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ROTH v. GOLDEN NUGGET CASINO/HOTEL

November 22, 1983

FLORENCE ROTH, Plaintiff,
v.
GOLDEN NUGGET CASINO/HOTEL, INC., doing business as GOLDEN NUGGET CASINO/HOTEL CORPORATION, GNAC, INC., doing business as GOLDEN NUGGET OF ATLANTIC CITY CORPORATION, WAYNE FINKEL, OFFICER PAMELA PETRILLO, OFFICER EDWARD DICKSON, JOHN DOE 3 and JOHN DOE 4, jointly, severally and in the alternative, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: COHEN

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in 576 F. Supp.]

 ORDER

 This matter having come before the Court on a motion by the defendants for summary judgement; and

 For the reasons set forth in the Court's opinion filed this day;

 It is on this 22nd day of November, 1983, ORDERED that defendants' motion for summary judgment as to the first, second, third, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth counts of the plaintiff's complaint be and the same is hereby denied;

 It is further ORDERED that defendants' motion for summary judgment as to the fourth count of the plaintiff's complaint be and the same is hereby granted.

 This action, seeking damages arising from the alleged wrongful arrest of the plaintiff by the defendants on November 27, 1981, is before the Court on motion of the defendants seeking summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. For the reasons that follow, this Court shall grant the defendants' motion as to Count Four of the plaintiff's complaint, alleging defamation, but shall deny summary judgment as to all other counts enumerated therein, including false imprisonment, false arrest, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, malicious prosecution, negligence, liability based on respondeat superior, and punitive damages for intentional wrongdoing.

 In order to properly appreciate the factual circumstances surrounding the plaintiff's arrest, which gave rise to the case at bar, it is necessary to first examine an earlier incident which occurred on July 12, 1981. On that date, the plaintiff, Florence Roth, was evicted from the casino premises of the defendant, Golden Nugget, on the ground that she was a "nuisance." The litigants differ regarding upon what factual basis the casino concluded that the plaintiff was a "nuisance." According to Roth, she was labelled a nuisance and evicted "because she lost all of her money gambling, became weak, and asked for a glass of orange juice." Plaintiff's brief at 3. The defendants assert that the plaintiff was evicted because she was disturbing other casino patrons by asking them for money and because she had disregarded previous warnings not to enter the casino with large shopping bags, and had again entered the casino with such bags. Defendants' reply brief at 1.

 The defendants claim that Roth was told, at the time of her eviction, "that she could not return to the premises." Defendants' brief at 1. Although the defendants assert that the plaintiff does not dispute being told not to return, there does not appear to be any evidence in the form of admissions, depositions or otherwise indicating any such concession by the plaintiff. Neither does the defendants' brief refer to any such evidence.

 On November 27, 1981, defendants, Pamela Petrillo and Edward Dickson, without a warrant, arrested Roth when she entered the Golden Nugget casino, which arrest gave rise to this suit. At the time of the arrest, Petrillo and Dickson were acting in the course of their employment as security guards for defendant, Golden Nugget. According to the defendants, Roth was recognized as someone who had previously been evicted and told not to return to the casino. According to Roth, the security guards surrounded her and ordered her to accompany them to the Security Command Post. Plaintiff's brief at 2. According to the defendants, the security guards checked their records and concluded that Roth was a trespasser. They then called the local police who arrived at the casino shortly thereafter and escorted Roth to the Atlantic City police headquarters. Once at police headquarters, formal trespassing charges were filed against Roth.

 The defendants admit that their sole basis for detaining Roth on November 27, 1981 was the belief that she was trespassing on the casino premises as a consequence of her earlier eviction therefrom and the defendant security officers' alleged direction to her at that time that she was not to return. See defendants' answer to interrogatory No. 4. In addition, Roth testified during deposition proceedings that subsequent to her July eviction, and prior to her November arrest, she had visited the defendants' casino as many as 20 times without any objection ever having been raised by any of the defendant Golden Nugget's personnel.

 Summary judgment practice in this Court is governed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, unaffected by state procedural rules. Schultz v. Newsweek, Inc., 668 F.2d 911, 917 (6th Cir. 1982). Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) provides that summary judgment will be granted if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating that there is clearly no genuine issue of fact and all doubts will be resolved against the moving party. Adickes v. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 26 L. Ed. 2d 142, 90 S. Ct. 1598 (1969); Janek v. Celebrezze, 336 F.2d 828, 834 (3d Cir. 1964).

 In the case at bar, the defendants seek summary judgment as to all counts contained in the plaintiff's complaint. As previously noted, that complaint comprises the following causes of action: false imprisonment; false arrest; assault and battery; defamation; intentional infliction of emotional distress; malicious prosecution; and negligence. Roth's complaint also alleges that the defendants' acts were malicious and intentional, thereby justifying a recovery of punitive damages. Finally, Roth asserts that Golden Nugget is liable based on the theory of respondeat superior. Golden Nugget offers no argument challenging the plaintiff's conclusion that it is liable under such theory if the conduct of its co-defendant employees is actionable on any of the ...


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