Comedian George Wallace Sues Bellagio for Negligence, Wins $1.3 Million

A Las Vegas jury awarded comedian George Wallace $1.3 million in his lawsuit against the Bellagio this last Tuesday. George Wallace had sued Bellagio for negligence, claiming they had caused his on-stage injury back on December 8, 2007.

In that incident, Wallace ruptured his Achilles tendon after stumbling over loose electrical wires on the stage while performing for a private party at the Bellagio. The comedian said he was disappointed with the amount of money awarded. His attorney had asked for $7 million in damages.

The jury voted 6-2 to award $1.2 million for lost income during his recuperation period, along with $100,000 for past pain and suffering. The jury awarded an additional $8,500 for medical expenses, but awarded no money for future losses. The comedian’s attorney argued Wallace would lose future wages, because it would be harder for the 66 year old comedian to get around the stage as he got older on a badly damaged foot.

After hearing the verdict, Wallace told reporters, “I’d rather have a good foot than have the money.

Claims of Racism in the Trial

The 66-year old George Wallace claimed there was an undercurrent of racism during the case. The jury had no African-American members. In specific, the comedian referred to the three pictures used by the defense in closing arguments on Friday. The first picture was a simple photo of the comedian, while the second was a photograph of Wallace which had been cut in half.

The third photo Wallace described as a “black caricature with a pickaninny hairdo.” Wallace added, “I’ve been working hard all my life to get where I wanted to be. That did hurt me in the court more than anything else.”

Bellagio Attorney Sends His Regrets

After hearing the comments in the media, the Bellagio’s attorney, Paul Haire, approached George Wallace after the case and apologized. Haire said, “I certainly did not mean to demean him in any way.

He went on to say that, in his closing comments, he was trying to diminish the testimony of an opposing witness. Haire claimed during the trial that George Wallace had an injury prior to that fateful night at the Bellagio, and the incident that night only caused the tendon to rupture in a “spontaneous” fashion.

Case Helped by Stagehand’s Photographs

George Wallace’s case was helped by a Bellagio stagehand, Robert Cohen, who took photos of the stage that night. In the photographs, wires were shown to be strewn haphazardly across the www. Cohen gave testimony at the trial, but was in Venezuela on vacation this past week, so he has not commented on the trial.

Wallace added, “Thank God for that employee at the Bellagio.

Wallace and his attorney, Dominic Gentile, both said the money was less important than the verdict, because it proved the Bellagio’s responsibility in the case. The resort casino’s management has not yet decided whether to appeal the ruling or not.

About George Wallace

Back in the 1970’s, George Wallace was a regular at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood, which is famous for the acts of Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Jay Leno, and Robin Williams. On tour, he has opened for singers like Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Smokey Robinson, and George Benson. He’s appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.  Wallace has appeared in numerous movies, including Postcards from the Edge (1994), Batman Forever (1995), and the Coen Brothers film, The Ladykillers (2004).

George Wallace is well-regarded in the standup comedy business, and was the best man at Jerry Seinfeld’s wedding. He also made an appearance on the Seinfeld episode “The Checks”, in which he played a doctor distracted by the Eagles song “Witchy Woman”. George Wallace’s brother, Steve Wallace, played NFL football for the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a starter on 3 Niners Super Bowl Championship teams, in 1988, 1989, and 1994.

Headliner in Las Vegas

George Wallace has been a headliner at the Flamingo for the past ten years, but says he will end his time there on April 27, 2014. He did not elaborate on his future plans, but said he hopes to continue to have fun in Las Vegas. He did not rule out a return engagement at the Bellagio.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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