Horak v. Argosy Gaming Co.

648 N.W.2d 137 (2002)

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Horak v. Argosy Gaming Co.

Iowa Supreme Court
648 N.W.2d 137 (2002)

Facts

Leticia Morales, Juan Jurado, and Gerardo Graciano drove in Morales’s car to the Belle of Sioux City riverboat casino, which was owned by Argosy Gaming Company (Argosy) (defendant). Over a three-to-four-hour period, Morales drank cocktails while playing slot machines in the casino. Morales became inebriated and loud and was forcibly removed from the casino by security personnel. Graciano had not been drinking and was tasked with driving Morales and Jurado home in Morales’s car. However, after Morales became upset with Graciano’s driving, Graciano and Jurado left the car and walked to a convenience store. While Graciano and Jurado were in the store, Morales was involved in a high-speed rollover accident and killed. At the time of the accident, Morales’s blood-alcohol content was more than twice Iowa’s legal limit. Shelly Horak (plaintiff), the administrator of Morales’s estate, sued Argosy on behalf of Morales’s three minor children. The suit alleged that Argosy had violated Iowa’s Dramshop Act (the act) by selling and serving intoxicants to Morales. Argosy asserted that federal admiralty law applied and preempted Horak’s state-law dramshop claim, even though there was no federal maritime dramshop statute or uniform body of maritime caselaw imposing common-law dramshop liability. The trial court rejected Argosy’s argument, and the case went to trial. A jury found Argosy liable and awarded $1.25 million for loss of parental consortium. Argosy appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Neuman, J.)

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