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Jordan v. Premier Entertainment Biloxi, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

November 6, 2014

JASON JORDAN; ALYSSA JORDAN, Individually and on behalf of the Estate of Unborn Baby Jordan, Deceased, and on behalf of all the heirs and law and wrongful death beneficiaries of Unborn Baby Jordan, Deceased; and CHRISTOPHER SOUKUP, Plaintiffs,
v.
PREMIER ENTERTAINMENT BILOXI, LLC, doing business as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi; THE CITY OF BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI; DOE DEFENDANT ONE; JOSHUA HAMILTON, in his official and individual capacities; DOE DEFENDANT THREE; DOE DEFENDANT FOUR; DOE DEFENDANT FIVE; and DOE DEFENDANTS 6-10, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT PREMIER ENTERTAINMENT BILOXI LLC'S MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

LOUIS GUIROLA, Jr., Chief District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT are the following Motions filed by Defendant Premier Entertainment Biloxi LLC d/b/a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi ("Hard Rock" or "Defendant"): [99] Motion for Summary Judgment as to All Claims of Alyssa Jordan; [101] Motion for Summary Judgment as to All Claims of Jason Jordan; [103] Motion for Summary Judgment as to All Claims of Christopher Soukop; and [105] Motion for Summary Judgment as to Alyssa Jordan's Wrongful Death Claim.

Based on the evidence before it, the Court finds that Hard Rock's Motions for Summary Judgment should be granted. Hard Rock met its summary judgment burden on multiple claims which Plaintiffs have not addressed. Specifically, Plaintiffs failed to come forward with any evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact on their claims for premises liability, breach of fiduciary duty, and wrongful death.

Hard Rock is also entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs' negligence and reckless disregard claims with respect to alleged mistreatment at the hands of Hard Rock security personnel. Those claims seek to recover for intentional torts, and, thus, are barred by the one-year statute of limitations.

Furthermore, Hard Rock met its summary judgment burden on Plaintiffs' claims for "negligent hiring, retention, supervision, and control" and "negligent failure to discipline or take necessary corrective action, " and none of the evidence submitted by Plaintiffs in their responses shows the existence of a genuine issue for trial on these claims.

Finally, the Jordan Plaintiffs cannot state a derivative loss of consortium claim where none of their underlying claims survive summary judgment. Hard Rock's Motions for Summary Judgment should be granted and all of Plaintiffs' claims dismissed based on Plaintiffs' failure to carry their summary judgment burden and because the claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiffs Jason Jordan, Alyssa Jordan, and Christopher Soukup claim that they were injured by Hard Rock security guards and officers of the Biloxi Police Department during an altercation that occurred at the casino on November 27, 2011. They also allege that the unborn child of Jason and Alyssa Jordan died as a result of the altercation.

Plaintiffs were attending an informal social gathering of United States Air Force personnel at The Ledge Lounge inside the Hard Rock when an intoxicated Jason Jordan began arguing with another member of the group, "Airman Dorack." There is no dispute that only members of the Air Force group were involved in the initial confrontation between Jason Jordan and Airman Dorack "up to the point that Hard Rock security entered The Ledge to respond to it...." (Jason Jordan Dep. 69:20-70:1, Ex. B to Def's. Mot., ECF No. 99-2). Christopher Soukup, who was also with the group, testified that he became involved when he saw Airman Dorack "becoming verbally confrontational and visibly agitated" with Jason Jordan. (Soukup Dep. 79:3-5, Ex. D to Def's. Mot., ECF No. 99-4). Soukup stepped in and physically separated the two and "attempted to get Jordan out of the nightclub[.]" ( Id. at 79:6-13).

Plaintiffs' allegations against Hard Rock all stem from what happened when Hard Rock security personnel intervened in the altercation. Plaintiffs allege that Jason Jordan and Christopher Soukup were mistreated by the Hard Rock employees and also by the City of Biloxi police once they arrived on the scene. In support of their position, Plaintiffs submit the Affidavit of Dennis Waller, [1] whom Plaintiffs retained to offer expert testimony as a "police practices consultant and certified legal investigator." (Pls.' Mem. 8, ECF No. 140).

Waller and Plaintiffs claim that Mr. Jordan was rendered unconscious after a Hard Rock security officer placed his entire weight on Mr. Jordan for more than four minutes while Mr. Jordan was in a prone position on the floor until the Biloxi police arrived. They also claim that Hard Rock security officers handcuffed Mr. Soukop, but did not "double lock" the handcuffs, as they should have done to prevent injury. The security officers then removed Mr. Soukup to a small room, where he remained in handcuffs for a period of time before Biloxi police officers removed him.

Plaintiffs originally alleged numerous claims against Hard Rock, including negligence per se, claims of constitutional violations brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and multiple intentional torts, including assault and battery. On March 3, 2014, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims for intentional torts as untimely and also dismissed Plaintiffs' negligence per se and § 1983 claims. (Order, ECF No. 67).

Therefore, the following claims against Hard Rock, which the parties do not dispute are governed by Mississippi law, remain: (1) premises liability; (2) wrongful death; (3) negligence; (4) gross negligence; (5) negligent hiring, retention, supervision, and control; (6) loss of consortium; (7) negligent infliction of emotional distress; (8) reckless disregard for the rights and safety of others; (9) breach of nondelegable fiduciary duty; and (10) negligent failure ...


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