Family Sues Over Anthrax Hoax At Knoxville Motel

Knoxville (AP) -- A Mount Juliet family has filed a lawsuit over an anthrax hoax in Knoxville.

Derek and Linda Groton and their two year-old grandson checked into a Motel 6 earlier this month and were caught up in the hoax, mistakenly thinking their room was contaminated by anthrax. A hazardous materials team slid protective clothing through the door and told the Grotons to bathe and put on the suits.

The lawsuit filed by Knoxville attorney Mark Hartsoe claims the family waited in their room, devastated and believing they were going to die.

A housekeeper at the motel had found a note earlier in the room that read, "itchy, itchy, you've been exposed to anthrax."

Authorities said the motel manager Haven Gopal threw the note away, and later remembered it when the housekeeper went to the emergency room complaining of itchy and watery eyes. She later turned out to be fine.

The family sued motel operators and owners Accor North America, Haven Neal Investment Group LLC and Gopal.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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