Lawyers for Boyd Gaming Corp. and two of its employees argued Monday for the dismissal of a lawsuit stemming from the February 2007 deaths of two workers in a sewer pipe at The Orleans.
Relatives of Travis Koehler and Richard Luzier sued the company in December and alleged wrongful death and negligence by Boyd Gaming and two on-scene supervisors, Steve Cooper and Tom Griffin.
Luzier, 48, was overcome by toxic fumes as he worked in an underground grease trap at the hotel.
Co-workers Koehler, 26, and David Snow also were overcome by the fumes while trying to rescue Luzier. Snow survived but spent a month in a coma.
The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the incident for six months and fined Boyd Gaming $185,000. Boyd Gaming agreed to revamp its safety protocols.
George Bochanis, who is representing Koehler’s mother, Debbie Koehler-Fergen, said the supervisors sent him to his death.
“We have an employee yelling and screaming at an employee … to get into a hole, while another employee is in there unconscious overcome by the fumes,” Bochanis told District Court.
Boyd Gaming’s lawyer, Walter Cannon, and the supervisors’ lawyer, Tom Beatty, said the case should be dismissed because Nevada’s worker’s compensation laws do not allow such lawsuits except in cases where the employer deliberately intended to hurt its workers.
Bochanis said the case met that exception.
“It’s deliberate. It’s intentional. Travis Koehler was ordered into it by a direct order,” he said.
District Court Judge Mark Denton took the case under advisement and will issue a written ruling after reviewing the case.
Contact reporter Brian Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0281.