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Ex-Hard Rock worker wins $225,000 judgment against Dennis Rodman

29 April 2009

Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- A woman who says she was fired by the Hard Hock hotel-casino after complaining about the behavior of Dennis Rodman there has now won a $225,000 judgment against Rodman.

A motion for a default judgment was approved by U.S. District Judge Robert Jones on Monday after the former NBA star failed to respond to a lawsuit filed against him and the Hard Rock by Sara Ure, 28.

Ure charged in her lawsuit that in early 2006, while she was working as a beverage manager at the hotel, Rodman created a scene that included him grabbing her, forcing her to dance with him and slapping her bottom.

Ure says that after complaining to the Hard Rock, she was told Rodman would not be allowed back at the establishment. She claims that after he was allowed there again and caused another scene, she reported this to management and then was fired.

She filed a discrimination claim against the hotel, claiming she was fired in retaliation for complaining about a hostile work environment there. The claims against the hotel were later resolved after the parties entered mediation -- the results of the mediation were not disclosed.

That left Rodman as the lone defendant and though he was served with the suit, he didn't respond to the allegations, court records show.

"Defendant Rodman injured and humiliated Ms. Ure at her place of employment, which is simply one of the latest incidents in an almost decade-long practice of violence and blatant disregard for the safety of others,' attorneys Kathleen England and Jocelyn Cortez said in their April 21 motion for a default judgment.

In seeking $125,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages, they said the slim, 5-foot 10-inch Ure suffered embarrassment, humiliation and anxiety at the hands of the 6-foot-7-inch, 210-pound Rodman.

Ure's attorneys said Rodman "grabbed and held Ms. Ure against her will, forced her to 'dance' with him in the middle of her place of employment, and rubbed his body against hers. Defendant Rodman then smacked Ms. Ure on the bottom when she managed to escape from his grip. This demeaning assault and battery occurred in front of at least one of Ms. Ure's subordinate employees, her co-workers and Hard Rock Casino patrons."

Ure, the attorneys said, "broke into tears and left work early, which was embarrassing," and later had to explain Rodman's attack to her fiancé and to Hard Rock officials.

In seeking damages, they noted a dealer at the Mirage casino had won an $80,000 judgment after being battered by Rodman in 1997 and that his behavior was part of his celebrity status and wealth built "on a 'bad-boy' persona that thrives on shock value."

"This now includes years of public intoxication, groping and touching women in public and then getting kicked out of places for his behavior," the attorneys charged.

Besides the Mirage dealer case in 1997, the attorneys pointed to five other cases involving Rodman allegedly humiliating or assaulting employees or patrons at Las Vegas casinos -- all of which they say appeared to have been settled out of court.

"These cases demonstrate a clear pattern of defendant Rodman's unabated violence against unsuspecting individuals," they said.

Ure initially sued under the name Sara Robinson, but now goes by her married name.

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