Appeal from the Circuit Court of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois. Circuit No. 09-L-794. Honorable Raymond E. Rossi, Honorable Michael J. Powers, Judges, Presiding.
In an action against a casino, a security supervisor, and an agent of the Illinois Gaming Board for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress suffered by a casino patron who won a jackpot and was then detained, handcuffed and taken to the police station when he provided a Georgia driver's license that looked " suspicious" to the security supervisor in the course of collecting his winnings, the trial court's entry of summary judgment for the Gaming Board agent on sovereign immunity grounds was affirmed and the verdict for the casino and the supervisor on the false imprisonment claim was upheld, since the arrest and brief detention of plaintiff were within the agent's normal and official duties, and the trial court did not err in refusing to give the plaintiff's tendered instruction requiring that a security officer must pursue " reasonable avenues of investigation" in order to have probable cause to restrain or arrest a person, especially when the definition of " probable cause" for purposes of a false imprisonment claim does not include a requirement of a " reasonable investigation."
JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McDade and Schmidt concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] The plaintiff, Don Grainger, brought an action for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress against defendants William Lynch, an Illinois Gaming Board agent, Harrah's Casino, d/b/a Joliet Harrah's Casino (Harrah's), and Jason Glickman, the security supervisor at Harrah's. The action arose out of an incident in which Lynch briefly handcuffed and detained Grainger and turned him over to the Joliet police after Grainger presented what appeared to be an altered driver's license to Harrah's personnel when attempting to collect a jackpot he had won at a slot machine.
[¶2] Lynch moved for summary judgment on the grounds that: (1) the action against him was barred by sovereign immunity; and (2) Grainger failed to present any evidence suggesting that Lynch acted without probable cause or caused Grainger severe emotional distress. Defendants Glickman and Harrah's also moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence that Glickman restrained or arrested Grainger or procured his arrest. Glickman and Harrah's maintained that Glickman had merely reported a suspicious looking driver's license to Lynch, who took control of the investigation and independently decided to restrain Grainger.
Glickman and Harrah's also argued that Grainger had failed to present any evidence suggesting that: (1) Glickman lacked probable cause to inquire into whether Grainger's license had been altered; (2) Glickman's behavior was " extreme and outrageous" ; (3) Glickman knew or should have known that his actions would inflict severe emotional distress; or (4) Grainger suffered extreme emotional distress.
[¶3] The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Lynch on sovereign immunity grounds and denied Glickman and Harrah's motion for summary judgment. The case was tried against defendants Glickman and Harrah's on Grainger's false imprisonment claim only. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants.
[¶4] Grainger appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Lynch on sovereign immunity grounds. He also appeals the trial court's orders entering judgment in favor of Glickman and Harrah's and denying his motion for a new trial, arguing that the trial court caused severe prejudice to Grainger by erroneously refusing a jury instruction that Grainger had tendered on probable cause. Specifically, Grainger argues that the jury should have been instructed that, in order to have probable cause to restrain someone, security personnel must pursue " reasonable avenues of investigation."
[¶6] The following facts are drawn from the trial testimony and other evidence submitted by the parties. Grainger is a corrections officer specialist who has worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 16 years. He lives in Georgia. In April of 2009, Grainger was booked for a three-night stay at Harrah's Casino Hotel in Joliet. The hotel stay was complimentary because Grainger had accumulated points on his Harrah's " Player's card" by playing slot machines at several Harrah's casinos in various states. On April 19, 2009, after checking into the Harrah's Joliet hotel, Grainger played the dollar slots in the casino for approximately 15 minutes. While playing, Grainger used his Harrah's Player's card, which had his name and picture on it.
[¶7] While his Harrah's Player's card was in a slot machine, Grainger won a $1,400 jackpot. For tax-reporting purposes, Illinois Gaming Board policy requires a person who wins a jackpot of more than $1,200 to present state or federal identification in order to collect his or her winnings. When the slot host approached Grainger and asked him to provide identification, Grainger produced his valid Georgia driver's license, which had his picture on it. The slot host told the casino operations manager that she thought that Grainger's driver's license looked altered. The casino operations manager agreed and alerted Glickman, who was the security supervisor at Harrah's.
[¶8] Glickman approached Grainger and asked to see a valid identification. Grainger again produced his Georgia driver's license. After viewing the license, Glickman thought it looked " suspicious" because it appeared to be altered. Glickman did not run Grainger's Player's card (which had Grainger's picture in the system) or check Grainger's " points" on the card. Nor did he use any other database to investigate Grainger's identity. Glickman did not investigate where Grainger was staying overnight or order the slot host or the casino operations manager to investigate anything.
[¶9] Pursuant to Harrah's procedure, Glickman reported the matter to Illinois Gaming Board Special Agent Lynch, who is a licensed Illinois police officer. The
State of Illinois regulates casinos and mandates that the Illinois Gaming Board respond to criminal or suspected criminal activity occurring at a casino. As an Illinois Gaming Board agent, Lynch's duties included monitoring and regulating Harrah's in accordance with the Riverboat Gambling Act (230 ILCS 10/1 et seq. (West 2008)). Lynch testified that: (1) he was also responsible for deterring crime and cheating in the casino; (2) he reported any violation of law to the Illinois Gaming Board; and ...