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Cy Ryan

Court Reinstates Suit Against Hard Rock

3 August 2005

CARSON CITY, Nevada -- The Nevada Supreme Court Tuesday reinstated a suit against the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas by a woman who said she was injured in the parking lot during an attempted burglary.

The court said the "Hard Rock owed (Barbara) Galaro a duty to use reasonable care to keep its premises in a reasonable safe condition."

District Judge Jackie Glass granted a pre-trial summary judgment in favor of the hotel that maintained Galaro failed to document the business broke its duty to provide public safety.

Galaro and her friend Jessica Hardy drove in from Colorado near midnight on Sept. 19, 1997, and parked in the hotel's parking lot. They registered in the hotel and upon returning to their car to get their luggage, they found a man had broken into the car. Galaro tried to stop the man from stealing a citizen's band radio but suffered hand and wrist injuries.

Galaro filed suit in District Court in 1999. She complained the parking lot lighting, the surveillance cameras and the roving security guards were inadequate.

The Supreme Court said the case should go to trial to permit Galaro to present her evidence. She maintained there were 39 crimes committed in the parking lot in the two years prior to her injuries, and there were 200 incidents in the area of the hotel-casino.

The court said, "The type of business and location of the Hard Rock made it generally foreseeable that crimes of this nature would occur in the parking lot." It said it is generally up to a jury to decide whether there has been a breach of duty.

In this case, the court said there are factual issues to be decided by a jury. It said, "The record indicates that although there were surveillance cameras in the parking lot, no cameras were directed at Galaro's vehicle at the time of the incident."

"There was a question of whether the lighting in the area was sufficient," said the court. "Further, a question remained regarding the number of roving bicycle security guards on duty on the evening of the incident."

Galaro maintains there was only one bicycle guard covering the parking lot. She also has a deposition from a roving security guard who said there were five or six vehicle break-ins per month on the property.

Attorneys for the Hard Rock said some of this evidence should be rejected because it was presented after Judge Glass ruled on the summary judgment. The Supreme Court said some of the additional facts were late "at least in part, due to Hard Rock's late production of the incident reports."

The decision was signed by Justices Bob Rose, Mark Gibbons and James Hardesty.