A guest at the Harrah's Philadelphia casino says that state troopers acted as agents for the
casino when they threatened his arrest over a $100 debt, according to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Alan Greenberg, of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., says that he did not owe the money, but strong-arm tactics by the police forced him to give up the cash. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000 from the casino and the two troopers on nine counts, including false arrest, wrongful search and seizure and violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The suit says that on Dec. 6, 2012, Greenberg was playing poker at Harrah's when an employee approached him and said that the plaintiff had been overpaid $100 at the poker table the previous night.
Greenberg denied that he owed any money and demanded to see video evidence, the complaint says. The employee said that the only way for Greenberg to see the video is with a subpoena, then advised the plaintiff that he was going to call the state police.
According to the complaint, 30 minutes later two state troopers arrived and asked if Greenberg would pay back the $100.
When Greenberg denied again that he had been overpaid, one trooper said he had 10 seconds to pay the money or he would be arrested, according to the suit. Greenberg attempted to explain the situation, but the trooper told him to stand up and turn around.
The plaintiff agreed to pay the money, allegedly under duress, and says in the suit that he felt humiliated and violated. Greenberg claims that the trooper's actions were similar to debt collectors, rather than law enforcement.
Greenberg says that the troopers used the weight of their authority to act as agents for the casino. They unlawfully threatened his arrest where no wrongdoing had occurred, the plaintiff claims, and lacked probable cause to demand payment of the money.
The plaintiff is represented by Matthew Weisberg of Weisberg Law.
The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-04796-RBS.