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Duk v. MGM Grand Hotel, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
320 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2003)


Fernando Duk (plaintiff) was drunk and disruptive at the casino of the MGM Grand Hotel, Inc. (MGM) (defendant). MGM’s security guards arrested Duk for his behavior. Duk’s wife called MGM’s security and informed them that Duk was an insulin-dependent diabetic. While in the detention room, Duk complained of lung and chest pains. MGM security called an ambulance and informed the EMTs of the lung pains, but not the chest pains. Duk was examined and later taken to jail. When he was released the next day he went to a hospital and found out that he had suffered a heart attack and as a result required a heart transplant. Duk brought suit against MGM for personal injuries resulting from MGM security’s negligence. Under Nevada law, a court will only award damages to plaintiffs who are 50 percent negligent or less. The jury was so instructed. Nonetheless, the jury returned a verdict stating that Duk was 65 percent negligent, but should be awarded $3.3 million. The district court noted the inconsistency and returned the verdict to the jury for further deliberations. Soon after, the jury returned a second verdict which stated that Duk was only 49 percent negligent and kept his damages at $3.3 million. MGM then filed a motion for a new trial based on the difference between the verdicts. The district court granted the motion and at the second trial the jury returned a verdict for MGM. Duk appealed the judgment of the district court granting the motion for new trial and the subsequent, second judgment on the merits.

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