Lawsuit Over Illinois Casino Dismissed

Citing jurisdictional issues, a federal judge has rejected a lawsuit challenging a proposed casino in Rosemont, Ill. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman threw out the suit filed by California billionaire Marvin Davis. Davis' suit contended that owners of Emerald Casino had reneged on an oral agreement to let him and former Arlington International owner Richard Duchossois share in the barge casino's action, according to the paper.

Duchossois, who recently sold Arlington to Churchill Downs, Inc., was not a party to Davis' suit, a fact that entered into Guzman's decision to throw out the litigation, the Sun-Times reported.

Guzman noted that the suit could not proceed without Duchossois' involvement because his legal rights are "inextricably intertwined" with Davis' claim, according to the paper. Guzman also ruled that even if Duchossois became a party to the suit, the litigation would have to be tried in state court rather than federal court because Duchossois is an Illinois resident. Duchossois reportedly told the Sun-Times he does not intend to get involved in the suit.

The Sun-Times reported Guzman did not rule on the merits of Davis' suit due to the jurisdictional concerns.

An attorney for Davis said his client would review the decision before deciding how to proceed. According to the paper, Davis can either appeal or file suit in state court.

An Emerald Casino attorney said Davis' suit may have been one reason the Illinois Gaming Board has delayed the casino's application; Guzman's decision means the suit will not be an obstacle in the licensing process, said attorney Stephen J. O'Neil, according to the Sun-Times. "We felt all along the lawsuit was fatally flawed and didn't belong in court," O'Neil said.

The gaming panel could approve the license at its Oct. 17 meeting. The casino also faces a challenge from a state court lawsuit filed by rival casino developers from Lake County who contend the state gambling law is unconstitutional because it unfairly singles out Emerald as the only company that runs a casino in Cook County, where Rosemont is located, according to the paper.