Opera Soprano Alison Trainer Sues Hilton Hotels for $6 Million Over Bedbug Bites

An opera singer has filed a $6 million lawsuit against the Hilton Hotels Corp., complaining that bedbugs bit her over her arms, chest, neck and face when she stayed in one of its Phoenix hotels in November.

Soprano Alison Trainer says in court papers she had 150 bites all over her body, a "horrific" experience that left her afraid to sleep in a bed, caused her to lose weight and made her uncomfortable about her physical appearance.

Trainer's lawyer, Kenneth J. Glassman, said that because of the bites his client suffered at Phoenix's Hilton Suites between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26, "She looks like a piece of wood that has been attacked by termites."

"She noticed the itching and the blood on the sheets right away, but she didn't know that this was being caused by bedbugs," Glassman said, explaining why Trainer stayed in the hotel for six nights.

Court papers say Trainer noticed the bugs on Nov. 26 and reported "brutally conclusive proof" of the infestation to hotel officials, who offered to let her stay without paying for the sixth and final night.

Despite the bites on her face, Trainer, who has appeared several times with the New York City Opera, the Phoenix Symphony and other music companies around the U.S., has kept her singing commitments since the bedbug attack, Glassman said.

"She's a professional," he said.

Trainer's online resume shows she began her career in 1995.

Meanwhile, Glassman said, Trainer has undergone medical treatment for the bedbug bites, including medication with cortisone and antibiotics. He said she will probably have to have laser treatments to remove scarring.

Trainer's lawsuit, filed Tuesday, seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

A spokeswoman for the Hilton Hotels Corp. did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Wednesday.

Hilton's Web site says it is the leading global hospitality company, with nearly 2,800 hotels and 485,000 rooms in more than 80 countries.