United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
KYLE D. PIKALUK
HORSESHOE ENTERTAINMENT, LP, ET AL.
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document
54) filed by Defendants, Horseshoe Entertainment, LP
(“Horseshoe”), Steven Jones, Rob Brown, Jason
Williams, Federico M. Arends, III, and James LaFleur
(hereinafter referred to as the “Horseshoe
Defendants”). The Horseshoe Defendants move for summary
judgment on the grounds that they are not state actors as
required by Title 42, United States Code, Section 1983.
See id. Alternatively, they argue Plaintiff Kyle D.
Pikaluk (“Pikaluk”) is unable to establish the
essential elements of his Section 1983 claims. See
id. The Horseshoe Defendants also seek summary judgment
as to Pikaluk's Louisiana state law claims. See
id. Pikaluk opposed the Motion for Summary Judgment.
See Record Documents 58 & 63. For the reasons
which follow, the Motion for Summary Judgment is
GRANTED and all of Pikaluk's claims are
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
March 17-18, 2017, Pikaluk was a patron at the Horseshoe
Hotel & Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana. The Horseshoe
Hotel & Casino is a licensed gaming establishment and is
an affiliate of Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Defendants
Steven Jones, Rob Brown, Jason Williams, Federico M. Arends,
III, and James LaFleur were, at all times relevant herein,
employed by Horseshoe.
is an “advantage player, ” meaning he utilizes
techniques and strategies in order to gain an advantage or
“edge” over the casino, thereby increasing his
chance of winning. He classifies this case as “casino
patron abuse, ” maintaining that Horseshoe wanted to
punish him for winning more than $30, 000 playing blackjack
at their casino during the late night hours of March 17, 2017
and the early morning hours of March 18, 2017. Record
Document 63 at 6; Record Document 58-1 at ¶ 9. Pikaluk
now seeks monetary damages from the Horseshoe Defendants as a
result of events that occurred on the premises of the
Horseshoe Hotel & Casino on March 18, 2017, the date he
attempted to cash in his chips. See Record Document
54-1 at ¶ 5; Record Document 58-1 at ¶ 1; Record
Document 63 at 6-7. He asserts Section 1983 claims; state law
tort claims of false arrest/conspiracy for false arrest,
false imprisonment/conspiracy for false imprisonment,
battery/conspiracy to commit battery, malicious
prosecution/conspiracy for malicious prosecution, negligence
and gross negligence, and conversion; and violation of the
Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act
(“LUTPA”). See Record Document 31.
Horseshoe Defendants contend that prior to March 18, 2017,
Pikaluk had been banned from numerous casinos, including
several Caesars Entertainment affiliated properties.
See Record Document 54-1 at ¶ 7, citing Record
Document 54-5 (Pikaluk Deposition) at 36-45 & Record
Document 54-13 (Interrogatory Response) at 10-11. Pikaluk
contests this fact and asserts that the Horseshoe Defendants
have mischaracterized his deposition testimony and
interrogatory responses. See Record Document 58-1 at
¶ 2. Instead, he maintains that he was “backed
off” or “asked to leave” the casino
properties, as compared to being banned and told not to
return. Id. Pikaluk recalls only two casinos that
imposed a ban against him - one in Canada and one in
Mesquite, Nevada. See Id. He maintains that he was
never banned from returning to a Caesars affiliated property.
patron at Horseshoe on March 17-18, 2017, Pikaluk used his
“advantage player” techniques and seemingly did
not want his identity known to the casino. The Horseshoe
Defendants eventually identified him. According to several of
the Horseshoe Defendants, after referencing Pikaluk's
identity in the electronic casino management system,
Horseshoe supervisory level employees determined that, as of
June 2016, Pikaluk was a companywide ban, meaning he was
permanently banned from all Caesars Entertainment affiliated
properties. Record Document 54-1 at ¶ 9, citing Record
Document 54-11 (James LaFleur Deposition) at 88 -91; Record
Document 54-10 (Rob Brown Deposition) at 62-63; Record
Document 54-9 (Steven Jones Deposition) at 70-71. The WinNet
message, which Pikaluk produced, states:
GUEST IS EVICTED COMPANYWIDE. CONTACT SECURITY. LHEBERT
Document 63-2 (WinNet Message) at 17. Pikaluk contests the
meaning of the message in the electronic casino management
Defendants only saw messages in the WinNet system that
Plaintiff was a “companywide ban”. They did not
(and could not) “determine” from the WinNet
messages that Plaintiff had actually been banned from Caesars
propertie [sic] or that Caesars had actually sent Plaintiff
notice that he was banned. . . . Defendants . . . did not
contact anyone at Caesars to obtain verification or
confirmation of the WinNet messages or whether Plaintiff had
been notified of any companywide ban and had received such
Document 58-1 at ¶ 3.
March 18, 2017, after learning of the companywide ban in the
electronic casino management system and knowing that Pikaluk
was on the premises (specifically, at the cashier's cage
attempting to cash in a portion of his chips), the Horseshoe
Defendants notified the Bossier City Police Department.
Horseshoe refused to cash in Pikaluk's chips and returned
the chips and his Canadian passport to him. He was escorted
from the cage area and onto the entry ramp where he
encountered Bossier City Police Officers. See Record
Document 58-1 at ¶ 8(1). No. Horseshoe employee
physically laid hands on Pikaluk.
Joseph C. Thomerson (“Sergeant Thomerson”),
Officer Jordan D. Johnson (“Officer Jordan”), and
Reserve Officer Donald Razinsky were dispatched to the scene
by the Bossier City Police Department. There is no dispute
that Pikaluk was ultimately arrested for criminal
trespassing. See Record Document 54-15. Sergeant
Thomerson was the senior officer and made the decision to
arrest Pikaluk. See Record Document 54-6 (Sergeant
Thomerson Deposition) at 28-29, 34; Record Document 54-7
(Officer Johnson Deposition) at 41. Sergeant Thomerson stated
that his decision was “based on the statements from the
Horseshoe guys that were there, the security, and then seeing
Mr. Pilaluk on the property.” Record Document 54-6 at
8. He admitted that his decision was made prior to talking to
Pikaluk, but only after seeing him on casino property.
See Id. Sergeant Thomerson and Officer Johnson
believed the elements of criminal trespassing were satisfied
and that probable cause to arrest existed. See
Record Document 54-6 at 25-29, 100-101; Record Document 54-7
at 91-93. Officer Johnson further stated that Pikaluk was
arrested, as compared to issuing him a summons, because he
was not from the immediate Shreveport-Bossier area.
See Record Document 54-7 at 92-93. On July 11, 2017,
the criminal trespass charge against Pikaluk was nolle
prossed by the Bossier City Attorney. See Record
Document 54-15 at 8.
his deposition, Sergeant Thomerson was questioned extensively
about his decision to arrest Pikaluk. He stated that Steven
Jones, the Horseshoe Security Supervisor, made the initial
complaint regarding Pikaluk. See Record Document
54-6 (Sergeant Thomerson Deposition) at 79. Sergeant
Thomerson further testified:
Q. Why were you only dealing with [Steven] Jones.
A. That's what - who was making the complaint.
Q. The complaint?
A. The call that came in.
. . .
A. He was - my understanding, he was a supervisor. He was the
supervisor at the time.
. . .
Q. . . . And when you investigate and respond to a
trespassing call, what steps do you take to confirm that the
suspect has, in fact, been banned, to use your term.
A. How reliable is the person making that complaint to me.
Q. And in this instance, Mr. [Steven] Jones.
Q. No, . . . did Mr. [Steven] Jones ever tell you that the
Horseshoe itself had banned Mr. Piklauk?
A. He said he's been banned from Horseshoe and all their
. . .
A. He told me that Mr. Pikaluk had been banned, had been
notified that he is banned from the property.
. . .
A. That he has been banned, that Mr. Pikaluk knew he had been
banned, that he had certified letters that ...