Suit Filed By Hotel Guest Following Assault by Chance the Rapper’s Bodyguard

Incident Occurred at W Hotel During 2017 Lollapalooza

(Chicago: April 04, 2019) - A Los Angeles man, who visited Chicago in 2017 to attend that summer’s Lollapalooza music festival, has filed suit against one of Chance the Rapper’s bodyguards following a violent encounter in the lobby of the W Hotel where the performer was attending an event.

Attorney Tim Tomasik, of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, along with Michael Adler of AdlerLaw in Los Angeles, filed suit on behalf of Travis Montgomery, seeking damages for the injuries he suffered after being thrown against a wall and choked by security guard Star Thomas. Chancellor Jonathan Bennett, known professionally as Chance the Rapper, is not a defendant in the suit at this time.

“This was an unprovoked, vicious attack that came without reason or warning,” says Tomasik. “Tyler was simply a hotel guest walking through the lobby, not posing a threat or even interacting with Chance the Rapper.”

Montgomery was about to step onto an elevator, heading from the hotel’s 27th floor to the lobby, when he first encountered Thomas. Thomas, who stands 6’ 4” tall and weighs approximately 300 pounds, shoulder-blocked the 5’ 10” and 160 pound Montgomery from entering the elevator, ostensibly because Chance the Rapper was on board. Montgomery stepped away and took the next elevator down.

Hotel surveillance video captured what happened next, as the two encountered each other again in the hotel’s busy lobby. Montgomery rounded a corner and then attempted to walk past a group of people, including Chance the Rapper and the bodyguard Thomas. Thomas engaged in a verbal exchange with Montgomery and then Thomas grabbed Montgomery by the neck, pushing him violently across the room into a wall and then held him against the wall by his neck, choking him.

Police were called to the scene and Thomas was charged with battery.

Star Thomas is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as are Starwood Hotels and the W Hotel’s local Director of Operations.

“While Star Thomas was the person actually choking Travis and violently injuring him, the hotel and its ownership and management are responsible for allowing the incident to happen,” explains Tomasik. “When you’re a guest at a hotel, they owe you the ‘highest duty of care,’ and have to take the right steps to ensure your safety. The W Hotel knew there would be hundreds of guests around their property during Lollapalooza, which attracts music fans from around the world, and absolutely failed to have adequate security to protect guests in the lobby and hotel.”

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Tim Tomasik is a trial lawyer with extensive experience handling transportation, medical malpractice, and personal injury matters. He began his career at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, trying high-profile murder and sexual assault cases as a member of the Bureau of Special Prosecutions. As a plaintiff’s attorney he is noted for his role in the Girl X case, having secured a $3.2 million settlement from the Chicago Housing Authority and two private security firms responsible for protecting CHA residents after a 9-year-old girl was assaulted at Cabrini Green.

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