When a drunk 17 year old acts rowdy at a Nevada casino and is compelled to leave, can he sue the casino when he gets in a car wreck because he is drunk? More importantly, can he win?
The answer to the first question is that he could sue since his lawyers were trying to convince the court that a casino ought to be negligent for evicting a drunk 17 year old. Since the lawyers were trying to expand Nevada law, their lawsuit was not considered frivolous by our justices in black robes. In other words, the lawyers were trying to carve out an exception to Nevada’s lack of dram shop laws.
However, since Nevada does not have dram shop liability laws that allow people to sue taverns or casinos when they get in a wreck after driving, this 17 year old lost his case in District Court on summary judgment and lost again at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court did not agree that minors should be the exception. We Nevadan’s don’t want our biggest industry, the gaming industry, to be sued every time some drunken fool gets hurt or hurts someone.
After this decision, lawyers probably ought not try to sue under this legal theory in the future. Trying the first time could be considered “attempting to expand Nevada law” but trying again could be considered frivolous.
If you wish to read the entire decision, you may at: Rodriguez v. Primadonna Company, http://www.nevadajudiciary.us/index.php/advanced-opinions/509-rodriguez-v-primadonna-company.html
Copyright October 3, 2009
By: Anthony M. Wright, JD