A wrongful death lawsuit was filed today in the Circuit Court of Cook County by Sooha Akkad, the widow of Hollywood director-producer Moustapha Akkad (executive producer of Halloween), against Global Hyatt Corporation and Hyatt International Corporation. A guest at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Amman, Jordan, Akkad was killed by a terrorist's bomb in the hotel's lobby in 2005. Mrs. Akkad and the Akkad Estate are represented by Thomas A. Demetrio and Daniel M. Kotin with the Chicago, IL. law firm of Corboy and Demetrio, P.C. and Browne Greene and Geoffrey S. Wells with the Santa Monica, CA. law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP. Jeffrey Siegel, Administrator of the Estate of Moustapha Akkad, deceased, and Sooha Akkad vs. Global Hyatt Corporation, et. al., Case Number 2007 L 9489.
On November 9, 2005, Akkad, who lived in Los Angeles, was in Jordan with his wife, Sooha Akkad, to attend a wedding and was staying at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Amman. They were in the lobby of the hotel, along with their daughter, Rima Akkad, when a suicide bomber detonated explosives which had been strapped to his body. Akkad was seriously injured and died two days later from his injuries, Rima Akkad was killed instantly, and Sooha Akkad survived the attack but was seriously injured.
At approximately the same time on November 9, 2005, suicide bombers also detonated explosives at the Radisson and Days Inn hotels in Amman. All three suicide bombers were members of al-Qaeda in Iraq and affiliated with Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In an Internet statement released after the bombings, Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attacks which resulted in the deaths of 62 people and hundreds of injuries.
Mrs. Akkad alleges in the complaint that Hyatt was negligent in failing to responsibly protect its registered guests from foreseeable criminal attack and violence, failing to provide metal detectors, failing to provide adequate security, and failing to keep unauthorized individuals from accessing the interior of the hotel. The lawsuit was filed in Chicago, IL, which is Hyatt's world-wide headquarters.
According to Thomas A. Demetrio: "Security at the Grand Hyatt was wholly inadequate to protect its guests. Prior to November 9, metal detectors were located at the entrance to the Grand Hyatt but were removed by the hotel prior to the attack. The Grand Hyatt was one of the few hotels in Amman totally accessible from the street. On November 9 especially, heightened security measures at the hotel should have been in place since November 9 is a date that carries the same significance as September 11 in the United States due to the fact that in the Middle East and in many countries around the world the day number precedes the month number when written. Thus, November 9 becomes 9/11."
Browne Greene said: "The law is very clear. A hotel has a high legal duty to its registered guests to protect them from the foreseeable criminal acts of terrorists. On November 9, 2005, Hyatt should clearly have had heightened security - rather than the loose security that was in place. Our goal will be to see to it that the Akkad family has its day in court and that justice is served."
Moustapha Akkad was the executive producer of the Halloween horror films and produced and directed the movie, The Message, starring Anthony Quinn, about the Prophet Muhammad. Considered to be Syria's greatest film director, he was scheduled to go to Syria after the wedding in Jordan to be honored by the Damascus International Theater Festival.
Plaintiffs are represented by Thomas A. Demetrio and Daniel M. Kotin with the Chicago, IL. law firm of Corboy and Demetrio, P.C. (www.corboydemetrio.com); Tel: 312.346.3191 and Browne Greene and Geoffrey S. Wells with the Santa Monica, CA. law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP (www.greene-broillet.com); Tel: 310.576.1200.