Isiah Scimens and Andre McBroom along with a group of friends visited the Greektown Casino in Detroit in March 2018. Around 3:30 am, Scimens got into an argument with a baccarat dealer, and shortly thereafter he and his friends were asked to leave.
Being escorted by a host and a security guard, the group was exiting the casino when they passed a couple of women in the valet area. Someone from Scimens’ group proceeds to make comments toward the women.
This is when security footage shows a man, likely with the two women, retaliating and striking up an argument between the two parties. Very quickly a fight ensued as the host and security guard were not able to separate the two groups. The host then ran inside as the security guard radioed for backup. Within 30 seconds, a second guard showed up, and they again attempted to separate the groups.
The guards tried, with no success, as the unknown male drew a knife and stabbed Scimens in the face and McBroom in the leg.
Less than one minute after the fight began, Detroit police arrived at the scene and the groups separated.
Scimens and McBroom Brought a Negligence Claim Against Greektown
Scimens and McBroom stated there were material facts to be disputed about whether or not Greektown breached its duty, bringing forward a negligence claim to compensate damages for their injuries.
After hearing this, the casino moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10). They contended that the casino’s only duty was to reasonably expedite the arrival of the police, which in this case, they clearly did.
The men tried to argue that the casino shouldn’t have allowed a host to escort the group outside and they should have called the police when “imminent harm” arose.
Only half of Scimens’ and McBroom’s claims held up in a hearing.
“Specifically, liability potentially arose while Defendant’s personnel was escorting Plaintiffs’ party out of the casino, when Defendants [sic] personnel became aware of the altercation between Plaintiffs’ party and the unknown assailant’s party, and failed to summon additional security to be present in the valet area, as this constitutes a breach of Defendant’s duty of care, or at least there is a question of fact in this regard,” the trial judge of Wayne County Circut Court wrote.
The Court Decided Casino Fulfilled its Legal Duty
The panel eventually concluded that Greektown Casino did not breach its duty of care by only having one security guard escort the group out of the building. Additionally, the appellate judges addressed if Greektown “reasonably expedited” the police once its duty to respond was initiated.
“Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the defendant reasonably could have recognized a risk of imminent harm to plaintiffs once the unknown assailant — according to Scimens — made threats to their party outside the casino,” the panel wrote. “Surveillance footage established that the police arrived within about 90 seconds of this verbal confrontation, and less than one minute after the fight broke out.”
Although it wasn’t clear who called the police and logs show that the police were already patrolling the area, the officers arrived within a minute of foreseeable and imminent risk to victims.
“Plaintiffs presented no evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that defendant otherwise breached the applicable standard of care,” the judges concluded. “Accordingly, by satisfying its legal duty to respond, the defendant is entitled to summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10).”
Although the trial court agreed that Greektown’s response to the altercation was negligent, the appeals court argued that the casino fulfilled its legal duty in its response to this incident.
“The seminal case defining a merchant’s duty to respond is MacDonald v PKT, Inc.,” the panel explained. “There, our Supreme Court reaffirmed that a merchant has no obligation generally to anticipate and prevent criminal acts against its invitees.’”
Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com