Sometimes playing the pokies can really pay off, and other times it doesn’t. For the typical Aussie, we are accustomed to these basic rules of reel-spinning entertainment. For one Brisbane man, his recent trip to the casino could be worth a life altering amount of $264,783, but not because he hit a jackpot on the poker machines.
64 year old Ramon O’Keefe is suing Jupiters Casino, located on the Gold Coast in Broadbeach, Queensland. O’Keefe claims that, due to the establishment’s negligence, he slipped and fell in the restroom, and that his pain and suffering should be compensated in the form of a monetary sum of over a quarter of a million dollars.
O’Keefe’s version of the story
According to the accounts of Mr. O’Keefe, detailed in the claim documents he filed with the District Court, he had visited the casino on the evening of April 16, 2011. He made his way to the fifth floor “gold club” to play the pokies. Then, at approximately 6:20, he took a break from the poker machines to relieve himself in the men’s room.
Mr. O’Keefe described the accident he allegedly suffered while in the casino’s restroom in detail. He said he was “walking towards the hand basins within the toilet and stepped into a puddle of soapy water on the floor of the toilet.” His account of the incident went on to specify that he “slipped due to a decrease in friction between his [shoes] and the floor.”
Ramon O’Keefe filed the lawsuit against Jupiters Casino for $264,783 because he believes it was the owner’s duty to have prevented such an accident in the first place. Mr. O’Keefe said the staff should have cleaned the soapy puddle, covered it until a proper cleaning could be performed, or at least warned patrons that the danger existed, perhaps by way of a caution sign.
Like most of us, you’re probably wondering why the accuser waited so long to file a claim against the Queensland casino. According to the 64 year old man, he injured his shoulder during the fall, but waited seven months (November 2011) to undergo surgery. Then, 13 months after that (December 2012), a second surgery had to be performed on the same shoulder.
Jupiters Casino denies O’Keefe’s allegations
The Queensland casino, owned by the gambling giant, Tabcorp, staunchly denied Ramon O’Keefe’s allegations that a soapy puddle existed on the floor of the toilet, or that he actually fell to begin with. A statement from the casino said that staff immediately inspected the restroom after the incident supposedly occurred, and claimed that “no such contaminant was found.”
Furthermore, the popular pokies establishment stated, “The dispensers are located on the mirrors above the vanity and away from the floor to avoid any spillage.” Jupiters essentially called O’Keefe a liar, stating the casino “denies as untrue that the incident was caused in the manner alleged or at all because the contaminant did not exist.”
With the incident being nearly four years old, it’s going to be hard for Jupiters Casino to prove that the soapy puddle did not exist. Yes, the soap dispenser may be in a safe location, but a patron with soapy hands could easily splash water from the basin. Mr. O’Keefe does have surgical bills to produce as evidence, but proving they stemmed from a fall in the casino toilet may not be so easy, either.
On a statistical level, the majority of cases of this nature filed in Queensland, where a patron claims to have slipped and fallen, do not make it to the courtroom. The parties involved generally settle out of court before a hearing takes place or damages can be awarded. O’Keefe and the casino’s owners are currently expected to go in front of a judge for mediation sometime later this year. Attorneys for both sides have declined to comment.