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Trump Taj Mahal Associates v. Allen

2011 WL 31363 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2011) (Unpublished)

LOANS; CASINOS —Courts do not favor a casino catering to a compulsive gambler; therefore, a court has the discretion to reject a casino’s request for pre-judgment interest on an unpaid marker or a loan.

A gambler applied for and received a line of credit at a casino. Over a period of four months, the credit line was increased four times. When the casino attempted to deposit a countercheck marker, the check was returned for insufficient funds. As a result, the casino suspended the gambler’s credit line. Subsequently, the gambler paid off the balance and had his account reinstated. The gambler lost again, and corresponding counterchecks were again returned for insufficient funds. The gambler made a payment towards the outstanding debt, and the casino then sued for the balance. The lower court granted the casino’s motion for summary judgment.

On appeal, the gambler argued to the Appellate Division that the casino should not have reinstated him or increased the line of credit because he previously failed to pay off a marker and had an outstanding balance at another casino. Specifically, he argued that the casino had manipulated its books to show zero balances on his credit accounts on the days that credit was extended so as to comply with casino regulations. The lower court had discounted the argument as a sham. The Appellate Division agreed with the lower court, finding that the gambler’s certifications did not raise a genuine issue of fact as to whether business records were manipulated. To the Court, they were unsupported generic allegations.

The gambler next raised the defense of intoxication, arguing that he was not competent to agree to the credit agreements. On appeal, the Court affirmed the lower court’s rejection of the intoxication defense. During depositions, the gambler was unable to recall whether he had been drinking, and if so, what or how much. The lower court dismissed the gambler’s later contrary affidavit, deeming it a sham crafted in order to defeat summary judgment. The Court agreed.

The lower court had rejected the casino’s request for pre-judgment interest, finding that equity did not favor a casino catering to a compulsive gambler. On appeal, the Appellate Division deferred to the lower court’s discretionary decision and affirmed the denial.

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