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Thread: Career thief wins $1.732 million from Isle Waterloo (Iowa Caesars property) after security fails to stop fellow patron attacking him after theft of player points

  1. #1
    From all appearances, 37-year-old Montana Gunhus is a scumbag and a thief.

    In 2018, Gunhus, his girlfriend, and two methy friends committed burglaries in Washburn, Iowa to fund their drug habit, and were eventually arrested for it.




    Four years after his methy burglaries, Montana Gunhus is a fairly rich man -- and it was all thanks to another act of thievery.

    In January 2021, Gunhus was at Isle Waterloo, which is now a Caesars property due to the 2020 merger with Eldorado Gaming. At the time, they had not yet converted their rewards program to Caesars Rewards.

    Gunhus, then 35 and still plenty willing to steal from people, saw an opportunity. He found a car sitting inside an empty slot machine, where its previous player had accidentally left it behind. It belonged to a woman with the last name Williams. He found that it had "Fan Club points", which are similar to Rewards Credits.

    Gunhus then went around Isle and spent about $100 in Fan Club credits from the card. It is not clear where he spent them, or how he was able to do so without showing ID, but I have noticed that some Caesars properties have outlets which don't always ask for ID when using Rewards Credits.

    Williams noticed the Fan Club credits missing a short time later, and told her husband, Damond Jamahl Williams, who was 44 at the time. They both went to security, who pulled up the records of the machine Williams was last playing, and then pulled security footage to find who grabbed the card. In the footage, they found Gunhus had grabbed the card, so they went walking around the casino looking for him.

    Security stupidly brought Damond Williams along for the search. When they located Gunhus and started questioning him, Williams decided to take the matter into his own hands. He came up behind Gunhus and punched him, knocking him to the ground. In just 25 seconds, he pounded Gunhus with 15 punches and kicks, causing major damage to his facial structure, and blinding him in one eye. This all occurred right in front of security!

    So why did they let Williams continue to pound Gunhus for 25 seconds after he was knocked down literally right in front of security's face? Isle had a "non-intervention policy" when it came to fights between patrons! Can you believe that?! I'd never have guessed such a policy existed.



    Well, Gunhus decided to sue Isle Waterloo for two reasons:

    1) They let the angry Damond Williams come along with them during their investigation, rather than leaving him behind and informing him of the results afterward

    2) They let Williams beat him up without intervening


    Gunhus was awarded $1.732 million in a jury trial, which just concluded on October 31, 2022.

    Isle tried to claim that Gunhus, at the very least, had comparative liability, where the plaintiff is said to share some blame for what occurred. For example, if I were to walk up to a really big guy at a bar and say, "You're a pussy, your girlfriend is hideous, and I know you're a bitch who won't do anything about my saying this", and then he attacked me and caused me a lot of harm, I could sue him. However, his attorneys could claim I had comparative liability by instigating the fight in the first place, and thus his client should not be judged 100% at fault for the damage which occurred to me. In many states, if I were to be found to have comparative liability, my degree of fault would be assigned a percentage, and then I would only be entitled to that percentage of any damages from the incident. This concept is often used when determining who pays for car accidents which occur between two or more parties.

    Anyway, in this case, Isle claimed that Gunhus had comparative liability because he stole Williams' wife's Fan Club credits, and Williams' attack on him only occurred as a reaction to his own crime. Jurors considered this claim, but rejected it, stating that Gunhus had 0% liability in this matter. (This actually surprises me, as I would have said that he did have some liability here.)

    Isle also tried to claim that they had no liability at all because Williams was not associated with their casino in any way, and this was simply a patron attacking another patron. They claimed that Williams did not act like he was a threat, so they did not feel it was incorrect to bring him along while they tracked down Gunhus. Regarding why they didn't stop the attack, their attorney Mark Thomas said that the casino’s non-intervention policy is standard for similarly sized casinos in the Midwest.

    The jury did not buy any of these claims.

    Williams is charged with willful injury causing serious injury, and is currently the subject of a bench warrant after missing a court date in August 2022. I'm guessing he bounced, and may have left the state.
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  2. #2
    I agree with the jury's decision.

    If you think $100 in rewards credits mitigates beating the shit out of a guy who was already, de facto, being detained by security anyway, then I could understand your position. I don't feel that way because it's not as if the casino can't just put rewards credits back on the card. After all, the casino is responsible for the fact that they allowed the credits to be used without comparing the ID of the person using them to the name on the card.

    If Gunhus had done something to deliberately provoke the attacker, then I could also see it your way....and maybe he did...but I am not going to dig up the record of the proceedings and testimony to find out because I don't care enough. Either way, I don't think the act of jacking the rewards credits justifies the (apparent) claim the casino is making that it provoked the guy to physically assault the guy who stole them from his wife.

    The lesson for Williams is the next time he wants to go the, "Street justice," route to make sure there are no witnesses or cameras around.

  3. #3
    Agree with Druff. The concept is contributory negligence I think.

    This is not a criminal case, the aggressor is not getting off the hook. But was the thief partially responsible for the beating he took? Sure.

  4. #4
    That's fair, I believe this is the applicable code (quoted in part):

    https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/code/668.3.pdf

    Particularly the first paragraph:

    668.3 Comparative fault — effect — payment method.
    1. a. Contributory fault shall not bar recovery in an action by a claimant to recover
    damages for fault resulting in death or in injury to person or property unless the claimant
    bears a greater percentage of fault than the combined percentage of fault attributed to the
    defendants, third-party defendants and persons who have been released pursuant to section
    668.7, but any damages allowed shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of fault
    attributable to the claimant.

    b. Contributory fault shall not bar recovery in an action by a claimant to recover damages
    for loss of services, companionship, society, or consortium, unless the fault attributable to the
    person whose injury or death provided the basis for the damages is greater in percentage than
    the combined percentage of fault attributable to the defendants, third-party defendants, and
    persons who have been released pursuant to section 668.7, but any damages allowed shall
    be diminished in proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the person whose injury or
    death provided the basis for the damages.
    Essentially, provided Gunhus is less than 50.0000~~~~1% at fault, then he still gets paid something and any percentage finding of fault allocated to him will reduce his reward accordingly.

    Rethinking it, I guess there is a certain causal chain that starts with the act of using the lady's reward credits to begin with, so perhaps there is no getting around that. At the same time, it doesn't excuse the casino from the myriad of things they did wrong that led to this beating. Pretty much everything about this EXCEPT the actual stealing of the card is totally the casino's fault.

    I guess I would be fine with saying the beating is indirectly Gunhus' fault provided the percentage of the responsibility for the beating that he shoulders is precisely 50%, or some amount less than that. I'd probably advocate for 10%, or something.
    Last edited by Mission146; 11-03-2022 at 11:55 AM.

  5. #5
    I want to think the below is sarcasm.
    So why did they let Williams continue to pound Gunhus for 25 seconds after he was knocked down literally right in front of security's face? Isle had a "non-intervention policy" when it came to fights between patrons! Can you believe that?! I'd never have guessed such a policy existed.
    Security is there to protect the casinos interest. Having some low level dudes intervene in fights just asks for liability. I have 0 surprises here.

    Those security guards should have just said. "We'll go find him" but likely hard to even do in a casino with that guy watching the security guards walk around. I'm not sure what the expectation should be but if they invited him to follow along then casino should 100% be liable.

    Kinda screwy how it seems only way people are paid out is from low level stuff doing something crazy like this. While the bigger issues happen at a higher corporate level but nothing will ever happen in terms of suing. Too many attorneys CYAing every thing.
    I wander through the path of life. Wondering. Wondering what my next signature on VCT should be.

  6. #6
    Given the non-intervention policy, this casino seems like an excellent venue for a fight between two willing participants. The participants can find an area of the casino which is relatively clear and mix it up so as to avoid inadvertently damaging some casino equipment and causing an intervention by casino staff as they scramble to protect slot machines, card tables, craps tables and other valuable casino property. Plus the other casino patrons can take action on the participants with one another.

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