Mississippi: “$75M suit blames casino for death”

by Walter Olson on August 1, 2012

“A lawsuit alleges a Mississippi casino served so much alcohol to a man taking powerful prescription painkillers that he died on the floor of his hotel bathroom.” Additional dimension of pathos: he was at the casino spending the proceeds of a lawsuit settlement. [AP/Jackson Clarion Ledger]

{ 11 comments }

1 Ron Miller 08.01.12 at 4:27 pm

Does the $75 million part add any meaningful color to the story?

2 peter 08.01.12 at 4:46 pm

“Does the $75 million part add any meaningful color”

Hell yes. You may have noticed the parts of this website which highlights outlandish and stupidly high claims in suits. You know. Just like the tagline says ” Chronicling the high cost of our legal system”

3 Ed 08.01.12 at 5:27 pm

So the family knew this guy was there, was taking 3 different painkillers (including morphine) and other drugs, was drinking heavily, was gambling away the money, was psychotic, gave money tp a prostitute, and what did they do… they left him in the casino bar so they could take another relative home.

4 Mike 08.01.12 at 6:13 pm

Re $75M

Yes, that is hugely relevant. On top of cases that have no merit, you have cases with merit where the plaintiff presses for outlandish amounts.

This case seems to have both problems.

A lot of people think they won the lottery if they find a hair in their soup.

5 Chris Hoey 08.01.12 at 6:51 pm

Back in ancient times in Damages Courses, when I attended law school in the second half of the 50′s, my Damages professor taught that the usual rule of thumb in damage awards was a 3 to 1 ratio, that compensatory damages in negligence cases were usually 3 times the amount of special damages proved in court. Specials were the limiting predicate, so that if you negligently broke Jasha Heifetz’s arm, you’d be liable for greater sums than a neighborhood urchin’s. It seemed a logical formula at the time, but now is only good for anecdotes when hearing of damage awards such as this.

6 Max Kennerly 08.01.12 at 10:08 pm

Yes, a close family member dying in a drunken stupor is just like “winning the lottery” and “finding a hair in your soup.” Perfect analogies.

7 peter 08.02.12 at 8:50 am

Yes I agree, a very good analogy. Of course there is always the risk with an analogy that people will try to try to deride it by picking a topic outside the analogy and then pretend that it proves how bad the analogy is. Called a Strawman I believe.

8 E-Bell 08.02.12 at 9:38 am

So, this guy went to a casino to spend the proceeds of a $15,000 law suit settlement, and partied so hard – with booze, drugs and hookers – that he ended up face-down in the bathroom of his hotel room?

Imagine the party when his family has millions to spend!

9 Ron Miller 08.02.12 at 11:37 am

The amount sought in a lawsuit is not relevant to the claim. It something lawyers do to gain attention for themselves. Many states have banned ad damnum clause for this very reason. It does not reflect any real perception of the value of the cause. It is like going to the bar and saying, “I’d like to find someone who looks like Brooklyn Decker tonight.” Except the difference is that you can potentially commit legal malpractice by not asking for enough money. Because on the one in a billion the verdict is more than you ask for, you might be stuck with the ad damnum clause and a tailor made malpractice suit. (Which is why many states have eliminated them.)

I realize many of you don’t know this and love to get excited by high ad damnum clauses. But Walter knows which is why I made the comment.

10 E-Bell 08.06.12 at 10:27 am

Ron, you are correct, however I don’t know any lawyer worth his salt would wouldn’t ask for a multi-million dollar verdict in a wrongful death case.

11 peter 08.08.12 at 3:28 am

@ ron

Thanks for that info, but in what way does it not make the legal system look idiotic and well worth highlighting in a blog post?

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