Casino Thief wins $1.7million Damages after Being Blinded in Beating

04 Nov

A career thief who took and used another gambler’s reward card has been awarded $1.732million in damages after a jury found the casino at fault for not preventing the serious beating he was given by the gambler’s husband…

37-year-old Montana Gunhus was left with serious injuries after the attack, and a jury this week awarded Gunhus a total of $1.732 million, including $1milllion for “future pain and suffering”.

Gunhus was at the Isle Casino Hotel Waterloo in Waterloo, Iowa in January 2021 when he found a “Fan Club” points card in an unused slot machine. Pocketing the card, which was issued to a woman by the surname of Williams, he then used it to spend around $100 on other gaming machines.

Around the same time, Mrs Williams told her husband, Damond Jamahl Williams, and notified security who pulled up footage of where the card had last been used.

Spotting that Gunhus had taken and was using the card, security took Williams with them when they went looking for the thief. That backfired spectacularly when, upon finding and questioning Gunhus, Mr Williams launched a vicious assault on the thief from behind.

The assault lasted around 25 seconds during which Mr Williams landed 15 punches and kicks, blinding Gunhus in one eye and severely damaging his face, while the security guards stood by watching.

Gunhus sued the casino for $1.98million on the basis that security not only brought Williams along on a search but also failed to step in when he was being assaulted.

“The casino was gambling with the public’s safety,” Jordan Talsma, representing Gunhus, told an Iowa court. “They will take your money, but they won’t protect you.”

Attorney Mark Thomas, representing the Isle, said Williams was responsible for Gunhus’s injuries, not the casino.

“We’re not Mr. Williams. He was not employed by the casino, and he’s not a defendant in this case,” Thomas told the court.

The defense claimed that their “non-intervention” policy relating to fights between patrons is “standard for similarly sized casinos in the Midwest” and that they had no reason to suspect Mr Williams would attack Mr Gunhus.

Mr Thomas also claimed that Gunhus shared some responsibility for what happened to him – known as “comparative liability” – because he took and used Williams’ wife’s loyalty card.

“He is the trigger for the entire event,” Thomas said.

However, a jury this week found against the casino and in favour of Mr Gunhus, awarding the plaintiff $1.732 million.

This included $32,314 for past medical expenses; $50,000 for past loss of mind and body; $550,000 for future loss of full mind and body; $100,000 for past pain and suffering and $1 million for future pain and suffering.

They also awarded each of Gunhus’ three children $15,000 for loss of parent consortium and fully rejected the “comparative liability” claims.

Gunhus’ attacker, 46-year-old Damond Jamahl Williams, has been charged with causing wilful injury and is the subject of a bench warrant after failing to attend a court date in August of this year.

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