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Margaritaville Casino in Biloxi Named in Lawsuit Filed by Landry's, Owner of the
Isle Casino Biloxi, Claiming Executive Employees Stole Trade Secrets

By Mary Perez, The Sun HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

March 23, 2013--BILOXI -- Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant is named in a lawsuit claiming its executives stole confidential information when they left the Isle Casino Biloxi and went to work at Margaritaville.

The casino also was hit Friday with a $10,000 fine for not having enough money on hand to pay its patrons and its bills.

Filed Feb. 11 in Harrison County Circuit Court, the lawsuit alleges Doug Shipley, former general manager of the Isle Casino Biloxi, breached his employment agreement with the Isle by stealing and using confidential information.

Also named in the complaint is Stacey McKay, former director of marketing at the Isle, who the suit alleges also stole information from the Isle when she followed Shipley to Margaritaville

Judge Roger Clark has appointed a forensic computer expert to determine if Isle data is on the Margaritaville computer system.

"I think Margaritaville and Margaritaville investors are going to have to answer to us in millions of dollars in damages," said Steven Scheinthal, general counsel for Landry's Golden Nugget, the company that purchased the Isle Casino Biloxi in November 2012.

"The accusations are groundless," said Michael Cavanaugh, attorney for Margaritaville Casino. He said the lawsuit was brought because the new owners were disappointed that Shipley did not want to stay at the Isle.

<>Shipley was Isle general manager from 2008 to November 2012.

The lawsuit said he had access to confidential information, "such as play history, play frequency, betting habits and other information valuable to a casino operator."

He had signed an employee agreement that contained a non-compete clause, a non-solicitation of employees clause and a clause prohibiting the use of confidential information, according to the lawsuit.

Shipley resigned from the Isle at the end of November; McKay left Jan. 2.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission met Friday in Biloxi and fined Margaritaville Casino $10,000 for not having the required bankroll, as required by state regulations. The casino faces additional fines of $5,000 a month until the violation is addressed.

"This was an isolated incident that happened back in the fall before the management change," Shipley said.


(c)2013 The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.)

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