A Philadelphia mother wants $30 million from an Atlantic City casino that she claims put into action a series of events that left a little boy dead along the Atlantic City Expressway.
Shaina Davis-Holder claims that The Tropicana Casino ignored its legal and moral obligation on June 20, 2014.
“They need to own up they made a deadly mistake that cost my son his life,” a crying Davis-Holder told NBC10. “Because of Tropicana, instead of planning my son’s 5th birthday, I was planning his funeral.”
The Philadelphia woman wasn’t with her son, Syncere, at the time, having just started a new job. Syncere was with relatives who were visiting the casino – having prepaid for four nights in the hotel – and some were admittedly drinking free drinks supplied by the casino when Trop workers told them to leave.
The boy and the five other family members got into a pickup truck, three in the front and three in the truck bed.
One hour later, Davis-Holder’s mother-in-law Roselyn Kornegay allegedly lost control of the pickup along the Atlantic City Expressway leaving Syncere and 35-year-old James Dennis dead. Kornegay, two teens and a 9-year-old child were injured.
Davis-Holder questions why the casino sent the family out of the complex instead of up to their hotel room.
“It wasn’t right, you ban them from the casino floor but you don’t kick them out of the hotel in the middle of the night with a 4-year-old,” said Davis-Holder. “They saw my son and they didn’t care, they saw that the driver was intoxicated.”
Attorney Raheem Watson filed suit on behalf of Davis-Holder and Syncere’s aunt and uncle -- Brian Gregory and Shaniqua Abrams -- seeking $30 million in damages. Watson said the casino accused the teenage relatives of underage gambling.
“Even if it was true, it doesn’t justify anyone – in this case a hotel and casino – from ejecting two intoxicated persons who had been gambling and drinking on the casino floor,” said Watson.
“They immediately kicked us out,” said Gregory, who admitted to underage drinking.
Watson said he believes race played a role in the casino removing his clients from the entire complex instead of just from the casino floor -- claiming that by law the casino couldn’t deny them resting in their hotel room.
The Trop didn’t respond to NBC10’s request for comment.
Kornegay faces DWI and death by auto charges. Witnesses said there were beer cans on the roadway after the crash.