Kawamura v. Boyd Gaming Corp.

2015 WL 4622622 (2015)

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Kawamura v. Boyd Gaming Corp.

United States District Court for the District of Nevada
2015 WL 4622622 (2015)

Facts

Calvin Kawamura (plaintiff) and his wife were visiting Las Vegas from Hawaii. While the Kawamuras were gambling at the Main Street Station Casino (the casino) (defendant), Calvin was assaulted and robbed in the casino’s restroom by an unhoused man. Calvin was severely injured and underwent multiple medical procedures to remove blood clots from his brain. Calvin sued the casino and Boyd Gaming Corporation (Boyd) (defendant) in federal district court, alleging that Boyd and the casino had negligently failed to provide adequate security. Calvin also sought punitive damages, alleging that Boyd and the casino were grossly negligent because the casino had lax security policies and trained security personnel to focus more on watching the casino’s money than protecting the casino’s patrons. Calvin presented testimony from casino-security expert Ken Braunstein. Braunstein noted statistics showing that the casino was in an inherently dangerous neighborhood with a high risk of crime, and he opined that the casino had inadequate security and was poorly managed. Calvin also presented evidence of prior assaults and other incidents in and near the casino’s restroom, including incidents involving unhoused people loitering in the restroom and stalking casino patrons. Boyd and the casino moved for summary judgment, asserting that the casino was not an inherently dangerous place merely because it was in a dangerous neighborhood. Boyd and the casino also asserted that none of the previous crimes and incidents at the casino had involved serious injury. Additionally, Boyd and the casino contested Calvin’s gross-negligence allegations, arguing, among other things, that casino security’s actions following Calvin’s assault demonstrated enough care to avoid liability for gross negligence. Finally, Boyd and the casino moved to exclude Braunstein as an expert, asserting that Braunstein’s opinions included legal conclusions about lax security and management at the casino that could improperly determine the outcome of the case. The district court considered the motions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mahan, J.)

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