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September 2, 2014

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Court overturns $6.6 million judgment for man injured at Palms

Updated Thursday, June 5, 2014 | 5:04 p.m.

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court has overturned a $6.6 million judgment awarded to a man whose knee was injured as souvenirs were tossed to the crowd while he was watching Monday Night Football at the Palms.

The court today ruled that the casino could be held liable, but the District Court judge who presided over the case improperly allowed some testimony and excluded others.

Enrique Rodriguez was standing at the Sportsbook Bar on Nov. 22, 2004, when an actress dressed as a cheerleader hired by the Palms tossed sports souvenirs such as T-shirts, footballs and empty water bottles into the crowd, according to court documents. A female patron jumped to get one of the bottles and hit Rodriguez’s knee, according to the documents.

Rodriguez later sued, saying the casino had allowed an unsafe activity.

His attorney argues that the injury required two surgeries and caused years of pain.

District Judge Jessie E. Walsh awarded millions for medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages.

The three-judge Supreme Court panel held that Walsh, who presided over a 12-day bench trial, was correct in ruling that the Palms had a duty of care of its customers and could be held liable.

But it ruled that she was wrong to exclude testimony by a security official about crowd control that would have been favorable to the Palms and might have resulted in a different outcome.

The panel also said Walsh let in inadmissible testimony from the doctors who treated Rodriguez.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to District Court for a new trial and said a different judge should be assigned to the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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