Borgata ‘suicide joke’ lawsuit voluntarily dismissed

Haley Hintze
Published by:
Posted on 09/22/2021

A central Massachusetts semipro poker player who was booted from New Jersey’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa over a poorly-conceived “suicide joke” has voluntarily dropped his lawsuit against the casino. Scott Robbins, of Millbury, “amicably” dropped his lawsuit against the Atlantic City hotel, in which he sought roughly $1.25 million in total damages, including $850,000 in lost poker earnings.

Court records show that Robbins and the Borgata reached an agreement in principle on September 9 to drop the case. However, the dismissal action was not formally filed by the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, where the case was scheduled to be heard, until Monday, September 20.

The brief dismissal filing offers only a single paragraph of text: “In this matter all claims having been amicably adjusted by and between the Parties, it is hereby stipulated and agreed that any and all claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, and third-party claims asserted by or between the undersigned parties be and are hereby dismissed with prejudice and without costs.”

‘Suicide’ banter with clerk triggered hotel eviction

Robbins sued the Borgata in July following a September 29 incident where Borgata hotel security forcibly removed him from his room a short while after he’d checked in. During that check-in, Robbins repeatedly joked about jumping from his hotel-room window — “in case of fire or earthquake,” he alleged. The check-in clerk was unnerved by Robbins’ ongoing banter and eventually escalated the matter.

That escalation in turn led to Robbins’ forced removal from his room and transport to a nearby medical facility for a psychological examination. Despite passing that exam — which was dictated to him as a condition of returning to the hotel — Robbins was still denied access.

Robbins incurred several thousand dollars in expenses resulting from the incident. He was at the Borgata to play a poker tournament in which he’d already won a seat worth $3,500. The psychological exam and the travel, both locally and to and from Massachusetts, cost him thousands more.

‘Amicable’ dismissal implies limited settlement

Though the dismissal filing makes no specific mention of a settlement, its “amicably adjusted” mention implies that some settlement was reached. Robbins’ initial claims involving lost poker earnings appeared fanciful. He’d never cashed in a single poker tourney at the Borgata, and he remained eligible to play at all other poker rooms and casinos in the region.

Robbins had a much stronger case regarding the lost tourney entry and the medical, travel, and lodging expenses inflicted upon him through the Borgata’s eviction actions. Besides the value of the forfeited tourney seat, the forced ambulance ride and medical exam cost Robbins another $2,000. Travel and lodging were between $500 and $1,000 more, meaning the incident cost Robbins over $6,000.

Though Robbins triggered the situation through his ill-conceived jokes, the lawsuit depicted the Borgata’s response as being over the top. Robbins’ claims noted that the Borgata’s hotel-tower rooms all featured unbreakable glass. Jumping out, as he joked about doing, was a physical impossibility.

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