Jury Awards $1.7m to Man Who Was Beaten at an Iowa Casino

  • The plaintiff had been seeking $2m in compensation from the Isle Casino in Waterloo
  • Gunhus allegedly found and used a players card belonging to the attacker’s wife
  • The casino was deemed to be at fault as it did not keep the men separate
  • Williams is facing criminal charges over the incident, but missed his August 2022 court date
Empty jury seats
A jury has awarded $1.7m to an Iowa man who was beaten by another visitor at the Isle Casino in Waterloo. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A significant payout

A jury has awarded $1.7m to an Iowa man who was beaten at the Isle Casino in Waterloo in January 2021. Montana Gunhus’ attorneys were seeking $2m in compensation from the casino where the 36-year-old was subject to an attack by a fellow patron.

Attorney Jordan Talsma claimed that the casino was “gambling with the public’s safety” and does not properly protect patrons. The jury eventually came to a verdict on Monday afternoon.

jury also did not deem that Gunhus was at fault

Breaking down the total $1.7m payment, $1m was for the victim’s future pain and suffering, $550,000 was for future loss of full body and mind, $100,000 was for his past suffering and pain, $50,000 was for past loss of body and mind, and $32,314 went toward previous medical expenses. Finally, Gunhus got $45,000 for the loss of parent consortium, $15,000 for each child. The jury also did not deem that the Gunhus was at fault.

A curious incident

In terms of the incident, Gunhus allegedly found a players club card in a slot machine that belonged to the wife of Damond Williams. He used $100 worth of the card’s fan play credits. Williams had reported the card as missing and casino staff were able to track its whereabouts.

The Isle Casino in Waterloo is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment. It has been in business since 2007 and offers both casino gambling and sports betting.

As security went up to Gunhus, Williams ran up and punched him. Williams continued to kick and punch Gunhus about 15 times when he was on the floor, leading to Gunhus suffering from blindness in one eye and facial fractures.

Gunhus’ attorney claimed that the casino was liable as staff did not keep Gunhus and Williams separate during the investigation. The security staff also did not intervene during the assault because of its hands-off policy when there is a physical confrontation.

Multiple parties at fault

The casino claimed that it was the attacker who should be liable as he is responsible for Gunhus’ injuries. Attorney Mark Thomas said that Williams did not seem to be threatening or angry in the leadup to the attack, which is why staff did not expect him to physically attack Gunhus.

hands-off policy is typical for other casinos of its size

Thomas also emphasized that the hands-off policy is typical for other casinos of its size in that part of the country. The casino believes that Gunhus was also at fault because he was using the players card of Williams’ wife, which it called a “trigger for the entire event.”

Williams was not part of the case, but he is facing criminal charges. There is an outstanding bench warrant for him as he missed an August 2022 court date relating to charges of willful injury causing serious injury. Gunhus did not receive any charges for allegedly using the players card.