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Stocks v. Cordish Cos., Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

July 24, 2015

Leander Stocks, Plaintiff,
v.
Cordish Companies, Inc., Defendant

For LEANDER STOCKS, Plaintiff: Deborah Denise Wright, LEAD ATTORNEY, Washington, DC.

For CORDISH COMPANIES, INC., Defendant: Margaret Fonshell Ward, LEAD ATTORNEY, WARD & HERZOG, LLC, Baltimore, MD.

Page 82

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Amit P. Mehta, United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Leander Stocks alleges he was injured by a runaway roulette wheel ball at

Page 83

Maryland Live! Casino, a company he contends is owned and operated by Defendant Cordish Companies, Inc. Stocks asserts that he suffered physical injuries and emotional distress from the events that occurred during his visit to the casino on December 15, 2013.

Now before the court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(2). Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint fails to state a claim because Defendant does not own or operate Maryland Live! Casino and thus cannot be held liable for the acts alleged. Further, Defendant argues that the court lacks personal jurisdiction over it because it does not conduct any business in the District of Columbia.

After considering the parties' arguments and supporting evidence, the court denies Defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant has submitted sworn affidavits to support its Rule 12(b)(6) argument, thus requiring the court to evaluate the motion not under Rule 12(b)(6), but under Rule 56's summary judgment standard. Because there are material discrepancies between Defendant's assertion here that it does not own Maryland Live! Casino and statements to the contrary on its website, including one that expressly states it " owns and operates" the casino, the court concludes that it would be premature to grant summary judgment before discovery.

The court also denies Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(2) because Defendant's television advertising within the District of Columbia, designed to attract casino patrons from this jurisdiction, is sufficient to bring Defendant within the court's long-arm jurisdiction.[1]

II. BACKGROUND

At roughly midnight on December 15, 2013, Plaintiff Leander Stocks was a patron at Maryland Live! Casino (" Maryland Live!" ) in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Am. Compl. Count 1 ¶ 1, ECF No. 4.[2] While playing roulette, a casino " employee operating the [roulette wheel] negligently caused the wheel's hard ball to become airborne and strike the Plaintiff just above the left eye at high velocity." Id. ¶ 2. Another employee escorted Plaintiff to a private room to assess his injuries, id. ¶ 3, and once there administered, without Plaintiff's consent, " unidentified liquid drops directly into the Plaintiff's left eye," id. ¶ 5. After receiving the eye drops, Plaintiff became disoriented, fell forward, hit his head against a door, and lost consciousness. Id. ¶ 7. Plaintiff was treated at a local hospital emergency room for a contusion from the initial impact of the roulette wheel ball and a concussion related to his fall. Id. ¶ 8. Since the incident, Plaintiff has suffered from blurred vision, an occasional loss of coordination, and regular post-traumatic stress headaches. Id. ¶ 9.

Though his complaint is less than clear, Plaintiff appears to ...


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