A former waiter who worked in one of Crown Resorts’ casino rooms for high rollers for nearly a decade has died from lung cancer just weeks before his negligence case against the gaming giant was set to be heard by the courts.
Dien Nguyen launched legal action against Crown in August after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and alleged his exposure to smoke throughout his nine-year tenure working at Crown Melbourne’s “heavily contaminated” gaming floors had caused or contributed to this diagnosis.
The 39-year-old also accused Crown of knowing he was at “risk of developing serious lung disease” and alleged the company had been negligent in its duties as his employer.
Nguyen had filed two separate cases against Crown: one in the Victorian Supreme Court seeking damages from Crown, which was set to be heard in March, and a civil trial in the County Court seeking WorkCover entitlements, scheduled for February. Both cases have been vacated.
His lawyer, Arnold, Thomas and Becker managing principal Lee Flanagan confirmed the two claims would be pursued by Nguyen’s family, as first reported by The Australian.
“We knew Mr Nguyen’s work at Crown casino would eventually cost him his life, but the timing of his death was unexpected. Crown casino and the state government were aware of the risks of tobacco smoke causing cancer, but nonetheless, willingly exposed workers to this risk,” Flanagan said.
A Crown spokesperson said they were unable to comment on the case while the matter was before court.
“We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of Dien Nguyen following the sad news of his passing, and we are offering support and counselling for team members and their immediate families,” the spokesperson said.
Crown Melbourne stopped allowing smoking in its casinos from December 2021.
Smoking has been banned in all enclosed pubs, clubs and gaming rooms in Victoria since 2007, but the state government granted Crown Melbourne an exemption after arguing the ban would damage its ability to attract international high rollers.
A succession of governments maintained the exemption, allowing patrons to smoke in high-roller areas on the ground floor and level one of the casino and on levels 29 and 39 of Crown Towers.
Nguyen had also accused Crown of knowing members of its waitstaff had been diagnosed with lung disease before 2017.
“Prior to 2017, Crown had received complaints and notifications in relation to employees suffering from lung cancer or serious lung diseases which were alleged to have been caused by exposure to cigarette and cigar smoke in the course of their employment in the Mahogany Room,” Nguyen’s claim lodged in the Supreme Court reads.
Crown’s defence denied it had received complaints about employees suffering lung cancer due to tobacco smoke exposure. It also denied Crown knew there was a risk of developing lung cancer after exposure to smoke.
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Source: Thanks smh.com