Family of Houston hotel employee who drowned during Harvey files lawsuit

- The family of a hotel employee who drowned during Harvey’s flooding is suing the company.

That lawsuit claims Omni Houston failed to protect employees and guests when the building began flooding.

That lawsuit outlines how the 48-year-old employee struggled to get out of the hotel's flooding basement and ultimately died there.

The lawsuit says early in the morning on August 27 someone at the front desk called Jill  Renick to come downstairs, but didn't mention the basement was already flooding.

Within a half hour, Renick called the front desk saying she was stuck in the basement service elevator.

Her family's attorneys claim hotel video shows she managed to fight her way out of the elevator but still could not get out of the basement that was taking on water.

The suit says Renick then climbed above the basement ceiling tiles to try to get air but she drowned when the water continued to rise into the first floor.

Her body was found 11 days later.

The suit lays out the hotel's history of flooding and claims hotel management should've known to shut down the elevators since the basement had already started flooding that morning well before Renick got onto the elevator. It also says because of prior floods, sensors should've been installed to disable the elevators.

The family is also suing the elevator's manufacturer. They're asking for more than $1 million and for a jury to make the decision.

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