Dead Gambler’s Family Claims Wrongful Death at California Casino

Posted on: June 18, 2024, 09:16h. 

Last updated on: June 19, 2024, 09:51h.

A wrongful death case kicked off this week with allegations that security guards working for a California casino restrained and suffocated an unarmed man who had been playing baccarat minutes earlier.

Exterior of Los Angeles Superior Court
The exterior of the Los Angeles Superior Court building, pictured above. (Image: LA Public Press)

Attorneys representing the family of the victim, Jonathan Jung, claim the man was restrained at Bell Gardens, Calif.’s Bicycle Casino as guards held him down on a parking lot pavement.

One of the guards positioned his knee on Jung’s back, according to the lawsuit, as reported by Courtroom View Network (CVN).

The casino disputes the plaintiff’s version of events of the 2022 incident.

Casino Claims Meth Toxicity

Counsel for Bicycle Casino said Jung’s death was linked to him using methamphetamine (meth).

In opening arguments, it was claimed Jung died from meth toxicity. The guards weren’t responsible for the man’s death, a defense attorney added.

Jung was “behaving erratically and posed a danger to others,” CVN reported, summarizing defense arguments.

Terrance Jones and Minh Nguyen, the attorneys representing Jung’s family, argued that Jung was hearing voices and began to talk to himself while at a baccarat table in the casino, the report said.

Casino staff ordered Jung to leave and he went to a parking lot, leaving $3,800 on the gaming table.

Some three minutes after being restrained and having a knee placed on his back, Jung died in the parking lot, according to the plaintiff’s attorneys.

Police had been alerted about Jung’s behavior and told he was suffering from emotional trauma, the plaintiff’s attorneys added. The confrontation, the legal team said, could have been de-escalated without the guards using “excessive, deadly force.”

Attorneys for the casino countered that Jung was running in the parking lot and was avoiding capture by the trained security guards. The casino’s lawyer, Joshua Bordin-Wosk, denied allegations Jung was hogtied by the guards, and claimed the man was able to breathe during the entire incident, the report revealed.

Relatives Seek $132M

The plaintiff’s attorneys are seeking $132M in compensation for Jung’s family. The total represents $1M for each second Jung was improperly restrained, the lawyers explained.

During the trial, jurors will likely view surveillance video, hear details on autopsy reports, and consider conflicting statements from witnesses.

The civil court trial is being overseen by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick Madden and will likely run through July 1.