News at this hour |

News at this hour

Bill Mueller never realized when he fouled a ball into left field in a Las Vegas 51s game at Cashman Field that it could end up as a precedent-setting Nevada Supreme Court case.

During a May 2002 game, Mueller hit a ball into left field that curved foul into the Beer Garden, where Kathleen Turner, 54, was eating a sandwich. The ball hit her between the eyes, breaking her nose and cutting her face. The injuries required reconstructive facial surgery.

Turner and her husband, Michael, who were season-ticket holders, are suing Mandalay Sports Entertainment LLC, the operator of Cashman Field, for damages.

Attorneys for Mandalay Sports want the Supreme Court to adopt rulings similar to those made in courts in other states limiting the liability of baseball stadium operators in foul ball cases.

Lawyers say the Nevada Supreme Court, which will hear the case Wednesday has never ruled on the protection of fans at baseball games.

Attorney Felicia Galati, representing the stadium operators, said in a pre-hearing brief that “baseball parks do not owe a duty to provide screening … in viewing areas except in the most dangerous areas of the park, which is behind home plate.”

She urged the Supreme Court to uphold District Judge Jessie E. Walsh, who issued a pretrial ruling in favor of Mandalay Sports.

Attorney Daniel Polsenberg, representing the Turners, has asked the Supreme Court not to adopt other courts’ rulings that limit stadium operators’ liability for foul ball injuries suffered by fans.

Polsenberg said the rulings in other states apply only to the stands, not to other areas such as the Beer Garden, which he described as the only unprotected concession area at Cashman field.

EUREKA, Calif. ” Humboldt County officials are considering a temporary ban on construction on land currently covered with redwood groves.

The interim building moratorium would be in place for 45 days, and could be extended for more than 22 months.

The ban is aimed at a proposal by Pacific Lumber Co. to sell parcels of the land to raise money while it emerges from bankruptcy.

The timber company wants to develop a high-end residential area with about 130 homes on 160-acre plots. They’d be linked together by golf courses and a club house.

County officials weighing the temporary building ban want time to consider whether the land’s switch from timber production to residential use is compatible with the general land use plan they’re working on.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. ” A gunman shot one person to death and wounded two others at a tire shop Tuesday, then apparently killed himself, police said.

The gunman was one of the dead, police Sgt. David Livingstone confirmed.

“It appears to be self-inflicted,” Livingstone said of the shooter’s death.

Officers responded to reports of shots fired at about 7:30 a.m. at a Tire Pros shop.

The victims were employees or customers, he said.

The wounded were expected to survive, he said.

A 20-year-old man was in critical condition and a 37-year-old man was in fair condition at Simi Valley Hospital, hospital spokesman Jeremy Brewer said.

One of the men was shot in the arm and the other was hit in the abdomen, Livingstone said, but he did not know which man had which injury.

Shop employee Damian Cervantes, 29, told the Ventura County Star newspaper that he arrived at work to see police officers with guns drawn.

Simi Valley, 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, is a city of 100,000 that is often classed as one of the safest cities for its size in America, based on reports of violent and serious crimes. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is located in Simi Valley.

LAS VEGAS ” The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up an appeal Tuesday from a high stakes California gambler who claimed he was defrauded by the Paris Las Vegas hotel-casino in 1999.

Steven Mattes claimed hotel executives lured him to the grand opening of the Las Vegas Strip resort with a promise of a $2 million line of credit, but reneged on the offer after he lost millions of dollars gambling.

Mattes, a multimillionaire gambler from Tarzana, Calif., asked the high court to overturn a December 2004 ruling by U.S. District Judge James Mahan in Las Vegas, who set aside an $8 million federal jury award for Mattes in 2002.

Mahan said the original verdict was flawed and not supported by the trial evidence.

Mattes’ lawyer, Steven Mirch of Reno, said he would ask the high court to reconsider hearing the case, originally filed against casino owner Bally’s Las Vegas and Park Place Entertainment, now Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

“It’s corruption,” Mirch said, “that’s why we’ll keep going.”

Mattes claimed casino bosses created false receipt markers suggesting he owed more than he did, and that executives changed their minds about offering him the credit line so the hotel could post big first-day wins.

Harrah’s Entertainment officials could not immediately be reached for comment.