Nicholas Mullins Sues Bethlehem Sands Casino, Claiming They Served Him Drinks Which Led to Assault
A man convicted of a 2012 assault blames the drinks he was served at a Pennsylvania casino for his behavior. The man, Nicholas Mullins, is suing the casino which served him the drinks.
Nicholas Mullins gambled at the Bethlehem Sands Casino one night in 2012. While gambling, Mullins claims he was served at least 15 free alcoholic drinks while playing. When Mullins, who was 31 years old at the time, returned to the couple’s hotel room at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, he assaulted his partner at the time, Caitlin Shields.
Caitlin Shields Nearly Died
The attack was so savage that it left Caitlin Shields with a swollen brain. Shields nearly died, so Nicholas Mullins was charged with attempted murder. A jury convicted Mullins of the crime and he served four years in prison for the attack. Mullens received his release in January 2016, but he claims that his conviction prevents him from getting a job.
Now, the man’s attorney, Stuart Niemtzow, contends that Nicholas Mullins’ life has been ruined by those 15-plus drinks. Niemtzow filed a lawsuit under the Dram Shop Act provisions, which state that businesses can be held liable if they serve alcohol to the visibly intoxicated patrons.
Previous Drinking Problems at a Casino
Because Nicholas Mullins drank so much that he nearly died of alcohol poisoning in a prior incident at another casino, Stuart Niemtzow claims that Sands Bethlehem should have known that Nicholas Mullins had a drinking problem. Casinos keep large databases about customers and share information on card counting, cheating, or problem gambling.
Sands Lawyer Blames Nicholas Mullins
In a court hearing on Tuesday, Sands Bethlehem lawyer Kevin Ruane said that Mullins is the only one to blame for the assault. Ruane claimed that the assault happened “well after” Mullins had stopped drinking.
Some facts support the Sands’ contention. In his criminal trial, Nicholas Mullins blamed Caitlin Shields for the violence. He claimed that Shields attacked him when he returned back to their hotel room, because he had lost $800 during his alcohol-tinged gambling session.
A jury found that details of the assault did not square with Mullins’ contention, though. Shields wounds indicated she had been struck repeatedly to the face. Also, Caitlin Shields claimed that Nicholas Mullins tried to suffocate her with a pillow case.
Two Irish Coffees, A Bottle of Wine, 17 Double Whiskeys
In court for the lawsuit, Nicholas Mullins claims that the night began with two Irish coffees (which contain alcohol). Then he and Shields split a bottle of white wine. He continued drinking doubles of whiskey throughout the night, eventually drinking what he estimated to have been 17 different drinks.
Mullins contends that those drinks led to a blackout, so he was unaware of whatever damage he might have done to Caitlin Shields. While on the stand, Mullins answered questions from his lawyer.
Mullins’ Testimony in Court
In front of the Northhampton Court jury on Tuesday, Niemtzow said, “Do you remember all the events that happened that night?”
Mullins answered “No,” then added that he can recall only “bits and pieces and flashes”.
Updates on the Court Case
As the lawsuit passes, this site will provide updates of the court case. It would seem that Nicholas Mullins and Stuart Niemtzow have an uphill climb in suing the Sands Corporation over drinks, especially given the full facts in Nicholas Mullins’s conviction are released. That being said, the case brings to light alcohol policies at a casino, so there is the possibility Bethlehem Sands settles for a fraction of the plaintiff’s damages, to avoid bad publicity.
Judge Tosses Suit on Wednesday, November 16
In an update, the judge in the Sands Bethlehem lawsuit tossed the case. Judge Paula Roscioli tossed the case on the third day of the trial, after the plaintiff’s attorneys rested their case. After seeing their arguments, Judge Roscioli decided the case did not have the merit to continue.
Outside the courtroom, Nicholas Mullins justified his lawsuit to reporters. He said, “I wanted to bring attention to the fact that Sands casino over-serves people without care of the consequences. Maybe in the long run, it saves some lives.“
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