Mom wins $85,000 in motel porn lawsuit

Times Staff Writer

A mother who sued an Artesia motel after her two young daughters were exposed to a pornographic film on television was awarded $85,000 by a jury Friday.

In August 2006, Edwina McCombs of Nashville was visiting Southern California with her daughters, who were 8 and 9 at the time.

On Aug. 6, the family stayed at Value Lodge at 11854 Artesia Blvd. McCombs went to take a bath while the girls were watching a children’s TV show. Soon after, the girls somehow changed the channel to a hard-core pornographic film, said Eliot F. Krieger, McCombs’ attorney.

“It was unclear how long they were exposed to it, but they knocked on the bathroom door and said, ‘Mommy, something’s wrong,’ ” Krieger said.

During the trial, a hotel expert testified that he had never heard of a family-style hotel or motel that did not require adult verification to access pornographic films, Krieger said.


The motel owner, Charles Su, argued that guests were encouraged to tell the front desk to block access to the adult channel, said Max C. Chiang, Su’s attorney. “We offered to settle for $50,000 before the case, so it’s just $30,000 more. We’re OK,” Chiang said.

The jury at Superior Court in Norwalk awarded McCombs $65,000 in economic damages, which include medical and legal bills, and $20,000 for emotional distress, Krieger said.

“The jury did the right thing and are sending a message to other hotels,” he added.