Greektown Casino Escapes Liability for Negligence After Stabbing Incident

Jessica Aletor
Jessica Aletor


  • In March 2018, two men were stabbed outside the Hollywood Casino at Greektown building in Detroit.
  • The aftermath was an elongated lawsuit in which the victims sued the casino for its negligent response to the incident.
  • A panel of the Court of Appeals in Michigan presiding over the case recently ruled that the casino and its security agents were not negligent.

Retail casinos are no stranger to lawsuits and law enforcement actions in Michigan. Over the years, several gambling sites have witnessed violence by unruly players and eventual police intervention. One of these events took place in March 2018 when two men, Isiah Scimens and Andre McBroom were stabbed outside the casino building.

The victims headed to the courts seeking damages against the casino for what they deemed negligence by the casino’s security personnel during the altercation. At the trial court, Scimens and McBroom had the judgment in their favor. However, the Appeals Court seemed to take another position.

What Transpired on the Day of the Accident?

In March 2018, Andre McBroom and Isiah Scimens visited Greektown Casino with a small group of people. Greektown is famous as the land-based operator of Barstool Sportsbook MI. While Scimens was playing baccarat, the rest of the group was walking around the casino. In the early hours of the morning, Scimens got into an argument with a baccarat dealer, which resulted in the security services asking the group to leave the casino.

The casino host and a security guard escorted the group out and into the VIP valet area, where they encountered two women. Someone from Scimens’ group made comments to the women, leading to an argument with an unknown man accompanying the women.

A fight broke out involving at least eight people. In the scuffle, the unknown man pulled out a knife and stabbed both Scimens in the face and McBroom in the leg. The police arrived soon after and the parties dispersed.

Scimens and McBroom filed a negligence claim against Greektown for damages caused by their injuries. Greektown argued that it only had a duty to reasonably expedite the arrival of the police, but Scimens and McBroom claimed that the casino breached its duty by allowing a host to escort the group out and not calling the police when "imminent harm" arose.

After a hearing, the Wayne County Circuit Court partially granted and partially denied Greektown’s motion. The court ruled that there were material fact disputes about whether Greektown breached its duty of care by not summoning additional security when the altercation started. The decision was appealed after the trial court denied the casino’s motion for reconsideration.

The Position of the Michigan Appeals Court

The Appeals Court in Michigan ruled in favor of Greektown Casino, dismissing the lawsuit brought by the two plaintiffs who claimed the casino failed to provide sufficient security. The court determined that the casino's duty of care is limited to responding reasonably to situations occurring on the premises, but not to anticipating that patrons will disobey the law.

The judges concluded that Greektown did not breach its duty of care by having only one security guard escort the plaintiffs and their group out of the casino to the valet area. The court also addressed whether the casino "reasonably expedited" police involvement once it became apparent that someone was at risk of imminent harm.

Besides, surveillance footage showed that the police arrived within about 90 seconds of the altercation. As a result, the judges concluded that the plaintiffs presented no evidence to show that the casino breached the applicable standard of care.

Implications for Security at Retail Casinos

The matter is expected to return to Wayne County court for additional proceedings. However, it does have huge ramifications for casino visitors and retail site operators alike.

One of the major takeaways for the average patron is that casinos will now be more eager to invite the police in cases of potentially violent altercations. In a bid to prevent claims of negligence like this, there’s a good chance more security apparatuses or swifter response will be deployed.

Casinos, on the other hand, will simply look to beef up moderate security on their premises while working hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies to protect customers. Regulators like the MGCB may also be forced to institute fresh regulations against violence at casinos. 
This case is one of many lawsuits that have arisen in 2023 in relation to casinos. Just recently, it was reported that Kewadin Casinos were ordered to pay $88 million in fines to investors. New information from Daniel V. Barnett, newly appointed counsel to Kewadin, has shown that they would appeal the judgment of the court.

As these matters unfold, we may be set to see newer rules shaping the conduct of players, casino operators and stakeholders in the industry.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments