What to Know
Tammy Lawrence-Daley filed a $3 million lawsuit against Dominican Republic resort Majestic Elegance.
Lawrence-Daley said earlier this year that she was brutally beaten at the resort in January by a person wearing a resort uniform.
The resort and Dominican authorities have questioned Lawrence-Daley's account and intentions.
A Delaware woman who said she was brutally beaten while vacationing in the Dominican Republic earlier this year has sued the resort where the alleged attack took place.
A legal team for Tammy Lawrence-Daley of Wilmington, announced on Wednesday they filed a lawsuit against the Majestic Elegance resort in Punta Cana seeking $3 million for justice, accountability and compensation for the woman’s “permanent, life-changing injuries.”
In May, Lawrence-Daley posted on Facebook that she was viciously attacked in January while at the Majestic Elegance. She described being dragged into a maintenance closet by someone wearing a resort uniform, beaten, assaulted, choked and left for dead in a drainage area for eight hours. She said she was then found by the resort’s maintenance staff the next day.
Lawrence-Daley also posted a photo showing herself with severe swelling and bruising on her face, two black eyes nearly swollen shut, cuts to her lips and cheek and a gauze taped to her face.
Lawrence-Daley and her husband, Christopher Daley, have accused Dominican authorities of bungling the investigation, going so far as to question the results of a rape kit by saying it was inadequately performed two days after the attack and that it consisted only of an external swab. Lawrence-Daley said she lost consciousness during the attack and does not know whether or not she was sexually assaulted.
Majestic Elegance maintains that it has "no opinion on the hypothesis of some authorities involved in the investigation," but it also put out a statement that seemingly minimized the extent of Lawrence-Daley's injuries and said the couple went public only after they were denied $2.2 million in compensation.
Majestic Elegance said Lawrence-Daley had "bruises on her face and had a broken fingernail..."
The Dominican Republic's Office of the Attorney General said its investigation has been hampered by "incongruent" statements on the part of Daley - a claim Daley described as "crazy" - and by the couple's refusal, in the presence of a U.S. Embassy official, to formally press charges.
Two of Lawrence-Daley’s attorneys, John C. Johnston and Victoria Watson Kurtz of Johnston Law, called Majestic Elegance’s response to their client’s story “offensive to say the least.”
“The resort is blaming the victim and failing to take any responsibility,” they wrote in a statement. “At this time, our attention is focused on pursuing Mrs. Lawrence-Daley’s legal remedy.”
Lawrence-Daley's claim that the resort refused to at least reimburse her for her stay and medical bills has also been in contention. Majestic Elegance said it both paid for her hospital stay and provided a "complementary extension" at the resort.
But Kurtz said that while, "It's appreciated that they paid for her immediate medical needs," the extended stay does not constitute reimbursement. Nor, she said, is Majestic Elegance paying for ongoing medical bills or the mental side effects of the attack, for which Daley said both he and his wife are going to therapy.
"Outside of physical injuries, there's also mental recourse that will probably take a lifetime to recover," Kurtz said.
The competing narratives have caused some to question Lawrence-Daley's story, with Majestic Elegance criticizing American media outlets and saying that they "have reported on the story considering her accounts as true and definitive, without listening to the authorities' version, or waiting for a final resolution on the case."
Asked directly if the attack is an elaborate scam by Lawrence-Daley and her husband, Kurtz replied with an "Absolutely not."
"No," she said. "I don't think that I would be spending any ounce of time on this case if that was a possibility."
In a statement announcing their lawsuit Wednesday, Lawrence-Daley’s legal team called the resort’s handling of the investigation a “disaster.”
“Had the resort responded immediately and had even basic security protocols been in place, the assault could have been completely avoided or at least been stopped sooner,” they wrote. “For example, and as alleged in the lawsuit, on February 28, 2008, over 10 years ago, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism ordered all resorts, via Resolution No. 43/2008, to immediately install security cameras in all public areas.”
Besides Johnston and Kurtz, Lawrence-Daley’s legal team also includes attorney John L. Urban of the international law firm of Urban Thier & Federer and Dominican Republic attorney Dr. David A. Columna of Oficina de Abogados Dr. Jose Antonio Columna.
No arrests have been made in the attack.
The alleged attack was one of several recent incidents that brought negative publicity to the Dominican Republic. Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz was shot in the back in Santo Domingo in May while at least eight Americans have died in the Dominican Republic this year.