Comedian Rodney Dangerfield got some respect and $725,000 in damages Thursday from a federal court jury for eye injuries he suffered in a steam bath accident at Caesars Palace.
The panel deliberated less than one day before ordering the resort to pay the damages to the 68-year-old comedian, who has built a career around the complaint, "I don't get no respect."Dangerfield had sought $5 million for injuries he testified occurred when he was hit in the eyes by a burst of steam as he entered a steam room at the resort.
The panel heard 21/2 weeks of testimony, then deliberated several hours Wednesday and Thursday, before announcing its decision to award Dangerfield $225,000 for performances he missed because of the eye injuries and another $500,000 for pain and suffering.
Dangerfield's attorney, Barry Landberg, maintained the comic should be paid millions of dollars for pain he continues to suffer from a March 1988 steam bath accident at the Strip resort that burned Dangerfield's eyes and forced him to cancel several performances at the hotel.
Attorneys for Caesars Palace said the entertainer showed no signs of permanent injury and said there was no rational basis for awarding damages for personal injury.
The resort countersued, saying Dangerfield's refusal to perform violated his contract. The resort said it lost more than $100,000 in revenues because Dangerfield cancelled the shows, but the 10-member jury rejected the argument and found entirely for the comedian.
The panel ruled Caesars Palace was obligated under its contract to pay Dangerfield for the missed shows because the injury should have excused him from performing.
Dangerfield, who arrived at the federal courthouse after the verdict was read, said he was pleased with the decision and was not concerned about the amount of the award.
"I was concerned about the truth," he said. "I was right, I wouldn't have gone through this unless I was right."