Atlantic City, N.J. (The Weekly Vice) -- Arelia Margarita Taveras, a 37 year old former big city attorney and TV commentator, lashes out at Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos. Taveras filed a $20 Million dollar lawsuit claiming the casinos are responsible for her gambling addiction, destroyed reputation and recent conviction of grand larceny and forgery.
Taveras was flying high as a highly paid attorney, earning up to $500,00 a year. She decided to begin hitting the casinos as a means to relax. She became obsessed with the bright lights and began spending excessive money and time partying hard and often.
She was such a regular, the casinos accommodated her as a special guest, which included casino perks like free limo transportation and suite benefits. She loved it so much, she spent all of her money. When that was gone she began dipping into her client's escrow accounts to fund the high life she loved.
Taveras doesn't think gambling is much fun these days. She is now charged with grand larceny and forgery. She also owes the IRS $58,000, has been disbarred, lost her license, lost her apartment and lost her parents home. Hitting rock bottom she
Now Taveras works at a call center in Minnesota. Washed up and washed out from her high flying ways, she's ready to be paid for it.
Taveras claims the casinos 'knew" that she had a problem. She believes that the casinos should have stopped her from gambling. Instead of bringing her "orange juice and snickers bars", they should have kicked her out.
Taveras claims that "nobody in their right mind would gamble for four or five straight days without sleeping." So she has decided that casinos should pay millions to her in damages with the $20 million dollar Racketeering suit.
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
Yes, the woman truly is crazy. No company or person can force another person to start committing felony crimes. It's a real stretch of the imagination to believe casino workers are going to be authorized to start picking up customers 'kicking and screaming' and then tossing them out on their ear simply for frequently gambling.
But before you think this whole idea is out of the question, a lawsuit that centers around addiction has already been successful many times. Lawsuits against the tobacco companies also center around the addictiveness of the product they make. Casinos make a product of addiction as well.
Taveras would like to blaze a new legal trail that now officially says it's okay to blame someone else for even your own crimes. It may be far fetched now, but it may not be forever.
The Weekly Vice