JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A gambling company has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims a Mississippi casino served a heavily medicated man so many free drinks that he collapsed in the bathroom of his hotel room and died.
The lawsuit against IP Casino Resort and Spa in Biloxi was filed in U.S. District Court in Gulfport in July and seeks damages of $75 million. The suit claims casino workers ignored pleas from Bryan Lee Glenn's relatives in August 2009 and continued serving him free drinks well after he was visibly intoxicated.
The casino, formerly known as Imperial Palace, changed hands after Glenn's death. Boyd Gaming bought the property in 2011.
Boyd Gaming argues in court filings this week that "Mississippi law is abundantly clear that one injured as a result of his on voluntary intoxication has no viable claim against a casino which served him alcohol."
Michael Holleman, lawyer for Glenn's relatives, didn't respond to a message seeking comment on the filing.
Mississippi has a "dram shop" law that says businesses can be held liable if they serve alcohol to someone who is drunk and that person later injures or kills someone else. But Boyd Gaming sites a 1986 case, Cuevas v. Royal D'Iberville Hotel, in which the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled a business is not liable when a person voluntarily drinks "and then by reason of his inebriated condition, injures himself."
In the 1986 case, a woman said the hotel lounge served her alcohol after she was visibly drunk, a factor that contributed to her fall over a railing to the hotel lobby floor 30 feet below. She was seriously injured.
In the lawsuit against Boyd Gaming, Glenn's relatives claim they pleaded with casino employees to cut him off from alcohol because he was on medication for physical and mental ailments.
Glenn, 30, had taken prescription painkillers as well as anti-psychotic medications in the three weeks before his death, the lawsuit said. He was being treated for physical injuries as well as psychosis and hallucinations. Glenn had suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2004 four-wheeler accident and back injuries in a 2007 car wreck.
Glenn and his mother and brother lived in coastal Long Beach, Miss., but lost everything to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and eventually settled in Virginia. They returned to Mississippi with a friend in August 2009 to pick up Glenn's check from a settlement from a previous lawsuit and to look for a place to live. They were staying at the IP resort.
Glenn picked up the $15,000 check on the morning of Aug. 6, 2009, and the group planned to use some of the money on a deposit for a place to live. But once back at the resort, Glenn began betting up to $1,000 a hand on blackjack and ordering two drinks at a time. The suit says a dealer, pit boss, waitress and security guard were among those who refused to intervene after Glenn was drunk and his family begged the casino to stop serving him.
Glenn's relatives left the casino to take someone home. When they returned, his brother, mother and a friend found him in his hotel bathroom at the resort. Glenn's friend, trained as an emergency medical technician, tried to revive him but he was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.