$64 million award in Macon Co. casino civil suit
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The jury has returned with a verdict in the Macon County casino civil suit that centered on allegations that Macon County Sheriff David Warren and VictoryLand Casino attempted to monopolize charity bingo in the county.
The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs.
The jury awarded more than $64 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Lucky Palace LLC. and 15 Macon County charities.
Milton McGregor and Macon County Greyhound Park (VictoryLand) were found guilty of intentional interference, and the jury found compensatory damages owed to Lucky Palace at $42.2 million. Each additional charity (15) will receive $126,000. McGregor and VictoryLand were also found to owe an additional $20 million in punitive damages that will be split between the 16 plaintiffs. Damages come out to a grand total of $64.1 million. That is the same figure presented by the plaintiffs' forensic accountant during the course of the trial.
A total of 13 charities were named in the equal protection claim against Sheriff Warren and the jury found that Warren violated that equal protection, but he did so unintentionally. Jurors stated he was mistaken in his interpretation of the rules.
The jury also found that Warren, McGregor and Victoryland committed conspiracy. The plaintiffs will be awarded nominal damages of one dollar each.
The judge has yet to rule on matters pertaining to Sheriff Warren's equal protection claim. Judge Keith Watkins said that will be taken up at another time to be determined.
Attorneys for Milton McGregor and VictoryLand have 28 days to file an appeal and told WSFA 12 News after the verdict that they intend to do so. Milton McGregor's attorney Mark White said the jurors ignored a key stipulation when they returned the verdict. Lucky Palace did not have a qualified location as stated in the electronic bingo rules and regulations.
Attorneys also stated that there may be an issue with a statute of limitations motion that the judge has yet to rule on. If Judge Watkins were to rule on the issue it could change the outcome of the case.
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