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Friday, February 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Reversal Heeded in Gambling Seizure Case

(CN) - Reversed by the Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit finally conceded Friday that Las Vegas is the wrong venue for professional gamblers to sue the Georgia police officer who seized their money.

Gina Fiore and Keith Gipson claim that police officer Anthony Walden illegally seized $97,000 of gambling profits from them in 2006 at the Atlanta airport.

Walden had received a tip to look out for the couple from a law-enforcement official in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the pair had been gambling.

Arguing that Walden had falsified a probable-cause affidavit, Fiore and Gipson tried for nearly a year to get their money back. The couple eventually prevailed after a prosecutor determined that Walden's affidavit had left out exculpatory evidence.

The couple filed a federal complaint in Las Vegas, where they lived, but U.S. District Court Judge Edward Reed dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction, finding that Walden had no connection to Nevada.

A divided panel of the 9th Circuit reversed in September 2011, and later declined to review the case over strong dissent from eight judges.

The Supreme Court took up the issue last year and unanimously reversed on Feb. 25, finding that "the plaintiff cannot be the only link between the defendant and the forum."

In a brier order published Friday, the appeals court reversed its previous ruling in the case and remanded "with instructions to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction."

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