Yes, folks, you read the headline correctly. And you are probably about to say something like “Right, and the sky is blue.” Well, the sky was slightly less blue for Mark Johnston when he awoke from a bender in Vegas only to find out that his wallet was $500,000 lighter. Like many a brave soul before him, Mr. Johnston traveled to Vegas, enjoyed a hefty amount of alcohol, and subsequently lost a staggering amount of money at a casino. Of course, none of us have experienced a booze-involved cold streak at the casino, but we have all heard horror stories.
What is unusual about Mark Johnston’s situation, apart from the fact that he lost more money in one night than the average American earns in over a decade, is that Mark Johnston has filed suit to get his money back. Mr. Johnston, a self-made millionaire, alleges that he was already intoxicated when he entered the casino. He then consumed approximately 20 drinks courtesy of the casino, and he now claims that the free alcohol caused him to “black out.” As a result, Mr. Johnston has no memory of losing the money. It will be interesting to see what happens with this case. Mr. Johnston apparently bases his claim, at least in part, on a law which prohibits casinos from serving visibly intoxicated patrons. Presumably Mr. Johnston would be within the class of people the law is meant to protect, and one could definitely argue that this is the type of harm the law is meant to prevent. However, I imagine that proving causation will be challenging. Also, the casino will likely advance numerous affirmative defenses. If I had to bet, I would wager that this case is going to be nasty and expensive for both sides.