should have been a bit more fun.

Unfortunately for Chiminazzo and her husband, Oliver Ripley, The Miami Beach EDITION Hotel (jointly owned by Marriott and lifestyle hotelier Ian Schrager) made the milestone birthday a lot less carefree when the pair's hotel room was robbed in their absence.

Initially, Ripley and Chiminazzo put their faith in the hotel, renting out the bowling alley, bar and ice-skating rink to honor the model on her big day and show friends a fun time.

Around 75 of the couple's friends flew in to listen to DJ Paul Oakenfold spin, and the hosts partied the night away under the assumption their belongings were waiting safely in their hotel room under lock and key.

After all, the hotel's website states “every thought [is] given to enhancing a guest's stay,” and the hotel provides “the best and most personalized modern service available.” Unbeknown to Chiminazzo and Ripley, these services apparently do not include providing security to guests, despite the hotel featuring multiple heavily promoted public facilities, which invite entry to non-guests of the hotel.

Upon leaving their $800-per-night hotel room to begin the evening of celebration, the husband and wife naturally assumed their door would automatically lock when it closed behind them. According to security logs, however, the door remained unlocked for the full 3.5-hour duration of the couple's absence, barring one 10-minute period when the door was locked from inside.

In that 10-minute span, the pair was robbed of two timepieces, an Audemars Piguet Women's Royal Oak Offshore Limited Edition watch and a Jacob & Co. Brilliant Half Pave watch, totaling $80,000 in lifted merchandise. The watches were gifts from the couple's "Great Gatsby"-themed wedding and following anniversary.

The spouses are suing the hotel for gross negligence, seeking damages in the amount of $880,000 and, according to attorney Lauren Rudick, they are completely within their rights.

She said,

This is a lawsuit about a hotel that markets itself as a modern and sophisticated facility where its guests can feel safe and secure. Yet there are no security cameras in the guest hallways. Outsiders can roam the halls of the hotel without the need for a passkey. And the doors to the guest rooms close, but do not lock. We're lucky we're talking about a theft case and not a breach of security that resulted in some sort of bodily harm.

Though the incident might not doom the couple financially -- she has graced the cover of Vogue and he is a cofounder of Ocean Group, a private holding company with major worldwide investments -- they were victims of a crime that was easily preventable had the hotel been up to date on the most basic of security measures.

Rudick disclosed should Ripley and Chiminazzo win the suit, the $880,000 will be donated to charity. Ripley and Chiminazzo see this as an opportunity to prevent harm to others.

Before filing the lawsuit, the couple made a formal demand for the hotel to fix its security, which it ignored. Since the lawsuit was filed, other guests of the EDITION and Marriott's other locations have come forward to complain about the Marriott's security measures causing them to lose precious and valuable personal belongings.

Thus far, Marriott representatives declined to comment.

Citations: British millionaire and his Brazilian model wife sue luxury Miami hotel for £570,000 after thieves stole £51,000 in watches from room with a faulty door (Daily Mail), Businessman and supermodel wife file $880K lawsuit against Marriott, say faulty doors allowed their pricey watches to be stolen during South Beach bash (NY Daily News)