A guest at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City whose diabetic neuropathy meant he failed to realize his foot was “cooking” as he stood on a sun deck can sue the casino company, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Friday.
NJ.com reports that Philadelphia resident Howard Thompson’s condition causes damage to the sensory nerves in the body’s extremities, which meant he could not feel pain on the soles of his feet as he stood on the pavers talking to his wife for 20 to 30 minutes on May 30, 2012.
The surface temperature of the pavers was 137 degrees — hot enough to cook steak to medium done, according to a building consultant, who tested the deck under similar weather conditions.
Incident Led to Amputation
It was only when Thompson, 50, and his wife returned to their hotel room that they realized he had a burn on the bottom of one of his feet. Days later, his foot had become so painful that he was rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with third-degree burns and a bacterial skin infection.
The infection spread to the bone, resulting in the amputation of most of his left foot, which has forced him to give up his career with the Philadelphia Parking Authority. Thompson’s doctor has said it’s likely he will have more amputations in the future
The Thompsons claim negligence against Harrahs Resort, noting that casino management had failed to erect signage warning that the pavers could reach dangerous temperatures and that footwear should be a requirement under certain conditions. They are seeking damages of at least $500,000.
Harrah’s Denies Liability
The couple previously attempted to sue the companies that built and designed the sun deck, claiming that the sun reflecting off the glazed windows of the Harrah’s towers onto the pavers had created a hazardous set of circumstances. Those lawsuits were unsuccessful.
Harrah’s Resort denies liability and attempted to have the case tossed, asking New Jersey District Court Judge Joseph Rodriguez for a summary judgement, which Rodriguez rejected Friday.
According to court filings, the casino’s attorney is likely to argue that Thompson’s injuries were down to his own negligence in light of his condition and for his failure to get treatment sooner. Harrah’s claims no other hotel guest has ever complained about the temperature of the pavers.
The trial is set to begin April 15.