Moorpark : Pair Sues Vegas Hotel, Pickets in Beating

A Moorpark couple beaten outside Las Vegas' Frontier Hotel last April filed a civil suit Wednesday, seeking damages from the hotel, the seven union pickets implicated in the incident and the Culinary Union Local 226.

Sean and Gail White announced their lawsuit with their Simi Valley-based lawyer, Frank White, in the offices of their Las Vegas attorney, Will Kemp.

"The Whites very much want this thing to end," Frank White said in a telephone interview. "Their desire and hope is that no one else will go through what they have."

The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and alleges that hotel officials knew the culinary workers on strike since September, 1991, had repeatedly clashed with hotel employees and guests--yet assured the Whites that they would be safe there.

Hotel officials referred all inquiries to the hotel's attorney, who did not return calls Wednesday.

The suit also alleges that the union participated in, authorized and ratified the pickets' actions and knew that some of those walking the line had a propensity for violence and had prior criminal records.

But union representatives said they played no role in the violence that occurred outside the hotel.

"We've always said that we do not condone any violent acts," said D. Taylor, union staff director.

"Both customers and strikers have had altercations out there, one provoked by the other," Taylor said. "It's happened both ways and in fact we're not surprised by the lawsuit at all. We anticipated it and we'll have a full and vigorous defense of it."

Six of the seven pickets indicted in the beating have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in exchange for having felony charges against them dropped.

Four have been sentenced to 40 hours of community service. The strike captain and the primary assailant are scheduled for sentencing later this month and the seventh picket has not been apprehended, White said.

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