ILNews

Justices to hear compulsive gambling case

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2009
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The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases Thursday, including a suit in which a woman claims a casino took advantage of her gambling addiction.

Arguments begin at 9 a.m. in Caesars Riverboat Casino LLC v. Genevieve Kephart, No. 31S01-0909-CV-303. Caesars originally filed a suit against Genevieve Kephart after she failed to repay a gambling debt. The casino sought repayment, treble damages, and attorney fees. But Kephart counterclaimed, arguing the casino unjustly enriched itself because it knew she had a pathological gambling problem.

The trial court denied Caesars' motion to dismiss her counterclaim and on interlocutory appeal, a split Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in the matter of first impression. The appellate court held Kephart didn't have a private cause of action against the casino under the circumstances of the case, and that casinos don't have a common law duty to protect compulsive gamblers from themselves.

In his dissent, Judge Terry Crone believed a common law duty should be imposed because of the casino's conduct in luring Kephart to the casino with freebies, and because it knew of her condition, it could have excluded her from any marketing efforts.

At 9:45 a.m., the justices will hear Ford Motor Co. and TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc. v. Sally J. Moore, No. 73S05-0909-CV-404, a suit alleging product liability negligence against Ford Motor Co. and TRW Vehicle Safety Systems. The jury returned a verdict assigning fault among Daniel Moore, Ford, TRW, and nonparty Goodyear, which resulted in damage judgments against Ford and TRW. Sally Moore brought the suit following the death of Daniel, who was ejected from his Ford Explorer after his car blew a tire, even though he was wearing a properly fastened seatbelt made by TRW.

The appellate court reversed the jury verdict because the estate didn't present sufficient evidence to establish its claim. Judge Patricia Riley dissented, believing the estate had sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could have concluded a safer and feasible alternative to the conventional seatbelt was available that would have cost-effectively improved aggregate safety in all types of crashes.

Finally, at 10:30 a.m. the high court will hear Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Gary Patrick, No. 49S02-0909-CV-402. The trial court entered a judgment allowing Gary Patrick, the father of a patient who died as a result of medical malpractice, to collect from the Patient's Compensation Fund for damages under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute, and for damages attributable to his own claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress under the "bystander rule."

The Court of Appeals affirmed, ruling Patrick's asserting for damages as a bystander was pursuant to Groves v. Taylor, 729 N.E.2d 569 (Ind. 2000), and because he dealt with the aftermath of the malpractice, he was able to bring an independent claim for damages for emotional distress in conjunction with his claim under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute.

The oral arguments will be webcast live and a link will be available two minutes prior to the start time of an argument. The links may be accessed by going to http://www.in.gov/judiciary, and clicking on the case name on the right side of the page under "Upcoming live webcasts."
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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