Duk v. Mgm Grand Hotel, Inc.

320 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2003)


P is an alcoholic, and he was drinking heavily while gambling at D's casino with his wife. After being provided a free meal at one of D's restaurants, P became disruptive. P's wife left, but P continued banging on the wooden dividers between booths and blowing kisses at the restaurant's female patrons. Security went to the restaurant and requested that P leave. When P refused, they made a citizen's arrest and took P into custody. P was brought to a detention room to await officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. P's wife called security to check on him and advised security that P was an insulin-dependent diabetic. After twenty minutes, P began to complain of lung pain. D called for Mercy Ambulance to examine P. P claims he also complained of chest pain and alleges that D security officers failed to relate this complaint to arriving paramedics. They determined P was intoxicated but had no other medical problems. Paramedics also checked P's blood sugar and listened to his lungs, but did not evaluate his heart rate or blood pressure. Police officers arrived, and a transport vehicle arrived around two hours later to take P to the Clark County Detention Center. After being released from jail at around 10:00 a.m. the next morning, P went to a local hospital, where it was determined that he had suffered a heart attack. P sustained massive damage to the left ventricle of his heart, and ultimately required a heart transplant in April 1995. P sued for damages. Question 5 of the verdict form asked the jury to allot a percentage of the total negligence to the plaintiff and the defendant. Following question 5, the jury was instructed that if it found P to be more than 50% negligent, it should 'sign and return the verdict' and judgment would be entered for the D. However, if in question 5 the jury found P's negligence to be 50% or less, it was instructed to answer question 6, which asked for a determination of damages. The verdict form returned by the jury attributed 65% of the negligence to P and 35% to MGM, but still went on to award P $3.3 million in damages. The district court resubmitted the verdict form to the jury, informing the jury that the verdict contained an inconsistency and asking it to 'continue [its] deliberations.' Following 20 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned with a new verdict apportioning 51% of the fault to D and 49% to P but leaving the award of damages the same. The court granted D's subsequent motion for a new trial based on the inconsistency between the two verdicts. At the second trial, the jury returned a verdict for D. Both P and D appealed.