Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Man sues drug company, casinos after losing $14 million
Austin American-Statesman ^ | 2/22/06 | Claire Osborn

Posted on 02/22/2006 5:03:32 PM PST by wagglebee

When the retired doctor from Austin suddenly began spending big money in Las Vegas, the casinos assigned him a "host" and gave him first-class airfare, hotel suites, meals and shopping trips for his wife, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Austin.

The casinos even gave him an Alaskan cruise, the lawsuit says.

The retired doctor, Max Wells, kept coming back, the lawsuit says — and kept losing money. By the fall of 2005, Wells had lost $7 million, the lawsuit says. By January, another $7 million.

Now Wells is suing the casinos and a major drug company, claiming that the prescription drugs he was taking for Parkinson's disease set off a compulsive gambling spree.

Wells, 55, wants his money back. He declined to comment Tuesday.

His lawsuit, filed Friday, says the drug company didn't warn patients that Requip could cause compulsive behavior. And it cites a 2005 Mayo Clinic study that documented 11 Parkinson's patients who developed compulsive gambling habits while taking Requip or a similar drug called Mirapex.

The gambling ceased for eight of the 11 when they stopped taking the drugs; test results were not available for the other three patients, the study said.

GlaxoSmithKline, which is referred to as SmithKline Beecham in the lawsuit — the companies merged in 2000 — said Tuesday that it had not yet been served with the lawsuit.

"We will certainly investigate the allegations when we receive the complaint," said Mary Anne Rhyne, a company spokeswoman. "We believe the drug is appropriately labeled."

The lawsuit claims the casinos knew that Wells had Parkinson's, a degenerative disorder that damages nerve cells and causes shaking, slowness and difficulty with balance.

Wells told the casinos he had Parkinson's and "was taking the medication while he was gambling," said his lawyer, Tom Thomas with Winstead Sechrest & Minick in Dallas.

The lawsuit says the casinos should have been aware of the Mayo study, which Thomas said was heavily publicized in Las Vegas last summer.

None of the seven casinos named in the lawsuit returned calls Tuesday. They are Mandalay, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sands, Harrah's Las Vegas and Hard Rock Hotel.

Wells, a retired pathologist, was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2000, according to the lawsuit.

After taking Mirapex for several months in 2004, Wells "developed an irresistible compulsion to gamble," the lawsuit said, and lost several thousand dollars gambling in Las Vegas and on the Internet.

Thomas said Wells had previously been an occasional gambler.

After he told his doctor that he thought Mirapex was causing him to gamble, the doctor switched him to Requip and increased the dosage, the lawsuit said.

As Wells was losing $14 million — which included about $1.2 million in IOUs called markers that Wells hasn't paid — his wife was unaware of his losses because she wasn't gambling with him, Thomas said.

The last week of January, Wells' wife began to question him, and he confessed to the losses, the lawsuit said.

When his doctor took him off Requip, his gambling compulsion stopped, Thomas said.

Despite the losses Wells claims, he's not bankrupt, Thomas said.

"I would say he hasn't lost the farm, but he's lost the ranch," he said.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: casinos; gambling; glaxosmithkline; parkinsonsdisease; requip
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-71 next last
It sounds like the doctor is more at fault than the casinos.
1 posted on 02/22/2006 5:03:35 PM PST by wagglebee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Them lawyers sure is creative, ain't they?


2 posted on 02/22/2006 5:05:38 PM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
Wells told the casinos he had Parkinson's and "was taking the medication while he was gambling," said his lawyer, Tom Thomas with Winstead Sechrest & Minick in Dallas.
The lawsuit says the casinos should have been aware of the Mayo study, which Thomas said was heavily publicized in Las Vegas last summer.

No way. So now casino staff are supposed to be responsible for knowing the possible side-effects of medications taken by people gambling in their casinos?

I feel bad for the guy, but this is insane.

3 posted on 02/22/2006 5:09:02 PM PST by KJC1 (Papers in over 31 nations have printed the 'toons, the list is growing!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

I'm sure he'd be giving the $14 million back if he'd won that much on his trips, right?


4 posted on 02/22/2006 5:09:41 PM PST by Dog Gone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

oh man, give me a break


5 posted on 02/22/2006 5:10:06 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

My firm makes Mirapex. We were warned of this side effect. We kept our protective gear on for this one.


6 posted on 02/22/2006 5:12:43 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
Wells was losing $14 million

He didn't figure this out when he got to say minus $25k or minus $90k? The casinos kept from him exactly the total of his losses so he could make an intelligent decision that is was time to quit? How come I don't believe any of this.

7 posted on 02/22/2006 5:12:51 PM PST by PistolPaknMama (Al-Queda can recruit on college campuses but the US military can't! --FReeper airborne)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
12 August 2003.....Parkinson's drug can trigger gambling: ..... Medication given to Parkinson's patients may have an unexpected and startling side-effect: compulsive gambling, U.S. researchers have found.
8 posted on 02/22/2006 5:13:01 PM PST by Polybius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: buccaneer81
My firm makes Mirapex. We were warned of this side effect.

Your firm was warned that some schmo could lose $14 million gambling?

9 posted on 02/22/2006 5:14:44 PM PST by PistolPaknMama (Al-Queda can recruit on college campuses but the US military can't! --FReeper airborne)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Dog Gone
Give the money back is a good point. Post/article does not say in what court lawsuit was filed. Until federal or state court's sanction for this type of court cr*p we are in for added costs to anything.
10 posted on 02/22/2006 5:15:23 PM PST by nomorelurker (wetraginhell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
He lost the "nest egg"...

Now, he's asking them to be the "casino with a heart"...

What was the name of that movie?

11 posted on 02/22/2006 5:17:32 PM PST by demsux
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PistolPaknMama
Your firm was warned that some schmo could lose $14 million gambling?

LOL! No, we were warned to wear our spacesuits or else we may have spent a bunch of cash on instant tickets or on the Columbus Blue Jackets winning the Stanley Cup ;-)

12 posted on 02/22/2006 5:18:14 PM PST by buccaneer81 (Bob Taft has soiled the family name for the next century.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: demsux
Lost in America
by
Albert Brooks
Funny! - Don't Say Egg!!!
13 posted on 02/22/2006 5:19:25 PM PST by The Louiswu (The coward will not fight, the fool refuses to see necessity the scoundrel puts himself ahead of all)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
Some day soon our prescriptions will come along with a 20 pound tome listing every conceivable thing that could happen if you take this. Some side effects valid, the rest pulled out of a medical dictionary to cover their legal a$$es.

"Taking this medication on Tuesday if it's raining may cause compulsive gambling."

14 posted on 02/22/2006 5:20:10 PM PST by 3catsanadog (When anything goes, everything does.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Louiswu
Don't Say Egg!!!

Or chicken embryo...that movie was great...thanks

15 posted on 02/22/2006 5:20:43 PM PST by demsux
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
Agreed. He was the one who flew to Las Vegas to gamble. No one held a gun to his head and made him do it. Should I sue every one I pay money to? Now there's an idea for making us all rich. Instead of blaming it on personal poor judgment, blame it instead on capitalist avarice.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

16 posted on 02/22/2006 5:22:22 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

If Wells was worth at least $14MM when he retired in his early fifties as a Doctor of Medicine then he stole a good portion of that money from his patients. If he lost $14MM to casinos, then tough fecal matter, you parasite bum.


17 posted on 02/22/2006 5:27:11 PM PST by joem15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Where are Moose and Rocco when you really need 'em?


18 posted on 02/22/2006 5:28:34 PM PST by RichInOC ("...Help the Doc find his checkbook.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: joem15
Who blows $14 million in gambling and blows the rest on a lawsuit? HAHAHAHA I wish I had that kind of money to burn.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

19 posted on 02/22/2006 5:29:26 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: joem15

I know a lot of doctors who are very wealthy, but the ones who have this sort of money either had family money to begin with or did VERY WELL with their other investments. The exception is surgeons, it is not all that unusual for them to make well over $1 million per year.


20 posted on 02/22/2006 5:30:13 PM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

I bet this has never been tried before.


21 posted on 02/22/2006 5:32:27 PM PST by bad company ("Any damned fool can write a plan. It's the execution that gets you all screwed up." - James F. Hol.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bad company

Until maybe 20 years ago, IT COULDN'T BE TRIED. Back then, all of the casinos were run by the Mafia, they really didn't care what a court said; if you owed them money, they were going to get it.


22 posted on 02/22/2006 5:35:11 PM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

The casino will have this man's legs broken before he gets THEIR 14 million.


23 posted on 02/22/2006 5:35:42 PM PST by fhlh (Polls are for strippers and liberal spinsters.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

By filing a frivolous lawsuit, he hasn't really stopped gambling. He has just switched from casinos to courtrooms.


24 posted on 02/22/2006 5:37:29 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: fhlh

My guess is that he won't get anything from the casinos, but Glaxo Smith-Kline will throw some money at him to shut up and go away.


25 posted on 02/22/2006 5:38:48 PM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

The article states this man is a retired pathologist. Shouldn't he, as a medical doctor, know of the potential side effects of the medicine HE is taking? I'm betting :) that his wife has more to do with the lawsuit than any potential side affects this drug supposedly has.


26 posted on 02/22/2006 5:39:37 PM PST by driftdiver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: goldstategop

For the second time today I'm reminded of the story about the guy who came home broke after losing millions in Vegas.

"Some went on gamblin', some went on broads, some went on booze - and the rest I just squandered".


27 posted on 02/22/2006 5:39:49 PM PST by Emmett McCarthy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: buccaneer81
The glaring hole in plaintiff's complaint can be seen here:

"His lawsuit, filed Friday, says the drug company didn't warn patients that Requip could cause compulsive behavior."

He's not an ordinary patient; he's a PHYSICIAN! The question isn't whether or not the pharmaceutical mfg. warned patients, it's whether or not the information was available to PHYSICIANS! Any doctor, retired or otherwise, who takes a medication (regardless of who prescribed it) without looking up the relevant details about the side effects before taking it is an idiot.

28 posted on 02/22/2006 5:40:38 PM PST by longshadow (FReeper #405, entering his ninth year of ignoring nitwits, nutcases, and recycled newbies)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Vince Ferrer


Precisely!


29 posted on 02/22/2006 5:41:39 PM PST by onyx (IF ONLY 10% of Muslims are radical, that's still 120 MILLION who want to kill us.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

These casinos use every unethical method they can think up to lure high rollers into gambling away everything they have. Their favorite targets are lonely old widows and widowers, who are showered with attention and perks, as they gamble away their entire nest eggs. When sub-prime home equity lenders and payday lenders engage in any deceptive tactics, federal and state legislatures go after them like barracudas, and often force them to pay out big settlements or else shut them down. When casinos use sophisticated psychological profiling and manipulation to push people into ruining their finances, the politicians and mobsters and unscrupulous business people who get big cuts of the profits, always seem to manage to get it shoved under the rug.


30 posted on 02/22/2006 5:41:40 PM PST by GovernmentShrinker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

The First Rule of Aquisition: "Once you have their money, never give it back."


31 posted on 02/22/2006 5:42:31 PM PST by D.P.Roberts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: D.P.Roberts
Any Ferengi can you can tell you the Golden Rule Of Customer Service: What's Yours Is Mine And Mine Is Mine And Don't Forget Caveat Emptor.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

32 posted on 02/22/2006 5:45:12 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

I hope he and his lawyer get matching cement overshoes. They look like such standup guys.


33 posted on 02/22/2006 5:45:55 PM PST by Steamburg (Pretenders everywhere)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
the casinos assigned him a "host" and gave him first-class airfare, hotel suites, meals and shopping trips for his wife, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Austin.

his wife was unaware of his losses because she wasn't gambling with him, Thomas said.

Something doesn't add up here (pun kind of intended)

34 posted on 02/22/2006 5:47:17 PM PST by par4 (If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: par4

Yeah, it's not like his wife thought the casino was just comping all of this out of generosity.


35 posted on 02/22/2006 5:48:46 PM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: GovernmentShrinker

You keep leaving out the word greedy when you describe these victims. I have never seen a winner say no thanks, keep the money, I just like the feeling. What crap.


36 posted on 02/22/2006 5:50:55 PM PST by Steamburg (Pretenders everywhere)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: demsux
"What was the name of that movie?"

Deadbroke Mountain

37 posted on 02/22/2006 5:51:15 PM PST by auggy ( http://www.wtv-zone.com/Mary/THISWILLMAKEYOUPROUD.HTML)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: 3catsanadog

I once was prescribed a certain drug after I broke my arm.

I read the possible side effects disclaimer, bloody stool, no stool, liver failure, heart failure, sexual dysfunction, inability to swallow, inclination to slobber,inability to attain erection, swelling of ankles, stomach cramps, nausea, potential tachycardia, pustules, losss of hair, body rash, and ex-wife could sue for increased support.

I opted for an over the counter, unnamed pain reliever.


38 posted on 02/22/2006 5:52:26 PM PST by Hilltop
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

He dove after the money he originally lost and chased it all down a dark hole.

His own fault.


39 posted on 02/22/2006 5:52:45 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: The Louiswu

Check out The Muse. Also funny.


40 posted on 02/22/2006 5:53:57 PM PST by durasell (!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

I've been taking Mirapex for several years (for periodic limb movement disorder and restless legs syndrome).

That said, I'm a horrible gambler. I don't even like to gamble. We play poker for chips, and I suck at that. I'm the most aggressive bluffer around.

When I told Xena's Guy this story, he said, "Maybe that's why you bluff like you do."


41 posted on 02/22/2006 5:54:12 PM PST by Xenalyte (Can you count, suckas? I say the future is ours . . . if you can count.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: par4
BS. Its usually the wife who manages the money because men are such spendthrifts. Something doesn't add up here.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

42 posted on 02/22/2006 5:54:55 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Bacon Man; Hap

Maybe this explains me last weekend!

Well, that or the vodka.


43 posted on 02/22/2006 5:54:56 PM PST by Xenalyte (Can you count, suckas? I say the future is ours . . . if you can count.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Wells was a pathologist. If he ran a lab, or owned a lab, it was probably very lucrative for him and he may have ended up with the previously mentioned millions of dollars. Good for him. However, are we responsible for his stupidity to piss away $14,000,000.00 in gambling casinos? And then file a law suit to try to recover his money? I've got a whole drawer full of lottery tickets that I bought under the influence of euphoria thinking that I was going to win. I want my money back. BTW I know important people too. At least that is what they say.


44 posted on 02/22/2006 5:55:44 PM PST by joem15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

Anyone remember when Leonard Tose the former owner of the Philly Eagles tried to do this? He lost and this guy will to.


45 posted on 02/22/2006 5:56:20 PM PST by Captain Peter Blood
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Xenalyte

Poker is the most boring game in the world if played correctly.


46 posted on 02/22/2006 5:57:52 PM PST by durasell (!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee

The casino will have this man's legs broken before he gets THEIR 14 million.


47 posted on 02/22/2006 5:59:24 PM PST by fhlh (Polls are for strippers and liberal spinsters.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: longshadow

That will be the defense case right there..He should have known better as a Dr ( if you believe this at all)


48 posted on 02/22/2006 6:00:26 PM PST by binkdeville
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: fhlh

opps... double post.. the mods will have MY legs broken :)


49 posted on 02/22/2006 6:00:34 PM PST by fhlh (Polls are for strippers and liberal spinsters.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: wagglebee
I don't know, I think I'll take the minority position on this one. If the doctor took a mind altering drug, and the drug company failed to inform him that a known side effect was compulsive behavior, then the drug company does hold some liability. If I sell you a car and fail to tell you that the throttle occasionally sticks, and you suffer injuries as a result, most of us would agree that I hold some liability for that. If I TOLD you that the throttle stuck the situation changes a bit, but it sounds like no warning was offered in this case.

On the other hand, suing the casino is a bit over the top. There's no way the casino could have understood that he was under the influence of psychoactive drugs, and therefore no way to establish liability.
50 posted on 02/22/2006 6:01:12 PM PST by Arthalion
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-71 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson