|Aztar Corp., the parent company of the Tropicana Casino, has won a summary judgment in court which dismisses against it a federal lawsuit that claimed a problem gambler’s condition was aggravated by the casino’s indifference to his addiction. |
The case was filed last year in Indiana by David Williams, 52, now an unemployed Indiana Department of Revenue auditor. Williams’ lawyer, Terry Noffsinger, built a case that documented Williams' “long and embarrassing spiral downward through the circles of Hell,” U.S. District Court Judge John Tinder wrote. But in his decision Judge Tinder also wrote, “... despite his counsel's creative efforts and regardless of Williams' sympathetic plight neither federal nor Indiana law provides him any refuge or reward.”
Williams lost an estimated $175,000 at the casino. He also lost his home and filed for bankruptcy. Williams did not specify the damages he sought from Tropicana, but claimed that the casino’s parent company, Aztar, had “violated federal and state racketeering laws and had committed tortuous breaches of duty and fraud,” Rod Smith writes in the Las Vegas Wire.
Attorney Noffsinger has not decided as yet whether he will appeal the decision, and said, “The problem of pathological gambling is still here. What the courts will do about it and what the companies will do to address it is still up in the air.”
A court source reportedly said “it would be difficult to persuade an appeals court to overturn the trial court,” wrote Smith.
Joe Cole, a spokesman for Aztar, said: “We are gratified by the court's ruling which simply upheld the law. Patronizing a casino is a matter of personal choice and individual responsibility and the court recognized that.”