Monday, Dec. 27, 2010 | 11:41 a.m.
CARSON CITY – A civil suit against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger by a casino employee who accuses him of sexually assaulting her is now before the Nevada Supreme Court.
It’s a pre-trial battle between Roethlisberger and Andrea McNulty on where the case should be tried.
A district judge has ruled the trial should be held in Reno in Washoe County, but Roethlisberger and his lawyers have appealed to switch the case to Douglas County where the alleged assault took place.
McNulty filed her civil suit in July 2009 accusing Roethlisberger of assault, sexual assault and battery, false imprisonment, false pretenses, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The quarterback filed a response denying wrongdoing and lists counterclaims against McNulty of civil extortion, abuse of process and defamation. No criminal charges have been filed in the case.
Roethlisberger and his lawyers want the suit transferred to Minden, the county seat of Douglas County, where the alleged attack took place at the Lake Tahoe casino where McNulty was employed.
The civil suit names eight current and former employees of Harrah’s Lake Tahoe accusing them of failing to take action in the July 2008 alleged assault and trying to cover it up.
In the appeal to the Supreme Court, Roethlisberger and his lawyers say all of the potential witnesses live or work in Douglas County and the trial court in that county is “substantially less crowded” than the judicial calendar in Reno, suggesting “judicial efficiency.”
The only defendant who lived in Reno in Washoe County at the time of the allegation was Dave Monroe, vice president of food and hotel operations at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.
McNulty and her attorneys say Monroe was a “pivotal person” in the agreement to conceal and cover up the alleged assault. And they alleged in their appeal that Monroe tried to get McNulty to drop the suit against Harrah’s.
McNulty and her lawyers say Roethlisberger has no standing to bring the change of venue request.
Roethlisberger's attorneys say the courthouses between Minden and Reno are about 45 miles apart and it would be easier for Roethlisberger to fly to Reno to deal with the case.
The suit alleges Roethlisberger asked the woman to come to his room to fix his television set and then sexually assaulted her. The case has been put on hold by Washoe District Judge Brent Adams until the Supreme Court makes a decision.