Federal jury awards patron $200,000 for false imprisonment by Venetian security guards, and wrongful hotel room eviction

A bully before jury verdict

The $200,000 jury verdict against Venetian for abusing a patron is great news. Many casino managers somehow believe that their hotel operations are not subject to the laws and regulations that apply to innkeepers. Just as they run their casinos, these cretins believe their hotels are “above the law” and not subject to the normal rules of civilized society. This jury just set the bullies at Venetian straight. I know there are other, similar cases pending. Let’s hope this verdict opens the floodgates. The common casino industry practice of kicking people out of their hotel rooms for using their brains to win, or just because someone employed by the casino doesn’t like them, is despicable. Congratulations to Bob Nersesian and Thea Sankiewicz for another great job and congratulations to the jurors for having the courage to stand up to the bullies.

Originally posted on BJ21.com Green Chip

LAS VEGAS – The jury verdict was delivered (Wednesday). Here is what I know so far, and my impressions from having read the court file: This case began in 2004. The victim is not an advantage player; just an average casino patron from New York. His room was paid for, not comped. It appears to be a case where no one employed by the Venetian used any common sense. The Venetian employees seemed to be hell-bent on escalating a minor incident. Racial overtones appear to be involved as well; the patron/victim is African-American.

The guards appear to have grossly overreacted to a petty situation, and a front desk manager, now employed at the Wynn, worsened the problem by wanting to evict the patron from his room for no logical reason. Subsequently one of the guards made a dubious citizen’s arrest, and, according to the guard’s own written statement, chained the patron to the floor of the security room. The patron, prior to being arrested by the private-citizen security guard, had offered to leave the premises, but refused to allow the guards access to his paid-for room. The guards admitted he several times offered to leave the premises. Metro eventually became involved, and arrested the patron for trespassing, apparently based on falsified or embellished information by one or more of the guards.

No criminal charges were filed against the patron. But while the patron was in the Clark County Detention Center, Venetian guards entered and ransacked his room, piled his belongings into garbage bags, then dumped the bags in the basement. The room safe was opened by a Venetian employee. The patron’s personal property, including cash and other valuables, were removed and stored.All this was done despite the fact that the room had been paid for in advance. In fairness to Venetian, apparently nothing was stolen by the guards.

It appears that the jury award was for the false arrest, false imprisonment, and the breach of innkeeper’s duties by the Venetian. Surprisingly, the Venetian stipulated that it had ratified the actions of the low-level employees involved. The victim was represented by Bob Nersesian, author of Beat the Players, Thea Sankiewicz, and Barry Levinson.

The front desk manager who is now employed at the Wynn did not respond to an email requesting comment.

Case information:
United States District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas)
CASE #: 2:07-cv-01032-JCM-PAL: Lockhart v Venetian Casino Resort, LLC, et al
James C. Mahan, Judge presiding

Link to news article

Another incident and jury award involving Venetian security guards:

False imprisonment verdict of over $70,000 against Tao nightclub in Venetian



  1. Having been rudely evicted [twice] from Hotels in Las vegas I am interested in cases such as these.

    Precisely what is meant by “The guards appear to have grossly overreacted to a petty situation.”

    There is not much leeway in the connotations of “petty” but I want to know what had transpired. It MUST be part of the court proceedings.

  2. Now comes the lengthy appeal process and the Venetian’s reminder that Remittur is the power of the appellate court to reduce a jury award as excessive and the result of passion or prejudice rather than a reasoned compensatory award.

    Still, its good to see things like this getting good jury verdicts.

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