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Aziz v. Eldorado Resorts, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

December 18, 2014

ALI AMIR ABDUL AZIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
ELDORADO RESORTS, LLC, et al., Defendants

Page 1144

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Ali Amir Abdul-Aziz, Plaintiff: Ian E Silverberg, Reno, NV.

For Eldorado Resorts LLC, Defendant: Paul J Georgeson, McDonald Carano Wilson LLP, Reno, NV.

For Reno Police Department, Kelle Harter, Defendants: Jack D. Campbell, Mark W. Dunagan, Reno City Attorney's Office, Reno, NV.

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ORDER

ROBERT C. JONES, United States District Judge.

This case arises out of an incident that occurred at the Eldorado Hotel and Casino (" Eldorado" ) in Reno, Nevada. Plaintiff alleges that he was unlawfully arrested, subjected to malicious prosecution, and discriminated against based on his race and religion. Currently before the Court is Defendants City of Reno and Officer Kelle Harter's (collectively " the City of Reno Defendants" ) Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 7). Plaintiff has filed a response (ECF No. 9) and the City of Reno Defendants have replied (ECF No. 11). For the reasons contained herein, the motion is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Ali Amir Abdul Aziz is a Muslim African-American man. (Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 1). On September 16, 2012, Plaintiff was watching a professional football game and eating gelato at the Eldorado. ( Id. ¶ 6). Plaintiff frequented the Eldorado on various occasions and was an " Execuline Member," as his company had an " Execuline Corporate Account." ( Id. ¶ 7). At some point, Plaintiff noticed that he was being watched by a " collection of security guards." ( Id. ¶ 10). Eventually, one of those guards approached Plaintiff and asked to see his identification. ( Id. ¶ 12). Plaintiff refused and asked the guard whether there was any " reasonable articulate suspicion" to demand Plaintiff's identification. ( Id. ¶ 13). Plaintiff asked further whether he was a suspect in a criminal investigation. ( Id. ¶ 14). The guard explained that he was allowed to ask for identification and that the guard's supervisor needed to see the identification. ( Id.). Plaintiff again refused to provide his identification and responded that " perhaps" the guard " should get [his] supervisor." ( Id.). Once the supervisor arrived, Plaintiff informed him that Plaintiff was not carrying identification, but again asked whether he was a suspect in a criminal investigation. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 17-18). The supervisor informed Plaintiff that he " looked like" someone with whom the casino had a problem on a prior occasion. ( Id. ¶ 19). Plaintiff replied that " it is not a crime to look like someone" and asked whether there were complaints about " a black Muslim man committing crimes in the Eldorado wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey." ( Id. ¶ 20). When Plaintiff failed to produce any identification, he was informed that he would have to leave the premises. ( Id. ¶ 21).

As an " Execuline Member," Plaintiff believed that he would be recognized by the personnel at the Eldorado's front desk and suggested that the supervisor and he go speak with someone there to confirm his identity. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 23-24). When Plaintiff began to walk towards the escalators leading to the front desk, the supervisor " chest-bumped" Plaintiff and stated that if

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he did not leave the Eldorado in five seconds, he would be arrested for trespassing. ( Id. ¶ 25-26). Despite vigorously disagreeing that he was trespassing, Plaintiff alleges that he attempted to comply with the supervisor's instructions to leave the Eldorado when he was suddenly " jumped from behind by several Eldorado security guards." ( Id. ¶ 28). Plaintiff alleges that he was forced " face-first into the floor" and that the Eldorado security guards employed " dangerous submission techniques" that caused Plaintiff " great pain and threatened his life." ( Id.). Plaintiff claims that he was then taken to a holding cell within the Eldorado where he was forced to wait, handcuffed and in pain, while the Eldorado security force called the Reno Police Department and searched Plaintiff's belongings. ( Id. ¶ 29).

Defendant Kelle Harter, an officer with the Reno Police Department, responded to the Eldorado security force's call. The Complaint alleges that upon her arrival, Officer Harter " interrogated the Plaintiff for approximately ten minutes before releasing the Plaintiff from his shackles and contacted paramedics to treat the Plaintiff." ( Id. ¶ 30). During that interrogation, Plaintiff provided Officer Harter with a copy of his Execuline Corporate Account identification and then used his cell phone to call the front desk. ( Id. ¶ 31). The phone was set to speaker so that Officer Harter could hear the conversation with Eldorado's front desk personnel. Plaintiff claims that the front desk supervisor immediately recognized Plaintiff's name and " greeted him enthusiastically," inquiring whether he would be checking into the Eldorado that evening. ( Id.). Plaintiff alleges that despite receiving this information, Officer Harter failed to investigate further to confirm that Plaintiff was in fact a customer of the Eldorado and not a trespasser. ( Id. ¶ 32). Instead, Officer Harter accompanied Plaintiff's ambulance and issued a citation to Plaintiff as well as a notice to appear in the Reno Municipal Court on a trespass charge. ( Id.).

Plaintiff's Complaint includes six causes of action, though only three are relevant to the instant motion. Plaintiff's second cause of action alleges that Officer Harter unlawfully arrested Plaintiff by detaining him at the Eldorado and then accompanying him to the hospital to issue the citation. Plaintiff's third cause of action alleges that the City of Reno also unlawfully arrested Plaintiff by harboring a policy or custom of arresting or citing individuals based on unsupported allegations. Plaintiff's fourth cause of action alleges that Officer Harter and the City of Reno subjected Plaintiff to malicious prosecution by requiring him to defend himself in ...


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