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Howard Stutz

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Paris Las Vegas

16 December 2004

LAS VEGAS -- A federal judge on Wednesday summarily dismissed a lawsuit stemming back to the 1999 opening of the Paris Las Vegas resort in which a California gambler claimed hotel executives reneged on promises after he lost millions at the casino.

U.S. District Judge James Mahan tossed out the lawsuit, which he had set for retrial last year after he overturned an $8 million verdict from a 2002 awarded to Steven Mattes, who claimed he was defrauded by Park Place Entertainment Corp., now known as Caesars Entertainment.

Mahan had ordered a new trial in October of last year after finding the original verdict was flawed, internally inconsistent and, in part, not supported by evidence introduced at trial.

Attorneys for Caesars Entertainment had moved for a summary judgment to have the case dismissed by the judge.

A legal secretary for Mahan said the judge had ruled for summary judgment in Caesars' favor.

An order was being prepared by attorneys for the gaming company.

"Judge Mahan's decision dismissing the complaint of Steve Mattes is a vindication of the position that Caesars Entertainment has taken all along," Caesars Entertainment spokesman Robert Stewart said. "Mr. Mattes was treated fairly and honestly by all of our employees. His allegation of fraud was a cynical attempt to win back in the courts what he legitimately had lost at the tables. We are glad that the facts prevailed."

The case stemmed from the opening of Paris in 1999. Mattes, the president of a Studio City, Calif.-based industrial assets company, claimed he was lured by Paris Las Vegas casino executives to attend the opening with promises of a $2 million credit line.

Mattes claimed the offer never materialized after he lost millions of his own money at the resort. A federal jury in November 2002 awarded Mattes more than $8 million, including $2.56 million for breach of contract and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

Several observers at the time believed the verdict wouldn't stand up on appeal, but said the jury's decision was bad publicity for the gaming industry.

After Mahan overturned the original verdict, Mattes tried to have the matter heard in Clark County District Court. Mattes' attorney could not be reached for comment.