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. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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