In 2016, Lynda Sadowski visited a casino in Cincinnati — the Jack Casino at 1000 Broadway Street, right near the corner of Eggleston and E Court Street downtown.
On the floor of the casino was a knocked-over caution sign, which read “Wet Floor.”
Sadowski tripped over the fallen sign, and broke her kneecap.
She was rushed to the hospital, and eventually had surgery on her leg. During the surgery, doctors inserted a metal plate into her leg. The recovery from the injury has been slow and incomplete. Sadowski may require further surgery, and may require joint replacement. She is also at risk for ongoing arthritis.
Sadowski’s personal injury lawsuit against the Jack Casino took nearly three years, but a jury in June 2019 awarded her $3 million for her injuries.
According to personal injury experts, the debate centered around the visibility and readability of the sign, and the speed with which the casino fixed (or did not fix) the situation at hand.
Jack Casino, like most casinos, has security cameras posted 24 hours a day, covering every corner of the gambling hall.
And this constant and robust surveillance factored into the jury’s decision. The fact that Jack Casino’s security team could witness this dangerous situation — a wet floor without appropriate signage or cleanup — and not do anything to fix it? This put their guests in danger. This put Lynda Sadowski in danger.
The security camera showed a Jack Casino employee walking past the downed sign 11 seconds before Sadowski did. The employee did not fix the dangerous situation, and neither did the employees that walked past earlier.
The permanence of Sadowski’s injuries mean that she may need to undergo further surgeries and continued treatment. The ongoing and persistent nature of her injuries played into the jury’s decision as well.
An appeal is possible, though online magazine Casino.org suggested that Sadowski likely asked for an even higher amount. “The verdict was probably appropriate,” Casino quoted Notre Dame Law School professor Patrick Salvi as saying. “A knocked down ‘wet floor’ sign would be a dangerous condition. They have to take special care.”
What are the takeaways from this personal injury story in Cincinnati?
For one thing, we can observe the high level of responsibility a business owner owes to the patrons and guests at their establishment. Particularly in a venue which promotes entertainment, such as a casino, the property owner must maintain a safe environment, and prevent hazardous conditions from causing injury.
The bright lighting in the casino — after all, in a casino it always looks like it could be daylight — was not enough to draw attention to the unsafe conditions.
We also see that the establishment’s employees must be aware of the conditions, and must respond quickly to ensure the safety of the guests.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Sadowski’s attorney spoke to this concern.
Matt Nakajima is quoted as saying, “The casino had no safety policies in place for floor inspection or fall prevention and had no criticism of the employee’s failure to pick up the trip hazard even though its own internal documents found her at fault. The Casino’s callous disregard for their customers’ safety was on full display throughout the trial.”
In recent months, Jack Entertainment has announced that it will sell Jack Casino Cincinnati to Hard Rock International. The casino will be renamed as the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati.