Renowned baseballer is suing the Seminole Tribe for injuries sustained after his fall at one of their casinos.
Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Brooks Robinson, is suing the Seminole Tribe for his hard fall two years ago at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood. The renowned baseballer fell six feet from an unsecured stage at a charity event, and is now seeking $10 million for what turned out to be permanent injuries.
His lawyer, Jack Hickey, shared with the American gambling news, that the question if the 76-year-old will get the money to at least cover his medical treatment bills still remains open. The lawsuit will have lots of difficulties due to the fact that the tribe’s liability is limited in such cases by law.
Brooks Robinson is said to still experience bleeding on the brain even after two years since the event. He has cracks in the spine and lost five inches in height as a result of his fall. The baseballer is in need of constant care and according to his relatives has aged ten years since the incident.
The tribe’s liability
According to American gambling laws
and the state’s agreement with the tribe, the lawsuit payment for an injury at a tribal casino is limited to $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident. These numbers are equal to the state’s liability in cases of negligence.
According to the attorney, anyone suffering from a serious injury like his client can spend that amount of money on hospital bills pretty quickly. Moreover, the victims suing the tribe or the state can’t appeal to the Legislature for more money in case their injury treatment costs more than the limits.
Lawyer’s claims and the tribe’s reaction
Jack Hickey is appealing to the Seminole Tribe asking to waive the liability limit and pay his client $9.9 million, which will be enough to compensate for surgeries, medication and therapy. The attorney has also estimated that the baseballer lost around $3 million in income.
Brooks Robinson sues the Seminole Tribe for sustained injuries
• Baseballer fell at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood two years ago
• Tribe’s liability for injuries is limited under American gambling laws
• Robinson’s attorney says it will be very hard to get any money at all
Hickey opined that this particular case has exposed the weakness in the agreement between the state and the tribe. He was quoted in the media: “The tribe is going to make billions of dollars and then not take responsibility for it. If the state allows them to get away with it, shame on the state of Florida, and shame on the governor.”
Gary Bitner, the spokesman for the Seminole Tribe, said that the tribe has already opted to waive its complete immunity from the compact between the tribe and the state. Without such a move the injured parties would get nothing in court.
He said: “The tribe wanted to do this from the get-go for consumers to be sure that people had the sense of being protected on the property. The tribe is in the business of welcoming people to its casinos and making sure people feel they are in a safe and protected environment while they are there.” Bitner expects a fair resolution between the baseballer and the tribe, but couldn’t go into any details.
The agreement between Florida and the Seminoles
The compact reached between the state and the tribe is now under revision from Governor Rick Scott. However, the subject of the re-negotiations is what kind of gambling the tribe is allowed to offer, and not the liability for injuries.
According to Senator Bill Galvano, one of the negotiators for the compact, it is a victory that the state was able to persuade the tribe to agree to any injury liability at all. He said: “We spent a lot of time on that section because they didn’t want to waive their immunity at all and come under the jurisdiction under local and state courts. The idea was that through the very thorough pre-suit procedures most of these claims would get resolved.”
Consequences of the injury
Before the incident occurred two years ago, Robinson was attending various events on a regular basis, was present on TV and radio and was also employed as part-owner in various business ventures. Naturally, his appearances and working hours have diminished as a result of the incident. He’s now suffering from chronic back pains, and has “slowness in his thought process and speech” according to his lawyer.
All this deprived the baseballer of a considerable income and this is one of the other ground for the lawsuit. Hickey is also planning to file a federal suit later on this year. His opinion about the agreement between the state and the tribe is straightforward: “Shame on the state for allowing them to have a cap like. I’m sure the tribe has their lawyers. Who’s representing the hundreds of people on their property? I would venture to say almost nobody.”
We will continue to monitor the developments and notify our faithful readers on any changes in this case.