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, and clicking on the case name on the right side of the page under "Upcoming live webcasts."

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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.