Las Vegas jury awards comedian George Wallace $1.3 million in suit against Bellagio

A Las Vegas jury awarded $1.3 million Tuesday to comedian George Wallace, who claimed the Bellagio’s negligence caused his on-stage injury in 2007.

Wallace, a Flamingo headliner for the past decade, was performing at a private party at the Bellagio when his Achilles tendon ruptured on Dec. 8, 2007. He said he stumbled over loose electrical wires on the stage.

“I’d rather have a good foot than have the money,” Wallace said after hearing the verdict.

The 66-year-old comedian said he was disappointed with the amount of damages he was awarded — his attorney had asked the jury to award him at least $7 million for lost earnings — and with what he viewed as an undercurrent of racism in the case.

Wallace, who is black, said he was concerned that the jury had no black members. In addition, Wallace said he was troubled by images that Bellagio attorney Paul Haire presented to the jury on Friday.

During his closing argument in the case, Haire displayed three pictures. The first was a photo of Wallace, the second was a photo of Wallace that had been cut in half, and the third was what Wallace described as a “black caricature with a pickaninny hairdo.”

“I’ve been working hard all my life to get where I wanted to be,” Wallace said. “That did hurt me in the court more than anything else.”

After learning about Wallace’s comments on Tuesday, Haire said he approached the comedian and apologized.

“I certainly did not mean to demean him in any way,” the attorney said.

Haire said he had used the images in an attempt to diminish the testimony of an expert witness who had testified for the plaintiff.

The attorney said he did not know whether the Bellagio would appeal the jury’s decision.

After discussing his regrets Tuesday, Wallace said, “You know what? We won.”

He then announced that he will be ending his Flamingo show on April 27. He said he plans to start a TV show “and even have more fun with Las Vegas.”

Wallace said he could not elaborate on his plans, but he did not rule out future work at the Bellagio.

“As a matter of fact, I should go there for lunch. It’s on them, right?” he joked.

Attorney Dominic Gentile, who represents Wallace, said the Bellagio had an opportunity to settle the case before trial for less than what the jury awarded.

Gentile said he was most pleased by the jury’s determination that Wallace’s injury “was 100 percent the fault of the Bellagio.”

During the trial, Haire argued that Wallace had a pre-existing injury that led to a “spontaneous” rupture of his tendon. He argued that the Bellagio did nothing to cause the injury.

Bellagio stagehand Robert Cohen took pictures after the 2007 performance that showed loose cables coming out of two speakers.

Although he previously gave a deposition in the case, Cohen was on vacation in Venezuela and not available to testify at the trial.

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

Gentile had asked the jury to award Wallace $3.9 million for earnings he has lost because of his injury, plus $3.1 million for earnings he will lose in the future because of his injury.

Jurors voted 6-2 to award Wallace $1.2 million for lost income, plus $100,000 for past pain and suffering and $8,500 for medical expenses. They awarded him no money for future losses.

“He was back to making the money he was making before,” jury foreman John Macfarlane explained.

Wallace said he will walk with a limp for the rest of his life.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Crime
Las Vegas judge’s ruling will halt tonight’s execution
On Wednesday Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued a ruling that will halt the execution of convicted murderer Scott Dozier. Alvogen Inc., which makes the sedative midazolam, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the Nevada Department of Corrections of surreptitiously obtaining the drug for use in an execution.
3 people shot in southeast Las Vegas
Three men were shot Thursday night in southeast Las Vegas, and two of them have life threatening injuries. Las Vegas police responded to the incident just after 10 p.m. on the 5000 block of Mountain Vista Street. The investigation is in its early stages and police were unable to describe the suspect or say how man people they think were involved. Police encourage anyone with information regarding this shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555, or 3-1-1
Robbery suspects apprehended
Four robbery suspects were taken into custody Thursday morning after a vehicle and foot chase that ended in an east Las Vegas neighborhood. The incident began when a person was robbed at gunpoint around 4:45 a.m. near Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn. Officers arriving at the scene tried to stop two vehicles. One vehicle escaped but police chased the second into a neighborhood on Flamingo Road near Mountain Vista Street. Police surrounded the neighborhood and the suspects were apprehended. It looked like one police vehicle was involved in a collision with the suspects' car. One woman suffered an unknown injury and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. 01:04
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Two robbers who recently targeted three Las Vegas businesses remained at large Tuesday and police are asking the public to help identify them. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Looking For Robbery Suspect
The LVMPD Commercial Robbery Section is attempting to identify the pictured suspect who is responsible for committing robberies to businesses in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley during the month of May 2018. The suspect enters the business, threatens the employee with a firearm and demands money from the register. The employee complies and the suspect flees the business.
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead at 2500 block of Ellis St., on Friday, June 8, 2018. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
1 dead in shooting at southwest Las Vegas home
A dispute between roommates led to the fatal shooting of one man in the backyard of their southwest Las Vegas Valley home on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Henderson Police Seek Armed Bank Robbery Suspect
This afternoon a male suspect entered the Bank of America, located at 2638 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, at about 12:40 p.m. As he entered the bank, he pulled a black mask down to conceal his face.The suspect is described as a late-forties to early-fifties white male adult, approximately 5 foot 8 inches to 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighing approximately 160 to 180 pounds He was last seen wearing a dark colored beanie, a grayish blue plaid shirt, dark jeans and dark colored shoes. His head was shaved on the sides and the top of his hair was dark in color. Vehicle was described as possibly a gray 2012-2014 four door Ford Focus. The license plates were covered with black tape. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. Do not attempt to contact the suspect but call police immediately. Anyone with information is urged to call the Henderson Police Department at 702-267-4911, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like