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HOME > NEWS > Daily News > To Whom Does a Left Coin or Token Belong?

To Whom Does a Left Coin or Token Belong?

25 July 2006

DETROIT, Michigan -- As reported by the Sun Herald: "On a Tuesday morning five years ago, Stella Romanski set out to have lunch with her girlfriends. Now she's in the U.S. Supreme Court defending a judgment in her favor of $600,779. And 5 cents.

"...Judge Eric L. Clay of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has spelled out the facts:

"'On Aug. 7, 2001, Romanski, then 72 years old, and her friends Dorothy Dombrowski and Linda Holman, went to the MotorCity Casino in Detroit to gamble and enjoy the buffet. ...During her walk, she noticed a 5-cent token lying in a slot machine's tray. Seeing no chair at the machine, she picked up the token and returned to the machine at which she had earlier played, intending to use the token there.

"'Soon a uniformed male casino employee approached her and asked that she accompany him to the office. She asked why, but he did not answer.

"One of the guards, Marlene Brown, displayed her casino badge and began to explain the casino's policy on abandoned tokens.

"...According to Brown, the more she tried to explain, the more Romanski became "loud and belligerent."' ... they forcibly took a nickel away from Romanski; they photographed her, copied her Social Security card and driver's license, and finally ordered her banned from the casino for six months.

"... Naturally, she (Romanski) sued under Section 1983 of the U.S. Code, i.e., she charged that Brown, as a rent-a-cop, had been acting under color of state law.

"...The 6th Circuit Court, voting 2-1, cut the punitive damages to $600,000, but sustained the rest. Ms. Brown and the casino naturally want the judgment overturned.

"...Judge Clay made his indignation clear: The casino's treatment of this little old lady was 'inexplicable and egregious.'..."


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