Two years ago retired MLB Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson fell off of a stage during a charity event at the Hard Rock Casino in Southern Florida. Now, Robinson is suing the casino’s owner – the Seminole Tribe – for almost $10 million in damages as a result of the plunge.
Allegedly, Robinson’s tumble occurred after the star attempted to stand using the wall behind his chair for support. However, the “wall” was actually a curtain with no railing or other support behind it. Robinson suffered a concussion and fractured his shoulder and back as a result of the fall. Interestingly, Paul Casanovo, another baseball player in attendance at the event, fell off of the same stage about 45 minutes prior to Robinson’s accident. In essence, Robinson’s suit asserts that the stage was set up improperly and that casino employees should have done more to ensure that it was safe.
However, it is unclear as to whether Robinson will even be able to recover enough to pay for the medical expenses he incurred. In 2010, the Seminole tribe negotiated a compact with the state of Florida which partially waives its immunity from state law while capping its potential liability at $200,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Though the cap seems harsh, without it an injured party would be unable recover at all. Gary Bitner, the spokesman for the Seminoles, said that it was possible to negotiate settlements in excess of the cap, but otherwise refused to comment on the Robinson lawsuit.
Jack Hickey, Robinson’s attorney, is asking the club to waive the liability cap and pay Robinson roughly $9.9 million for various surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and lost income. Hickey also indicated that he was planning on filing a lawsuit in federal court later this year to attack the validity of the Seminole’s liability cap, stating “The tribe is going to make billions of dollars and then not take responsibility for it … Shame on the state for allowing them to have a cap like [this] … I’m sure the tribe has their lawyers. Who’s representing the hundreds of people on their property? I would venture to say almost nobody.”