Sibella, Resorts World File Separate Motions to Dismiss Cipriani Lawsuit

Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV) and its former President, Scott Sibella, have filed separate motions to dismiss the lawsuit brought against them by gambler Robert Cipriani in Nevada federal court. Cipriani’s suit was the latest in a series of accusations against Sibella, who Resorts World removed from his position in September for unspecified violations of company policy.

Bonus has put together a timeline of events in the Sibella saga for those wishing to understand the backstory better. Broadly, all the accusations against Sibella involve his alleged relationships, during his time at Resorts World and the MGM Grand, with others who’ve been accused or convicted of various forms of fraud or illegal gambling.

In his lawsuit, Cipriani claims he informed Resorts World Las Vegas staff of the presence of several patrons he believes should have been barred from the property. Instead, he says that the casino, under Sibella’s authority, retaliated against him in multiple ways. These allegedly include allowing one of those individuals, Robert Alexander, to harass and intimidate him, then later pressing charges against Cipriani and accusing him of cheating at blackjack.

RWLV and its parent company sought dismissal of the case in filing on Nov. 13, 2023, arguing that Cipriani’s claims have no merit. In a separate motion on Nov. 15, Sibella’s legal team made similar points but also argued that it was inappropriate to include him as an individual defendant. They say that even if the court allows the case to proceed against RWLV, it should dismiss the claims against Sibella.

No Love Lost Between Plaintiffs and Defendant

Both motions contain some choice words about Cipriani sprinkled throughout their background on the case.

Sibella’s legal team describes him as engaging in “Vegas vigilantism” and having an “unquenchable thirst for attention and a remarkable inability to accept responsibility for his own actions.”

The filing also asserts that:

Cipirani appears to have named Sibella as an individual defendant for nothing more than spite.

Meanwhile, the casino’s team also accuses Cipriani of filing the suit frivolously. However, its filing includes a slightly different guess at his motivations:

[Cipriani] is abusing the Court’s process in order to gain followers and attention on his social media accounts[…]

To the extent Plaintiff is using this action to bring attention to himself or to manufacture controversy to promote himself and his implausible TV series, his mission is accomplished.

The TV series in question is a hypothetical one Cipriani has reportedly pitched to Sony TV about a gambler turned FBI informant based on his life story.

Resorts World’s Arguments for Dismissal

The casino’s legal team presents five arguments for dismissing the case, though the last two overlap.

First, it says many of his claims aren’t subject to litigation because they involve complaints RWLV filed with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Under Nevada law, any communication with gaming regulators to assist them in their duties is “absolutely privileged” and does not “constitute a ground for recovery in any civil action.”

In other words, RWLV is arguing that any alleged retaliation involving bringing the regulator’s powers to bear on Cipriani isn’t admissible in a lawsuit.

The suit also accuses Sibella and RWLV of conspiring against him. Both motions assert that the concepts of conspiracy and “concert of action” don’t apply in relation to a company officer acting in service of the company.

Finally, the motion asserts that Cipriani failed to include any valid damages.

On the financial front, it says his claims of lost gambling revenue as a result of being banned from “casinos around the country” aren’t recoverable under the economic loss doctrine

Cipriani accused Sibella and RWLV of negligence for failing to act on his warnings. The economic loss doctrine states that plaintiffs can’t seek purely economic damages—such as lost income—in a negligence suit.

Aside from the financial damages, Cipriani claims he suffered “emotional distress.”

However, the RWLV filing argues that he did not make this claim with sufficient specificity to meet the relevant legal standards.

Sibella’s Arguments for Dismissal

Sibella’s filing came two days later. It presents very similar arguments as RWLV’s for dismissing the case as a whole.

However, it also seeks the dismissal of the case against Sibella as an individual.

While denying that any negligence occurred, it asserts that if there was any, only the corporate defendant is liable. The motion states:

Cipriani nowhere alleges that he and Sibella had the type of ‘special relationship’ required to impose an individual duty of care on Sibella to act affirmatively. Nor does Cipriani allege Sibella personally participated in Alexander’s alleged tortious activity.

In his complaint, Cipriani invoked Nevada’s “innkeeper liability” law to establish such personal responsibility for Sibella. However, the latter’s legal team claims that an officer employed by a hotel doesn’t meet the legal definition of an “owner or keeper of an inn.”

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is an online gambling industry analyst with nearly ten years of experience. He currently serves as Casino News Managing Editor for Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media Network. Other gambling news sites he has contributed to include PlayUSA and Online Poker Report, and his writing has been cited in The Atlantic.
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