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Jury Awards Rodney Dangerfield $725,000

Jury Awards Rodney Dangerfield $725,000

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LAS VEGAS (AP) - Rodney Dangerfield was awarded $725,000

on Thursday by jury that believed the comedian's eye problems

were caused by a steam bath accident at Caesars Palace.

Dangerfield sued the casino-hotel for $5 million after Caesars

balked at paying him for shows he missed after he claimed

he was burned in a steam bath in March 1988.

"We showed Rodney some respect," an unidentified juror

said after Dangerfield thanked jurors as they left U.S. District Court.

The jury deliberated less than a day before awarding Dangerfield

$225,000 for five missed performances and $500,000 for pain and suffering.

The jury ruled that Dangerfield's contract obligated Caesars

to pay for the missed shows because the injury should have

excused him from performing. It rejected a $100,000 countersuit

filed by Caesars against its former headliner.

"The truth won out," said Dangerfield. He decried as "nonsense

and untrue" Caesars' accusations that he used drugs.

"I'm surprised they went to that level to degrade me falsely

like they did," Dangerfield said. "All they did in this

entire trial was to try to degrade my character.

"I wasn't concerned with the amount of money," he said.

"Money is money. I was concerned about the truth. I was

right. I wouldn't have gone through this unless I was right."

Dangerfield said Henry Gluck, chairman of the resort's parent

Caesars World Inc., had refused an offer to settle for $225,000.

"We're very disappointed," said Bruce Aguilera, attorney

for the casino. "We'll have to have our lawyers look at the case.

Dangerfield sought $5 million in damages plus $45,000 for

each show he missed the week of the accident, claiming Caesars

was negligent in installing and maintaining a steam bath.

The hotel, in its countersuit, accused Dangerfield of breaching

his contract and contended during the 2 1/2-week-long trial

that the comedian did not suffer permanent damage.

The 68-year-old comic testified he was hit in the eyes by

a burst of steam as he opened the door to the steam room on March 16, 1988.

He skipped four performances, then returned for two shows

but walked off the stage without performing on closing night

because he was angry that Caesars wanted to withhold payment

for the missed shows.

Caesars claimed Dangerfield went out on the town two nights

that he claimed he was too hurt to perform. A doctor who

examined him after the incident said that Dangerfield could

have performed. Other eye specialists testified for the

casino-hotel that symptoms Dangerfield claimed to suffer

only since the accident actually first appeared in the 1970s.


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