Hotel guest ejected from casino has accident on icy highway: Is hotel liable?

Hotel guest ejected from casino has accident on icy highway: Is hotel liable?

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In this week’s article, we examine the case of James v. Eldorado Casino Shreveport Joint Venture, No. 51.707-AC (La. App. 2d Cir. 2017) wherein the Court noted that “On February 22, 2015, Plaintiff, a resident of Minden. Louisiana, parked his car in the garage across the street from the Eldorado hotel in Shreveport and then checked into the hotel for a two-night stay. He came to Shreveport to seek refuge from an ice storm which had been predicted for the area. He gambled in the Eldorado casino the first night and spent the night in his room. The next morning, he allegedly went back to the casino to gamble; however, he encountered a waitress who was rude to him. He lodged a complaint with the waitress’s supervisor and decided to return to his room. A hotel security officer met him and accused him of ‘picking up people’s player’s cards’ and of lying to the security officer about being in the casino earlier that day. The security officer gave Plaintiff three choices: (1) he could leave the casino voluntarily; (2) he could be forcibly evicted from the property; or (3) he could be arrested and thrown in jail. Plaintiff chose to leave the hotel voluntarily. Although the State Police warned people not to travel on an icy and dangerous I-20 unless absolutely necessary, Plaintiff left the Eldorado hotel, drove his car out of the garage and began traveling on I-20 heading east toward Minden. He lost control of his car and ran off the Interstate near mile marker 34…and crashed his car into the steel cable barrier on the left side of the Interstate…Plaintiff filed suit against the Eldorado, claiming that his accident…(was) caused by the Eldorado employees (and) the Eldorado was liable since it intentionally forced him to leave the property when weather and road conditions were very dangerous, it failed to exercise reasonable care to protect him…breached its contract with him, since he checked into the hotel for a two-night stay for the express purpose of avoiding travel in the winter weather”. Complaint dismissed because of no duty.

Terror Targets Update

Parkland, Florida

In Benner, Mazzei & Goldman, F.B.I. Was Warned of Florida Suspect’s Desire to Kill but Did Not Act, nytimes (2/16/2018) it was noted that “The F.B.I. received a tip last month from someone close to Nikolas Cruz that he owned a gun and had talked of committing a school shooting, the bureau revealed Friday, but it acknowledged that it had failed to investigate. The tipster, who called an F.B.I. hotline on Jan. 5, told the bureau that Mr. Cruz had a ‘desire to kill people, erratic behavior and disturbing social media posts’, the F.B.I. said. The information should have been assessed and forwarded to the Miami F.B.I. field office, the bureau said. But that never happened. On Wednesday, Mt. Cruz, 19, killed 17 students and teachers of his former high school in Parkland, Fla.”.

“Run, Hide, Fight”

In Hauser, What to Do When There’s an Active Shooter, nytimes (2/16/2018) it was noted that “With mass shootings in schools, theaters, churches and workplaces, experts in threat assessment have come up with advice about what to do. This a grim topic for an advice article…But experts say mass shootings have become so frequent and deadly in the United States that people should think in advance about how they will respond if the worst happens. In general, they have settled on a simple guideline, ‘run, hide, fight’”.

Podgorica, Montenegro

In Surk, U.S. Embassy in Montenegro Is Attacked, but Only the Assailant Is Killed, nytimes (2/21/2018) it was noted that “A man threw an explosive device onto the grounds of the United States Embassy in Montenegro late Wednesday but succeeded in killing only himself…Montenegrin authorities said the assailant had committed suicide and had not yet been identified”.

Lashio, Myanmar

In Beech & Nang, A Bombing in Northern Myanmar Signals Strife Beyond the Rohingya, nytimes (2/21/2018) it was noted that “A bomb exploded at a bank in northern Myanmar on Wednesday, killing at least two people and wounding 22 others…The explosion occurred in the often lawless city of Lashio, in northern Shan State, which has been torn apart by ethnic strife and battles to control smuggling networks. Yoma Bank, one of Mynamar’s largest commercial banks, confirmed that two of its employees…had been killed”

Maiduguri, Nigeria

In Searcey, Three Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 18 in Nigeria, nytimes (2/17/2018) it was noted that “An attack by three suicide bombers has left at least 18 people dead and more than 20 others wounded at a fish market outside the sprawling Nigerian city that gave rise the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram…The bombers set off explosives on Friday at the market…No one claim responsibility for the attacks, but they were similar to scores of others in and around the city in the past few months”.

Boko Haram Storms Girls School

In Searcey & Akinwotu, Boko Haram Storms Girls’ School in Nigeria, Renewing Fears, nytimes (2/21/2018) it was noted that “Islamist militants stormed into a girls’ school in northern Nigeria this week, and with many girls still unaccounted for, Nigerians feared their country was experiencing a notorious mass abduction like one that drew worldwide condemnation almost four years ago…More than 50 students were still missing…Late Wednesday, local media outlets reported that the girls had been rescued, but that would not be verified”.

Nightmare Cruise Docks In Melbourne

In Hinchliffe, ‘Nightmare cruise’ docks in Melbourne after major brawl, smh (2/27/2018) it was noted that “Angry and shaken passengers have accused security staff of excessive violence during a mass brawl that broke out on the Carnival Legend cruise ship. The holidaymakers claimed heavy-handed security staff aggravated the situation on the ship, where members of a large extended family were involved in the major brawl and other violent incidents. Despite passengers call for a full refund, Carnival said on Saturday it would offer them 25 per cent off their cruise with the company as a ‘goodwill gesture’… More than 20 members of the family were booted off the ship on Friday after the vicious brawl forced the vessel to make an unscheduled atop in Eden on the NSW south coast”.

Searching For Iran Plane Crash Site

In Erdbrink, Iran Plane Crash Leads to Search-and-Rescue Effort at 14,500 feet, nytimes (2/19/2018) it was noted that “Search-and-rescue workers continued to scour a mountainous region in Iran on Monday for a plane that crashed a day earlier, most likely killing all 66 people on board. Because of bad weather conditions, the rescue teams have been unable to fly over the crash site in helicopters. Instead they have climbed Mount Dena, which has an elevation of about 14,500 feet. As of Monday afternoon, the teams had not found any debris from the plane, which was operated by Iran Aseman Airlines”.

Most Dangerous U.S. Vacation Places

In Byrnes, The Most Dangerous Vacation Places in the U.S., msn (2/22/2018) it was noted that “The FBI has broken down data on violent crimes throughout the U.S. Murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault fall into that category. It covers the January to June 2016-2017 time period. The agency has included cities with a population of at least 100,000 residents. It collects these data through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, which includes the number of reported offences (28 slides with city by city data)”.

Don’t Fence Pronghorn Antelopes In, Please

In Robbins, Animals Are Losing Their Vagility, or Ability to Roam Freely, nytimes (2/19/2018) it was noted that “Snow comes early to the Teton mountain range and when it does the white-bottomed pronghorn that live here get the urge to move. Following an ancient rhythm, they migrate more than 200 miles to the south, where the elevation is lower, winter is milder, and grass is easier to find. Come the spring green-up, they make the second half of the round trip, returning to the Grand Teton National Park. After thousands of years, biologists are concerned about the future of this migration pattern. While there have been efforts to protect the journey, such as highway overpasses and antelope-friendly fences, some new barriers are looming. Most immediate is the prospect of 3,500 new gas wells planned on federal land at the southern end of the pronghorn’s migratory path. And then there’s the nearby Jonah Natural Gas Field, which is already intensively developed”.

Cape Town ‘Day Zero’ Push Back

In Pena, Cape Town Pushes Back ‘Day Zero’ as Residents Conserve Water, nytimes (2/20/2018) it was noted that “Cape Town residents have drastically lowered their water use, allowing their drought-plagued city to push back the dreaded ‘Day Zero’ when the system is expected to run dry, by more than 10 weeks. Just three weeks ago, officials were predicting that Cape Town would reach Day Zero – a first for a major city in modern times – in late April, forcing four million residents to line up at collection points to receive water rations from trucks. Now, after three postponements, the city predicts that it will reach that crisis point on July 9″.

Life On A Remote Island

In Seelye, Life on an Island: Silence, Beauty and a Long Wait for the Ferry, nytimes (2/23/2018) it was noted that “On remote islands off the coast of Maine, small bands of residents stay through the long winter. They embrace the emptiness and a frontier sensibility…The rocky sea islands reflect Maine’s independent character. They are steeped in rich history and are cherished by the many Down Easterners who visit in the summer. But the ban on full-time residents has diminished. The number of Maine islands where people live year-around has dwindled to just 15 today, from a high of about 300 a century ago. This winter, only 20 people are living on Matinicus. State agencies and nonprofit organizations have tried to stem the loss of year-around populations by giving islanders guarantees of a certain number of lobster licenses, grants for affordable housing and upgrades to their internet speed”. Enjoy.

The Beijing Waldorf Astoria

In Bradsher & Stevenson, Beijing Takes Over Anbang, Insurer That Owns Waldorf Astoria, nytimes (2/22/2018) it was noted that “The Chinese government said on Friday that it had seized control of Anbang Insurance Group, the troubled Chinese company that owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel and other marquee properties around the world, and it had charged the company’s former chairman with economic crimes. The move is Beijing’s biggest effort yet to rein in a new kind of globally ambitious Chinese company. Anbang and other like it spent billions of dollars around the world buying up hotels and other high-profile properties. The deals illustrated China’s growing economic might but fed into concerns that rising debt levels could slow growth in the world’s second-largest economy, behind the United States”.

Measles In Europe Quadrupled

In McNeil, Measles Cases in Europe Quadrupled in 2017, nytimes (2/23/2018) it was noted that “Measles cases soared in Europe last year, and at least 35 children died of the highly infectious disease, according to the World Health Organization. The virus found its way into pockets of unvaccinated children all over the continent, from Romania to Britain. The number of recorded cases quadrupled, to 21,215 in 2017 from 5,273 in 2016, a record low. The biggest outbreak last year was in Romania, where there were 5,562 cases and which accounted for most of the deaths. The country’s large rural Roma population – also known as Gypsies – often do not vaccinate their children and may not take them to hospitals promptly when they fall ill. The country also has an underfunded public health system”.

Patagonia National Park

In Bonnefoy, With 10 Million Acres in Patagonia, a National Park System Is Born, nytimes (2/19/2018) it was noted that “An eagle soared over the lone house atop an arid hill in the steppes of Patagonia Park. In the valley below, not far from the town of Cochrane, President Michelle Bachelet announced the creation of a vast national park system in Chile stretching from Hornopiren, 715 miles south of the capital, Santiago, to Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America, where Chile splinters into fjords and canals. The park is the brainchild of Kristine McDivitt Tompkins and her husband, Douglas Tompkins, who founded The North Face and Espirit clothing companies, and starting in 1991, put $345 million-much of his fortune-buying large swaths of Patagonia…Tompkins Conservation, an umbrella group of conservation initiatives the couple directed, proposed a deal to the Chilean government: It would donate more than one million acres of their preserved and restored territory to Chile if the government committed additional lands and designated new parks to create a Patagonian national park system”. Bravo.

Return That Terra-Cotta Thumb, Please

In Ramzy, American Is Charged With Stealing Terra-Cotta Warrior’s Thumb, nytimes (2/19/2018) it was noted that “The warrior was a symbol of martial strength, modeled from terra cotta and buried more than 2,000 years ago with China’s first emperor to defend him in battle. The statue was helpless, however, against a man in a green sweater and a Phillies hat who, the authorities say, sneaked into a closed-off area during a party at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and stole its thumb. The man, who was attending the museum’s after-hours ugly-sweater party…put his arm around the statue and took a selfie…He grabbed the left hand of the statue, which is valued at $4.5 million and broke off his thumb”.

Party Never Ends In Trinidad

In MacLeod, In Post-Carnival Trinidad, the Party Never Really Ends, nytimes (2/22/2018) it was noted that “Now that the feathers and the sparkles and the high-octane soca music have left the streets of the Trinidadian capital of Port of Spain for another year, what’s left is what is referred to as the feeling of ‘tabanca’. It’s a post-Carnival malaise that some say is only cured by more bacchanal. Port of Spain may be the best known for its exuberant annual Mardi Gras that ended Feb. 13, but even when the Trinidadian capital’s streets are not flooded with costumed revelers, it remains home to a vibrant arts scene”.

Hotel Gets $6 Million Tax Break

In Eder & Protess, Hotel Carrying New Trump Brand Secures $6 Million Tax Break, nytimes (2/21/2018) it was noted that “The State of Mississippi on Wednesday awarded a tax break worth up to $6 million for a hotel project involving the Trump family business, a public subsidy that could indirectly benefit President Trump. The board of the Mississippi Development Authority approved the so-called tourism tax rebate, which had been requested by the development’s local owners, Dinesh and Suresh Chawla. The Trump Organization will brand and manage the hotel and collect fees from the Chawlas for doing so”.

Borneo Orangutans Goodbye

In Cochrane, Borneo Lost More Than 100,000 Orangutans From 1999 to 2015, nytimes (2/15/2018) it was noted that “Around half of all orangutans on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo-nearly 150,000 in all-vanished during a recent 16-year period. The causes including logging, land clearance for agriculture and mining that destroyed their habitats, according to a study in Current Biology released on Thursday. However, many orangutans also disappeared from more intact, forested areas, the researchers say, suggesting that hunting and other direct conflicts between orangutans and humans remain a major threat to the species”.

Cashless Restaurants

In McCart, The Problem With Cashless Restaurants, eater (2/15/2018) it was noted that “Though cashless restaurants are on the rise, some argue that going cashless is more than just an inconvenience. A host of factors-including lack of a permanent address, banks’ minimum balance requirements and lack of identification-prevent a sizable swath of the population from being able to obtain a credit or debit card. Going cashless, boxes people out and reinforces the stratification of society, between the young and the old, rich and poor and the legal and undocumented customers in all the diverse corners of the United States. A private business like a restaurant is not legally required to take U.S. currency. Massachusetts is the exception. A 1978 law states that no retailer “shall discriminate against a gash buyer by requiring the use of credit, the Boston Globe reported”.

Chinese Casino On Saipan

In Campbell, Cash-spewing Chinese casino conquers remote American paradise, msn (2/17/2018) it was noted that “Construction workers maimed and killed. Millions paid to the governor’s family. An impossibly lucrative gambling operation. And all on U.S. soil…To get a sense of Saipan’s isolation for the lower 48, imagine flying from Denver to Honolulu. Then fly that far again. Then go further still. Saipan (pop. 48,000) is nevertheless American soil, with U.S. dollars, U.S. mail and U.S. laws. But the place has seemed less and less like American since 2014, when a Chinese casino operator arrived and-with near impunity, turned Saipan into a back door to the U.S. financial system. At a temporary storefront, the company, Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd., was somehow handling more than $2 billion a month of VIP bets…Given Macau’s status as a hub for industrial-scale money laundering, the Saipan figures have left gaming veterans astonished that they could be generated on U.S. soil, under Washington’s ostensible oversight. Eight casino executives and analysts interviewed for this story…said they saw no way such volumes could be generated legitimately…The strongest desire among China’s wealthy is to get their money – ill-gotten or otherwise – out of the country, safe from the threat of government seizure. One prevalent method of magicking money across the border…begins with companies called junkets. The bring wealthy clients from the mainland, where gambling is illegal, to the VIP rooms of casinos in Macau. There the junkets extend the clients credit to play baccarat, a game of luck at which they’re likely to win or lose a negligible amount. At the end of play, clients cash out their balance in the currency of their choice. The debt is collected in yuan, in China. Everybody wins: the clients have converted yuan into dollars or Euros or sterling and the middlemen get a cut”.

How Much Do Flight Attendants Earn?

In Calfas, Here’s how much flight attendants really make, msn (2/17/2018) it was noted that “For flight attendants, …their salary completely depends on the number of hours an aircraft is in flight. This means how much a flight attendant makes does not incorporate boarding, taxiing, flight delays, flight cancellations or anything else that prevents a flight from taking off. So how much does the average flight attendant make…between $23,000 or $25,000 a year to upwards of $80,000 a year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale… (Some flight attendants, however, have shared online and in an interview with Money that they make as low as $18,000 a year)”.

Great American Road Trip

In Rosenbloom, The Great American Road Trip: Shorter and More Popular Than Ever, nytimes (2/16/2018) it was noted that “If ever there was any doubt about the state of the American road trip, the latest research seems to squash it, finding that more travelers are driving hundreds of miles to explore unfamiliar places, even if they have only four or five days to do it…Road trips represented some 22 percent of vacations taken by United States travelers in 2015, but a year later that number jumped to 39 percent, according to MMGY Global’s 2017-2018 Portrait of American Travelers, a report compiled from nearly 3,000 interviews with leisure travelers”.

Travel Law Cases Of The Week

In the James case the Court noted that “Plaintiff argues that the court erred in finding the Eldorado had no duty to him when it caused him to leave the premises in an ice storm. He asserts that the Eldorado had a duty to provide him with a safe haven from the ice storm since his main reason for traveling to Shreveport was to spend the night at the hotel. He claims that, but for being told to leave the hotel he would not have ventured onto the icy highway and would not have been involved in the accident…The Eldorado argues…that it had no duty to Plaintiff because it is not liable for risks not located on its premises and it had no duty to ensure that Plaintiff maintained control of his vehicle”.

Louisiana Law

“The allegations in Plaintiff’s petition imply liability should be imposed upon the Eldorado based on general principals found in La. C.C. arts. 2315 and 2317. La. C.C. art 2315 states that every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it. La. C.C. art. 2317 states that persons are responsible not only for their own acts, but for those acts of other persons for whom they are responsible, as well as the things over which a person has custody, which may cause harm to others. In regard to damage caused by ruin, vice or defect in things, La. C.C. art. 2317.1 states the owner or custodian of a thing is answerable for damages occasioned by is ruin, vice or defect only upon a showing that he knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of those defects which caused damage, and yet he failed to exercise reasonable care”.

Was There A Duty Owed?

“A threshold issue in any negligence action under the duty/risk analysis is whether the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty…The duty/risk analysis consists of the following four-prong inquiry: (1) Was the conduct in question a substantial factor in bringing about the harm to the plaintiff, i.e., was it a cause-in-fact of the harm which occurred? (2) Did the defendant(s) owe a duty to the plaintiff? (3) Was the duty breached? (4) Was the risk and harm caused, within the scope of protection afforded by the duty breached…Under a duty/risk analysis, all four inquiries must be affirmatively answered for plaintiff to recover”.

Reasonable Care

“A hotel owes a duty to its patrons to exercise reasonable and ordinary care, including maintaining the premises in a reasonably safe and suitable condition…Although the keepers of inns, lodging houses or restaurants are not the insurers of the safety of their guests, they are under an obligation to exercise, at least, ordinary or reasonable care to keep them from injury. The duty imposed on a business to provide a safe place for is customers applies to the premises, but not to adjacent property unless the business created the hazard which causes the injury”.

No Causation

“Plaintiff’s petition contains no allegations that the injury he suffered was caused by the Eldorado’s failure to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the premises in a reasonably safe and suitable condition. In fact, any damage sustained by Plaintiff occurred off the premises of the casino and hotel and on the state highway when he lost control of his vehicle and left the roadway. Once Plaintiff left the Eldorado casino and hotel, it had no duty to protect him from himself or from his impulse to drive under unreasonably dangerous and icy conditions”.


“It was Plaintiff’s responsibility to maintain control of his own motor vehicle and it was his decision to undertake the risky drive home. For the foregoing reasons, we find that the Eldorado did not owe Plaintiffs a duty to protect him against the harm alleged in his petition, and the trial court correctly sustained the exception of no cause of action and found that the law does not provide a remedy to anyone under the facts alleged in Plaintiff’s petition”.

The author, Thomas A. Dickerson, is a retired Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department of the New York State Supreme Court and has been writing about Travel Law for 42 years including his annually updated law books, Travel Law, Law Journal Press (2018), Litigating International Torts in U.S. Courts, Thomson Reuters WestLaw (2018), Class Actions: The Law of 50 States, Law Journal Press (2018) and over 500 legal articles. For additional travel law news and developments, especially, in the member states of the EU see

This article may not be reproduced without the permission of Thomas A. Dickerson.

Read many of Justice Dickerson’s articles here.

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