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Ten Years Later: Ruling Finds Casino Liable for Gang Fight Injuries

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Harrah'sTen years and six lawsuits ago, a deadly battle between two biker gangs, The Hell’s Angels and The Mongols, exploded at a Laughlin, Nevada, Harrah’s casino. It was during the River Run, a motorcycle rally that attracts thousands of people every year. On April 27, 2002, the rival gangs clashed, resulting in three of their members being killed along with several casino guests who were injured.

MSNBC tracks some of the consequences of that fateful night:

Shot to death in the first multiple murders on a Nevada casino floor were Hells Angels members Jeramie Bell, 27, and Robert Tumelty, 50. Stabbed to death was Mongols member Anthony Barrera, 43.

Six members of the Hells Angels were sent to prison in 2006; charges against 36 others were dismissed. Six members of the Mongols motorcycle club were sentenced in 2007.

Frederick Donahue, a Hells Angel from Rodeo, Calif., vanished after indictments were handed down following the 2002 melee. He surrendered in 2008 and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Additionally, a number of hotel guests were injured, and it is because of them that this decade-old incident is once again newsworthy. This is the first in a series of lawsuits in which the court has found in favor of the plantiff. Michael Frank of BlackJackChamp.com takes note:

Now nearly a decade later, some of the casino players who were injured can finally relax, because a jury decided on November 3 that Harrah’s Laughlin is liable for injuries sustained by bystanders. Casino officials are being accused of not taking adequate action when they saw trouble coming.

This liability issue has been in and out of court many times since the gang fight. Five federal-level lawsuits and at least one California state lawsuit have been brought over the years, and in each prior case the plantiffs have lost. Fortunately, none of them seem to have been directly injured by the weaponry that night, but one can get hurt easily when frantically fleeing the bullets. Frank writes,

Plaintifs include Michael Bower who suffered a back injury as he dove to the floor amidst crossfire between the Hell’s Angels and Mongols, along with Andrea and Dean Daniels who were enjoying a blackjack card game when they had to take to the floor for their own safety.

A Clark County District Court eight-person jury was scheduled to reconvene last Friday to start the process of determining  the dollar amount of damages.

Image by Cliff1066(tm), used under its Creative Commons license.

 

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