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Brazilian model sues Hilton, claiming she was bitten by bedbugs at Palm Desert hotel

Brazilian model sues Hilton, claiming she was bitten by bedbugs at Palm Desert hotel
Brazilian model Sabrina Jales St. Pierre says in a lawsuit that she suffered bedbug bites while staying at the Embassy Suites in Palm Desert during a modeling shoot. (Sabrina Jales St. Pierre)

Bedbugs are a relatively rare problem in the hotel industry, but they can be an embarrassment when a guest wakes up with bites and rashes from the creatures.

Now, imagine the embarrassment when that guest is a Brazilian fashion model who claims that her previously unblemished face and body turned into a mess of welts and bites after staying at a high-end hotel.

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Sabrina Jales St. Pierre, who has appeared in advertisements for Avon, Neiman Marcus, the Limited and Tommy Hilfiger, among others, claims in a lawsuit filed in Riverside County Superior Court that the bedbug bites were the result of her 2016 stay at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Palm Desert.

An image provided by her attorneys shows her with large red welts on her shoulders, arm and back.

“This was especially traumatic for Sabrina because her body is her work so this severely affected her work and her career,” said her attorney Brian Virag, who specializes in bedbug lawsuits. “She had to continue working during the hotel stay, but the bite marks all over her body made her feel embarrassed, ashamed and humiliated.”

Jales’ lawsuit seeks monetary and punitive damages against the management of the hotel as well as the parent company, Hilton Worldwide.

In a statement, Hilton Worldwide said the company has not been contacted by Jales’ attorney and has not seen the lawsuit.

“We understand that the allegations relate to a 2016 stay at an independently owned and managed franchise property, so we will refer related questions to the property’s management,” the statement said.

A representative for Embassy Suites Management, which was also named in the suit, could not be reached for comment.

Virag, whose firm is dubbed My Bed Bug Lawyer, has previously sued a number of hotels, apartment owners and others over bedbug bites.

In December, he won a $3.5-million jury verdict against Park La Brea Apartments on behalf of 16 current and former residents over a bedbug infestation. Two months earlier, Virag won a $546,000 jury verdict against the Heritage Inn in Rancho Cucamonga on behalf of an Arkansas family who said they were bitten by bedbugs during a one-night stay at the hotel.

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