Sean Oaks tried to enter The Pool After Dark, a nightclub inside Harrah’s Resort and Casino, at approximately 10 p.m. on May 14, 2014. Upon entering, Oaks provided his Pennsylvania driver’s license to security personnel; the security officers then began to bend his license in what appeared to be an attempt to break or damage the card. Security then refused to return Oaks’ driver’s license to him.
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Despite Oaks’ attempts to get his license back, the security personnel and employees threw him to the floor, where he was kicked, punched, kneed, stomped on, and pummeled. The assault took place in full view of in-house security cameras and other employees of Harrah’s, and the defendants continued to humiliate, bully, and violently attack Oaks.
After being assaulted, Oaks was defenseless in a crouched position on the casino floor and remembers one of his attackers say, “Break his arms if you have to.” Oaks was then unlawfully detained using handcuffs and taken to a holding area against his will.
According to court documents, the security personnel caused physical harm by stepping, punching, kicking, kneeing, and stomping on his body, applying unnecessary pressure, and inflicting pain, fear of death, great anxiety, and emotional distress.
Oaks’ civil suit alleges negligence, assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, breach of promise to provide safe and secure premises for guests, false imprisonment, false arrest, and enterprise liability; Oaks is also seeking punitive damages for the egregious and intentional nature of the attack.
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Harrah’s Resort and Casino has a history of negligence and assault by security guards. Anthony Flora, 36, was assaulted back in 2012 by four security guards, who knocked him unconscious and left him with broken teeth, bruised ribs, and a bleeding eye. Two cab drivers were assaulted by security outside the resort in 2011, and a family of three was assaulted out of the blue by security guards in 2012.
“The conduct and attack by and through defendant individuals, agents, servants, and employees of the defendant corporations, was outrageous, willful, wanton, malicious, intentional, reckless, recklessly indifferent, negligent, careless, and/or done without any excuse or justification and further demonstrated, through management, a corporate culture that brute aggressive, physical, violent, and unbridled overwhelming force is an appropriate method of dealing with guests and business invitees,” the court document states.
The civil suit also argues that the attack was made with the approval, at the behest of, and with the knowledge, acquiescence, and direction of supervising management.
According to previous reports, Caesars Entertainment Corporation—Harrah’s parent company—has a policy of not commenting on pending legislation and has not made a statement regarding any of the assaults.
The civil suit names many reasons for the decline of Harrah’s security—and casino security in general—including:
- Reduction in budget for security departments (resulting in the hiring of less-qualified individuals)
- Fewer efforts for pre-screening potential employees
- Less training for new employees
- Less periodic training for current employees
- Less supervision of security officers for day-to-day activities (and subsequently less adherence to policies and procedures)
All of the aforementioned conditions lead to a security staff that is unqualified and/or improperly trained, which poses a serious hazard to casino and resort guests.