Jury finds Harrah’s guilty of interference

A San Diego jury of eight men
and four women found that in 2004 Harrah’s intentionally interfered with a
proposed $300 million hotel/casino project between Caesars
and the Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians.The Pauma Tribe
was awarded $30 million in damages as a consequence of the intentional
  At trial, the Pauma Tribe alleged that it entered a deal with Caesars
Entertainment in June 2004 to build a $300 million Caesars resort
hotel/casino on Pauma’s North San Diego County reservation. On July 14,
2004 the proposed $9.5 billion merger between Harrah’s and Caesars was
announced. Because Harrah’s operated a competing casino on the adjoining
Rincon reservation, there was a conflict in Harrah’s operating both the
Rincon resort and the Pauma project. Pauma alleged that because of these
conflicts, Harrah’s took steps to interfere with the Pauma deal with
Caesars. Pauma alleged that Harrah’s and Caesars took steps to kill the
Pauma deal to avoid suit by Rincon. Plaintiff Pauma alleged, and the jury
agreed, that Harrah’s conduct was intended to and did ultimately stop the
Caesars Pauma Project from being built, and that the Pauma Tribe suffered
lost profits and added costs totaling $30 million.
  The Tribe was represented by Dennis Stewart and Kirk Hulett of Hulett
Harper Stewart LLP, San Diego, California. Harrah’s was represented by
Roger Magnuson of Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota.