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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.