Why Did David Allan Coe Sue a Casino?

David Allan Coe is an American alt-folk country artist that has had a long career marked by such hit songs as “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)” and “Take This Job and Shove It.” He released his first album, Penitentiary Blues, in 1970 and has steadily released albums since then.

In 2008, he was visiting the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona, Iowa. Coe was gambling alongside his girlfriend, soon-to-be wife, Kim, when he had the rare luck of hitting the jackpot on one of the casino’s slot machines. This is when an altercation occurred, which was before the rise of online casinos that some argue have the best online slots.

Coe alleges that it was taking too long for casino employees to pay off the jackpot, so he went and played another machine while Kim waited. When staff arrived, they insisted that Coe had to be present in order to claim the winnings, as he had been the one to push the button.

In the chaos surrounding the paying off of the jackpot, he was approached by security guards as well. Coe claims that these guards were rude and unprofessional with him. These guards, Coe argues, gave him orders that he couldn’t understand or hear, as he suffers from severe hearing loss. The guards and casino claim otherwise, stating that Coe was not only rude but extremely confrontational with the guards, who were just trying to do their jobs.

Sheriff deputies arrived on scene and state that Coe continued to act in an aggressive manner. Somewhere in the melee, Coe says that one of the sheriff deputies tripped him, causing him to fall onto the ground where he was seriously injured.

This encounter resulted in Coe being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and interference with official acts. These charges were eventually dropped.

Coe, however, was not content to leaves things there. In 2010, he filed a lawsuit against Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino for false arrest, assault, malicious persecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Coe claimed that the arrest and altercation with the guards and sheriff deputies injured him so badly that he had to walk with a cane and had to sit down in a chair while performing, all of which were things that he did not have to do before the incident.

The course of the lawsuit did not go smoothly. In 2010, Coe was scolded by a judge for not fulfilling various requests for information and documents from the defendants in the case. Coe responded that he wasn’t good with technology and was busy with touring, which was why he hadn’t been able to address those requests.

In December of 2011, a judge threw out the lawsuit completely, ruling that because the sheriff deputies weren’t technically employees of the casino, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, who do not have the best online slots, should not be held liable for their actions and also that there was nothing the casino could’ve done to prevent Coe from being arrested by the sheriff deputies.