Gambler at odds with casino after fall

Marilyn Tennissen May 10, 2007, 4:00am

A patron at L'auberge du Lac wasn't so lucky as she left the Lake Charles casino on New Year's Eve.

Jefferie Ann Cartwright of Orange says the buckled carpet near the exit door caused her to fall. She filed a personal injury lawsuit in Orange County District Court on May 2, naming Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., the parent company of L'auberge du Lac Hotel and Casino, as defendant.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Dec. 31, 2006, she was leaving the front door of the casino past the doorman and was headed toward the valet parking area.

"The carpet outside of the door was excessively and unreasonably wrinkled and buckled. While walking over the carpet, plaintiff's foot was caught in the wrinkled and buckled carpet which caused Cartwright to fall forward, head first onto the cement driveway," the petition states.

The petitions says the fall caused Cartwright to suffer severe and permanent injuries, including injuries to her skull, neck, back, knee, shoulder and eyes.

Plaintiff alleges the defendant is negligent because it failed to maintain a safe exit area, to assure the carpet was not wrinkled, to properly support Cartwright while she was walking and to warn of the dangerous conditions of the carpet. In addition, the casino placed carpet outside the exit area where it should not have been placed, did not reasonable train casino employees and did not provide adequate and timely medical attention, the suit says.

Cartwright is seeking compensatory, actual and consequential damages, court costs, attorney fees and other relief as the court deems.

Plaintiff's attorney, Stephen Foster of Arnold & Itkin in Houston, says that while the principle place of business for Pinnacle is Las Vegas, Nev., and L'auberge du Lac is located in Louisiana, the Orange court is the proper venue for the suit.

"Pinnacle advertises extensively in Orange County for its L'aubere du Lac Hotel and Casino � and takes a very substantial portion of its revenue from Texas customers and Cartwright resides in Orange County," the petition states.

Cartwright is requesting a trial by jury.

The case has been assigned to Judge Buddie Hahn in the 260th Orange County District Court.

Case No. D070-228-C

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