Horse owner sues Meadows

February 1, 2013

A McMurray man claims he’s being discriminated against by The Meadows Racetrack & Casino due to his illness that often makes him “challenging to deal with.”

Dino LoCastro of 411 Center Church Road filed the federal lawsuit Thursday against The Meadows and its owner, Cannery Casino Resorts of Las Vegas, Nev.

According to the lawsuit, LoCastro suffers from depression and bipolar disorder, which can make him a “challenging person to deal with due to his mood swings.”

He was diagnosed in 1985, following a traumatic incident, and has since been hospitalized three times for his disability, currently receives treatment from a psychologist every six weeks and remains on medication to manage the disability, the complaint said.

LoCastro claims in the lawsuit he has long owned and raced horses at tracks in Pennsylvania. And, for many years, he raced his horses at the North Strabane Township harness racing track and had patronized the casino. The racetrack and casino are independent entities, the lawsuit contends.

In March 2011, according to the suit, LoCastro went to the casino, where he gambled and consumed alcohol that may have “adversely interacted with” his medication.

At one point, while he was playing poker, security was called to LoCastro’s table. Security then escorted LoCastro out of the casino and charged him with terroristic threats.

He later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct. And, LoCastro was permanently banned from the entire facility.

“A search of other disciplinary actions taken by defendant reveals that other people have committed far more serious violations of the law and received small fines, probation and/or temporary suspension,” the complaint reads. “Plaintiff has been singled out and been punished far more harshly than the offense warranted in light of how other similar persons were treated before and after plaintiff’s minor infraction.”

LoCastro claims he has only one prior incident on his record, in which he was charged with disturbing the peace in 1999 and fined.

He admits, however, that he has had strained relationships with people at the track because of his disability but has never been a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

The plaintiff “is being treated differently by the defendant because his disability makes him a difficult person when it comes to interpersonal relationships, and this infraction is being used as a pretext to permanently get rid of him,” the lawsuit reads.

LoCastro contends his civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Acts and his constitutional rights have been violated, and that he has suffered loss of income due to his inability to race at the facility. He is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

Meadows spokesman Tom Meinert declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Linda Metz has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2000, covering Washington County courts and politics, as well as the city of Washington. She previously was employed by the Tribune Review. She is a graduate of Point Park College, now a university, in Pittsburgh.

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