Steve Marcus / File photo
Thursday, March 27, 2014 | 1:37 p.m.
CARSON CITY – The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a $9 million judgment against former Las Vegas strip club owner Rick Rizzolo in a case where a customer was beaten and left paralyzed in a dispute over an $80 bar tab.
The decision favors Kirk Henry who was paralyzed from the neck down after being hit by a bouncer in 2001 at the Crazy Horse Too Gentlemen’s Club on Industrial Road.
Henry and his wife, Amy, who live in Kansas, filed suit in 2001 against the Rizzolo and Crazy Horse Too.
In 2006, nearly five years after the suit was filed, an agreement was reached.
Rizzolo and the business agreed to pay the Henrys $10 million. Rizzolo made a $1 million payment. He was to sell the club and use the proceeds to satisfy the remainder of the settlement. But the club’s liquor license was revoked and the property only sold for $3 million.
The Henrys successfully petitioned Clark County District Court to reduce the settlement agreement to a judgment. Rizzolo argued the case should be dismissed because it had not been brought to trial within a five-year statuatory limit.
The Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Michael Douglas, upheld the ruling of District Judge Timothy Williams that the Henrys were owed $9 million.
Douglas said the agreement was unambiguous in stating that the club and Rizzolo were required to pay the remaining $9 million regardless of the money received from the club’s sale (it eventually sold for $3 million). Additionally, Douglas wrote, “when the parties have entered into a binding settlement agreement that resolves all of the issues pending in the action, eliminating the need for a trial, the case has been ‘brought to trial’ under the law.
In 2007, Rizzolo was sentenced to a year in prison and fined $250,000 in federal court for income tax violations. He is free from prison now.