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Mahogany Room Server at Crown Melbourne Pursues Lung Cancer Lawsuit
Dien Nguyen, a former waiter who worked for six years in Crown Casino Melbourne’s exclusive Mahogany Room, is suing Crown Resorts for negligence. He was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, which he attributes to prolonged exposure to tobacco smoke from cigar and cigarette-smoking high rollers in the Mahogany Room, as reported by Melbourne’s Herald-Sun.
Controversial Smoking Exemption in High Roller Rooms
While the state of Victoria banned smoking in indoor public spaces in July 2007, Crown’s high roller rooms secured an exemption, making them the only indoor public places where smoking was allowed in the state. According to The Herald-Sun, all areas at Crown have been smoke-free for approximately two years now. The lawsuit states, “During the Crown work, patrons of the Mahogany Room were permitted to smoke cigarettes and cigars pursuant to an exemption from relevant Victorian anti-smoking laws.”
Negligence Allegations and Lack of Ventilation
Nguyen argues that Crown was negligent for permitting smoking in the workplace without conducting tests on smoke levels, investigating health risks, or providing adequate ventilation. The lawsuit also claims that Crown failed to warn its employees about the potential risks. Court documents mention prior complaints and notifications regarding employees suffering from lung cancer or serious lung diseases allegedly caused by smoke exposure in the Mahogany Room. Nguyen insists that Crown should have been aware of the risk he faced.
Seeking Jury Trial and Damages
Nguyen is pursuing a trial by jury and is seeking damages, interests, and costs from Crown. He anticipates incurring or has already incurred substantial medical and nursing expenses and will likely require care from his wife in the future. Crown Resorts, as a matter of policy, declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.
Membership in the Mahogany Room consists of Black, Platinum, and Gold. Players must spend A$30,000 (US$20,000) within 6 months to attain Platinum membership, while Black membership can play by invitation. Despite its luxurious reputation, an anonymous Mahogany Room insider revealed in 2016 that the room had a pervasive smell due to the high prevalence of smokers. The source criticized the government’s legislation, which allowed smoking in the room due to the substantial tax revenue generated by Crown.