Soprano Sues Hilton Hotels Over Bedbugs

Classic Arts News   Soprano Sues Hilton Hotels Over Bedbugs
Alison Trainer woke up to an unpleasant surprise one day last November, after bedbugs attacked in force and left her with 150 bites all over her body during a stay at the Hilton Suites in Phoenix.

The Associated Press reports that Trainer, a 32-year-old, New York City-based coloratura soprano who has sung with New York City Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Boston Lyric Opera, has filed a $6 million lawsuit against the Hilton Hotels chain, alleging that the "horrific" experience has made her afraid to sleep in a bed and caused weight loss and discomfort about her physical appearance.

Trainer's lawyer, Kenneth J. Glassman, told the AP that, because of the bites, his client suffered during her stay at the Phoenix hotel between November 20 and November 26. He said, "She looks like a piece of wood that has been attacked by termites."

Trainer immediately noticed the itching and the blood on the sheets, according to the AP report, but was initially unaware that bedbugs were the cause. She told the New York Daily News that it was "a terrifying experience": she leaped out of bed and pulled back the sheets and found that the bugs "were everywhere! It was like a sci-fi movie."

After online research convinced her that the problem was bedbugs, Trainer reported the critters to hotel officials, who offered to let her stay without paying for the final night.

Despite the bites on her face, Trainer has reportedly kept all her singing commitments, including those in Phoenix during her stay there. She has undergone medical treatment for the bites and will probably have to have laser treatments to remove scarring, according to the AP.

Trainer's lawsuit was filed Tuesday (January 2) and seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

Trainer won first place in the 2005 Metropolitan Opera Northeast Regional Competition. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University, a Master of Music degree from the Cincinnati Conservatory and a Performer's Certificate from the Opera Institute at Boston University. She has been an apprentice artist with Glimmerglass Opera and the San Francisco Opera's Merola program, and a vocal fellow at the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals.

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