NEW ORLEANS – A federal lawsuit recently was filed by two men who claim they were playing blackjack at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino when casino workers and employees of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office allegedly assaulted and illegally detained the two after claiming they were card counting.
The complaint field July 3 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana alleges assault, false imprisonment, battery, negligence, trespass against chattels, defamation and violation of search and seizure and due process.
The complaint states that Justin Grant and Jordan Kerr are what is known as advantage gamblers, which is “a term of art in the casino industry denoting a player who generally wins at casinos through applying legal strategies to the games,” the filing said. Grant and Kerr state in their complaint that in August 2017 while they were gambling at Jazz Casino Company L.L.C. doing business as Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, they were approached by staff, asked to step away from the gambling table and accused of cheating.
The complaint alleges that employees of Jazz, including Stacey Dorsey, and employees of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office identified the men as advantage gamblers “and hatched a plan, acting in concert, to invade the anonymity of, and detain” both men.
The suit claims that the defendants accused them of card counting, handcuffed Kerr and forcefully grabbed Grant’s arm and the two were “forcibly taken into a holding area within Jazz’s casino," interrogated, had their chips seized, and forced to provide their identification, all against their will.
Thefiling goes on to say that when Kerr and Grant informed them that card counting is not illegal, the defendants allegedly then told the men that card counting was against Jazz policy, “thereby indicating that the individual defendants knew that there was no crime at the time of the detention of plaintiffs and that the original accusation of card counting as criminal was a ruse to gain compliance from plaintiffs with their demands and secure Jazz’s goal.”
The complaint states the men were “were repeatedly told they were going to be taken to jail, thusly inflicting grievous emotional distress upon them,” but were never charged, and that the defendants had no authority to detain them or force them to produce identification.
The plaintiffs are seeking a trial by jury, equitable relief, court costs and attorney’s fees.
The plaintiffs are represented by counsel with Aaron & Gianna PLC.